On Monday, Burlington College in Vermont announced it would close May 27 because of “the crushing weight of the debt” Bernie Sanders’ wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, who served as the president of Burlington College, incurred when she took out $10 million in loans on behalf of the college which it couldn’t repay. Don’t worry about Jane Sanders, though, she received a $200,000 severance package merely one year after she paved the path for the college’s ruin.
Ms. Sanders took out the loans in 2010 to buy 32 acres of land from the Roman Catholic diocese, which sold the land for funds to pay off a $17 million sexual-abuse settlement. But as Heat Street has reported, the fundraising pledges and commitments Ms. Sanders offered in the loan agreements never came to pass. As Heat Street stated, “By 2014, because of its shaky finances and running deficits, Burlington College found itself placed on probation for two years by the regional accreditation agency”
“By 2014, because of its shaky finances and running deficits, Burlington College found itself placed on probation for two years by the regional accreditation agency.”
The college’s Monday news release said the debts from the loans were “insurmountable at this time … We anticipate notice from [the regional accreditation agency] that we have not met the Commission’s financial standard and, therefore, our accreditation will be lifted as of January 2017, and the College will not be able to award academic credit after this time.”
Catholic parishioners in Vermont want an investigation into Ms. Sanders actions, suspecting she committed federal bank fraud by deliberately misrepresenting the amount of fundraising pledges she claimed would help the college pay back the loans. She insisted over and over that the college had obtained over $2 million in fundraising commitments and pledges. Brady Toensing, the vice chair of the Vermont Republican Party, acted as attorney for Catholic parishioners and contacted the U.S. attorney in Vermont and the inspector general of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, urging them to launch an investigation. If Ms. Sanders defrauded the bank, she could serve 30 years in prison and pay $1 million in fines.
In January, when the parishioners launched action, the Sanders campaign snapped, “This recycled, discredited garbage is the handiwork of Brady Toensing, the Vice Chairman of the Vermont Republican Party. These kinds of attacks on family members of candidates are one of the reasons why the American people are so disgusted with politics in America today.”
Toensing responded simply, “My complaint is driven from facts — driven from facts derived from a public record.”
By fiscal year 2011, only $279,000 of the pledges had been garnered, despite the fact that the college claimed it had obtained $1.2 million in confirmed pledges.