A new report by Judicial Watch says that official records from the FBI investigation into Sen. Bernie Sanders’ wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, show that she tried to evict residents of a group home for the disabled that was on property purchased in 2010 by the college for which she served as president.
On Thursday, Judicial Watch, a conservative foundation established to promote “transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law,” published a report based on documents they obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request regarding the FBI’s investigation into Sanders for “falsifying documents to obtain a $10 million loan to expand a now-defunct liberal arts college in a town where her husband once served as mayor while she was the school’s president.” In the report Judicial Watch provides quotes from letters and emails sent by Jane Sanders to key players involved in the negotiations between the group home and Burlington College.
Judicial Watch provides some background on the FBI investigation, which began under the Obama administration:
Jane was president of the troubled college from 2004 to 2011 and in 2010, she had an ambitious plan to expand the campus by 33 acres, despite low enrollment and financial difficulties. The then-president of Burlington College drastically overstated donation amounts in loan applications, according to the Vermont news website that broke the story, to obtain a $10 million loan. Jane indicated there was $2.6 million in pledged donations but the school only got $676,000 in four years.
The loan went through, some allege after her husband’s senatorial office pressured the bank to approve it, and Jane masterminded a deal to purchase an undeveloped, 32-acre parcel of land and a 77,000-square-foot facility from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.
The property purchased by the college under Sanders’ direction included “a facility that served as a group home for disabled people.” Though Judicial Watch says Sanders was supposed to work out the details of the transfer of the residents before the school took over the property, instead, “Jane tried to kick the disabled people out of their group home.”
The allegation is based on letters and email exchanges between Sanders and people involved in the negotiations with the group home, including two former mayors of the town and an attorney representing the home. Here’s one key passage from Judicial Watch’s report:
In a lengthy letter to the attorney (Todd Centybear) representing the group home for the disabled Jane indicates that she’s having trouble evicting the 16 residents from their building on the newly purchased property after the college had acquired the land. She writes: “It is simply not fair to expect the College to continue to carry the burden of the expenses associated with housing both your population and ours until February 2012.” The home for the disabled was being leased from the diocese and Jane was supposed to help relocate the residents, not evict them. The exchange shows, not only Jane’s heartlessness, but also her incompetence as the college president for not ensuring the negotiated transfer of those disabled people before the school took over the property.
The records Judicial Watch obtained can be downloaded here.
As The Daily Wire reported, despite Sen. Sanders publicly dismissing the FBI investigation as “pretty pathetic” and politically motivated, the Sanders have reportedly lawyered up. WCAX reported on Tuesday that Jane Sanders’ spokesman “says she has hired an attorney to look out for her interests amid a federal investigation into a real estate deal involving Burlington College.”