On Thursday, public officials raced to distance themselves from Vermont native Bill Stenger and Miami businessman Ariel Quiros after federal and state investigators accused the men of running a Ponzi-like scheme. They bilked foreign investors in massive Northeast Kingdom development projects, regulators allege in lawsuits.
Yet for years, seemingly everyone in Vermont, from governors and senators to NEK residents, embraced the men. Stenger and Quiros promised to bring ski resorts, hotels, a conference center, a biotech plant, offices and stores to an economically depressed area. Who could resist?