For nearly a year, Jane Sanders has been under investigation after allegedly defrauding investors and trustees at her former place of employment, Burlington College.
Then, just a week ago, Sen. Bernie Sanders was brought into the investigation after potentially putting pressure on those same investors to go through with the expensive deal that relocated the entire campus — a deal headed up by the Vermont senator’s wife.
A now, it’s been discovered that FBI is upgrading their probe, taking it to the next level, with prosecutors raiding dozens of boxes of records from the college and calling a state official to provide evidence for a grand jury.
Half a dozen people said in interviews in recent days that they had been contacted by the FBI or federal prosecutors, and former college trustees told The Washington Post that attorneys for Jane Sanders had interviewed them to learn what potential witnesses might tell the government.
The investigation centers on the 2010 land purchase that relocated Burlington College to a new campus on more than 32 acres along Lake Champlain. While lining up a $6.7 million loan and additional financing, Jane Sanders told college trustees and lenders that the college had commitments for millions of dollars in donations that could be used to repay the loan, according to former trustees and state officials.
Trustees said they later discovered that many of the donors had not agreed to the amounts or the timing of the donations listed on documents Jane Sanders provided to a state bonding agency and a bank. That led to her resignation in 2011 amid complaints from some trustees that she had provided inaccurate information, former college officials said.
The land deal, the officials said, became a financial albatross for the 160-student school, contributing to its closure last year.
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