EB-5 Debacle in Vermont Offers Schadenfreude for All

By David North on September 30, 2015

There's a failed EB-5 venture in Vermont that offers schadenfreude for all comers.

According to VT Digger, an online alternative publication, Seldon Technologies, a small scientific firm in Windsor, Vt., went out of business on Monday, laying off 32 workers in the process.

If you are a critic of EB-5, as I am, this is sad news for the little town, but good news on the national stage since the heart of the immigrant investor program will expire tonight unless Congress acts remarkably swiftly.

If you are a staunch Republican, the demise of an EB-5 project in a Democrat's home state is good news because it represents a problem for Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), a major proponent of the program and the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which overseas the program.

If you are a critic of what President Bush 41 called voodoo economics it is uplifting because one of Seldon's main financial backers is George Gilder, who more or less invented the (failed, in my view) notion that if you cut tax rates on the rich it will produce more revenue for the government.

According to its website, Seldon is a nanotechnology firm that was working with water filtration systems and had a major client in Mexico. (Sen. Leahy participated in the June press conference announcing the Mexican deal.) The company had $3 million in EB-5 funding plus some early-on NASA and Defense contracts.

The laid-off workers are not getting severance packages, according to VT Digger, but if past practices are any guide the six families of EB-5 investors will get their green cards.