Heartless: Bernie Sanders’ wife sought to evict disabled residents from group home

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Judicial Watch has characterized Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ wife, Jane Sanders, as “a heartless spouse—and longtime political advisor—of the Democratic Socialist candidate for president of the United States.”

The opinion was based on records obtained by Judicial Watch regarding Jane’s questionable actions as president of Burlington College in northwestern Vermont. During the Obama administration, the FBI began investigating Jane for falsifying documents to obtain a $10 million loan to expand Burlington College, which is now defunct.

Jane served as president of the college from 2004 to 2011. In 2010, despite low enrollment and financial challenges, she embarked on a plan to expand the campus. In loan applications, Jane reported that there was $2.6 million in pledged donations, but the school only received $676,000 in donations over four years.

The loan was granted, although some allege that Bernie Sanders’ senatorial office pressured the bank to approve it. Jane then spearheaded the purchase of an undeveloped, 32-acre parcel of land and a 77,000-square-foot facility from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.

Included in the purchase was a facility that functioned as a group home for disabled people. The terms of the purchase required Jane to negotiate the transfer of the disabled residents prior to the school taking ownership of the property.

Records obtained by Judicial Watch—which include emails between Jane, then-president of Burlington College, and two former mayors of the city of Burlington—show that Jane attempted to remove the disabled people from their group home instead.

Judicial Watch reported that “In a lengthy letter to the attorney 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.”

In a separate email to then Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss, Jane forwarded a press release issued by Burlington College which announces her resignation.

“I wanted you to hear it from me,” she wrote to the mayor. “It’s a good decision.” The press release stated that “In honor of her significant accomplishments, the College has given Sanders the title of President Emerita…”

“The Board credits Sanders with negotiating the acquisition of its beautiful new 32-acre lakefront campus, a transformative achievement for the College.”

Judicial Watch noted that “In reality, the acquisition of that property bankrupted the College, and Sanders is now being investigated for bank fraud by the FBI for misrepresentations she made on loan documents to purchase the land for the campus.”

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