Bernie Sanders' 'Summer Camp' Is a Lakefront House Worth Well Over $500,000

Can a socialist honestly own three houses — including a lakefront summer house?
That’s the question unabashed capitalist billionaire Michael Bloomberg posed Wednesday night as he tried to brand Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders a hypocrite in Wednesday night’s fiery Democratic presidential primary debate.
“The best known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses,” Bloomberg said of Sanders, the independent senator who is running for president as a Democrat and calls himself a democratic socialist.
That charge prompted an irritated Sanders to start ticking through his real estate holdings onstage.
Yes, he has a home in Washington, where he works; one in Burlington, Vermont, where he lives; and “like thousands of other Vermonters, I do have a summer camp,” Sanders shot back. “Forgive me for that.”
The use of the word “camp” is a Vermont colloquialism. In other parts of the country, Sanders’ vacation home would be called a summer home.
Its purchase price — $575,000 when he and his wife bought it in 2016 — suggests it’s not exactly a rough and rustic shack in the wilderness.
The waterfront home sits in 120-mile-long Lake Champlain, between Vermont and New York, on the island of North Hero in a tiny town of the same name.
The population of 1,000 at least doubles in the summer, with visitors from around New England, Quebec and New York.
Sanders’ place sits on an acre with a decent amount of lake frontage, according to Franz Rosenberger, co-owner of Coldwell Banker Island Realty.
He believes the cottage was built in 1910 and renovated in 1984, with an additional bunkhouse added later.
Sanders’ wife, Jane, said around the time of the purchase that she and her husband paid cash for the four-bedroom house.
She had sold a share of her family’s longtime vacation home in Bridgton, Maine, to her brother for $150,000, and to buy the property, added some money from her retirement account and from an advance her husband got on a book he was writing.
It was valued at $540,000 as of 2017, just less than what the Sanderses paid, according to Lisa Keyworth, assistant town clerk.
Sanders’ assertion that “thousands” of Vermonters have summer homes is difficult to check. Vermont has 77,000 second homes, rental properties or camps, according to Douglas Farnham, policy director for the Vermont Department of Taxes. Of the roughly 18,000 camps, about 45 percent have Vermont mailing addresses, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the owners are Vermont residents, he said.
During the debate, Sanders then asked Bloomberg where his home is, and in which tax haven, to which Bloomberg responded: “New York City, thank you very much, and I pay all my taxes.”
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