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Briggs vs. Leopold vs. Montroll vs. Kiss
Friday, February 13, 2009
Spy vs. Spy

Yes, yes. The big news of the day. Leopold tells Briggs Andy's got a conflict of interest between his roles as a board of finance member overseeing Burlington Telecom, and as a lawyer for Vallynet. Andy becomes irate, starts calling Leopold a liar, says he talked to Leopold about this nine months ago and they agreed it was no big deal. Leopold says he remembers the conversation but they talked about something else. Says he learned about Andy and Valley net just last week. Briggs doesn't bother to ask the next obvious question- how did Leopold learn last week.

Here are my findings in this case:

1) It is improper for the Leopold as the chief elections official of the City of Burlington to engage in a blatant political attack like this. This is not the first time Leopold has displayed this kind of improper behavior.
2) It is improper for the Leopold as the Chief Administrative Officer of the City of Burlington to respond to a perception of a conflict interest by dropping a dime to the press.
3) Andy Montroll obviously felt a little guilty about his job with Valleynet or he wouldn't have brought it up to Leopold.
4) There is no legal conflict of interest in this case vis-a-vis the city charter. There is some theoretical moral conflict in that Andy might possibly share some BT trade secret with Valleynet.
5) If Andy felt there was any possibility of a conflict of interest, or appearance of a conflict of interest, then he should have gone to the full board of finance and the city attorney. Not doing so was a display of poor judgment.
5) Andy displayed poor judgment in going to Leopold alone without any recording or witness. Whom did he think he was talking to? His friend?
6) Bob Kiss is Jonathon Leopold's boss.
7) As recently as February 1, Andy Montroll was willing to consider the possibility of keeping Leopold on as CAO if he won the election. It's true. You'll read it in my interview with Andy.
8) John Brigg's should not just print any old thing that he hears.
9) As a general axiom, if we are paying attention to this, then there is something else that we're not paying attention to. I'm a lot more worried about whatever that other thing is.

This story has no legs, and I don't intend or expect to spend any more time on it.

Labels: , , , , , ,

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 10:57 PM  
  • At February 14, 2009 8:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If Andy had a question about conflict of interest why wouldnt he go to the city attorney about it?

  • At February 14, 2009 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Obviously there is no conflict: Valley Net is not a competitor to Burlington Telecom. I don't think Andy was upset about the implication that there might be a conflict, he was upset that Leopold was lying. You can't expect someone to lie there and take it when someone tries to ruin your career. I was split between whether to vote for Bob or Andy before all this. No more: Kiss has to go.

  • At February 14, 2009 1:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Correct me if I am wrong but if Andy did go to the City Attorney, Gene Bergemen, then wouldn't that be just as bad. Gene is a Progressive. He hosted the Ward 2 Prog Caucus at his house. We know where his loyalties lie.

    He should have gone to Kurt and the rest of the Finance Board as a joint group rather then just talk to Leopold.

    Philip Baruth has a great post regarding this on VDB. It really cuts to the chase that this is what the Progressives do. They play incredibly dirty leading up to the election. They did it with Hinda (thanks to Martha Abbott) accusing her of not being an American citizen and even saying that she wasn't ethical in her work at JogBra. They even found her old business partner (who everyone knew she had a bad relationship with) and attacked her.

    This is pure politics. Of course Bob knew this was going on. If he didn't, then that speaks very poorly of his leadership skills. He should apologize and so should Leopold and they should move on.

    Gotta say that I am very impressed with how Dan and Kurt both came to Andy's defense on this one. Good teamwork.

    Free press has a good post on this too.

  • At February 14, 2009 5:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Kiss was going to get my second place he's not getting a vote at all. I can't believe this situation.

  • At February 14, 2009 5:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Anybody but Andy Montroll.

  • At February 14, 2009 5:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just read Baruth and it seems clear to me that Andy's his man. It puzzles me that folks who back relatively progressive Democratic candidates at the national level can come home to Burlington to support a cast of City Councilors (Andy included) that would hardly be called Democrats anywhere else. But then I've never been impressed by Baruth's handle on local politics here.

  • At February 14, 2009 6:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The way I see it is that this situation only helps Dan Smith and Kurt Wright.

    Kiss comes off as being manipulative or being unable to control his own CAO. From that Champlain College debate, you can tell that Wright, Montroll and Smith all pounced. If Kiss didn't know this was happening (which is most likely a bold face lie) then he shouldn't be Mayor because he should know what his staff is doing. He should be leading and not letting his attack dogs do the work. Seriously.

    As for Montroll, he should have known better (as Haik said) to let Leopold know this (when Leopold works for his competition). It somewhat shows naivete and weakness on the part of Montroll for even sharing that. He should have combined the full Finance Board (like Wright) to back him up or even another City Councilor.

    All in all, this helps only two people: Dan Smith and Kurt Wright.

  • At February 14, 2009 6:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm voting for Andy Montroll #1.

    I have had enough of this mess.

  • At February 14, 2009 6:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yeah, Andy will clean up the mess, just like he started Burlington Telecom, preserved "12-foot sidewalks," brought about IRV, and invented the Internet.

  • At February 14, 2009 8:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    VDB? He's a Dem. apologist. Not worth the paper it's not written on.

  • At February 14, 2009 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What's astounding is that anyone is worried about Montroll anyway. Isn't he the Charlie Brown of Burlington politics?

  • At February 14, 2009 10:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Andy, frankly, doesn't have a chance. This press (as stated above) does not help him or Bob.

    I voted yesterday for Dan Smith as #1 and Kurt Wright as #2. I voted for Bob #3 but I wasn't too thrilled about it. Didn't bother with my fourth vote because I know that's where Andy is going to be.

    Just get these bums out of office.

  • At February 14, 2009 11:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Burlington is nothing more than the [redacted] of Chittenden County. Clean it regularly and it'll be [redacted]...let is [redacted]and this is what your get.

  • At February 15, 2009 10:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I thought this story had no legs??

  • At February 15, 2009 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh it has legs. Some people just don't want it to have legs because it will embarrass their candidates.

  • At February 16, 2009 1:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I take it you mean both Montroll and Kiss? Because I agree with you.

  • At February 16, 2009 7:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dan Smith is the dark horse and is poised to win this election.

    March 3rd will be a turning point for this city.

  • At February 16, 2009 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Who are you kidding? Dan doesn't know how city government works (or doesn't work). He's only lived here a few years. He's never run for public office before. He's got the arrogance of youth. What would people be voting for?

  • At February 16, 2009 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Anybody but KISS a.k.a. Leopold.

    Vote March 3rd for change in Burlington!!

    Vote for Andy, Kurt or Dan!

  • At February 16, 2009 9:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Andy has a long track record of being very open about any possible conflict of interest. He is honest, smart and working hard to make Burlington Telecom profitable. Tim Nulty, former Director of Burlington Telecom, fought with Leopold because Leopold does not want to expand BT outside Burlington. Tim finally left because he knew he couldn't make BT profitable without being allowed by the administration to sell the excess capacity to other cities. Bob is in la la land, while Leopold runs the City in the ground.

  • At February 16, 2009 10:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "He's only lived here a few years."

    Where do you get that Dan has only lived here for a few years? His family goes back in Vermont quite a ways. He grew up here and, as far as I know, since coming back from school, has lived nowhere else but here.

    By that measure, he's at least as qualified as Bupkis, who's from Kenosha, Wisconsin.

  • At February 17, 2009 12:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    He was born in Burlington. His family stretches back a long ways in these parts. He went to school in Virginia and came back. He's been working at GBIC for years.

    Seriously, where do you get the idea that he's "only been here a few years?"

    Check your facts, chief, before you start spewing off falsehoods facts and let others make you look like a nimrod.

    About this whole Leopold/Andy/Bob thing:

    It just shows what's wrong with the government. I'm going to the UVM Debate tomorrow night so hopefully that can help make up my mind.

    Leaning towards Andy or Dan though as my first choice. Bob is number four.

  • At February 17, 2009 7:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


  • At February 17, 2009 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm hopeful for Dan. His attitude toward the office seems spot on, and his criticism of squandered opportunities and understanding of how the best-laid plans have gone awry (Moran) make me inclined for his #1.

    We'll see!

  • At February 17, 2009 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dan's own bio doesn't say he grew up in Burlington (he may have been born at Fletcher Allen, I don't know, but so have many who live elsewhere in Vermont). The bio says he attended high school at Phillips Academy and then college in Virginia till 2002. By my count that means he's only been living in town as an adult for a relatively short span of time. I don't care how many generations of Smiths have lived around here.

  • At February 17, 2009 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Correct me if I am wrong, but none of the canddidates were born or raised in Burlington.

    Bob came here in 1972 to work in human services.

    Kurt came here for Champlain College and started his own business.

    Andy came here after Vermont Law to set up shop.

    Dan was born here and returned to work for GBIC.

    So, people trying to make a big deal out of the fact that Dan hasn't been here as long as the others doesn't hold water. Whoever has the best ideas and can lead will win this race.

    And frankly, I think it's going to be either Kurt or Dan at this point.

  • At February 17, 2009 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Vote Dan Smith for Student Council !!!!

  • At February 17, 2009 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    How about Mayor, instead.

  • At February 17, 2009 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ha! Get real, Little Lord Fauntleroy.

  • At February 17, 2009 11:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Vote for Bupkis for . . .

    for . . .

    for . . .

    Oh forget it.

  • At February 18, 2009 12:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Nothing like letting ego get in the way of democracy.

    "Hey, Bob, I know you kept taxes unchanged, negotiated economic opportunity for Moran, preserved the Intervale, scored a downtown hotel deal, and stayed calm while everyone else around you acted like Chicken Little. HOWEVER, your CAO talked to a Free Press reporter known for he-said-she-said reporting. Therefore, ya gotta go!"

    Pathetic. Think Dan Smith would have had the foresight - or experience - to steer Burlington with such steady hands? Or Andy with his woe-is-me campaign strategy? Or Mr. G.W. supporter Kurt Wright?

    Kiss' flyers say it best: Burlington is open for business, but not for sale. Amen, brother!

  • At February 18, 2009 4:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dan's still a better choice. Why attack him like Kiss supporters have?


    I think Kurt has this one. Strong turnout from Wards 4, 7 & 5 will send him to the Mayor's Office.

  • At February 18, 2009 6:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    RE: Burlington Telecom not being allowed to go outside of Burlington by Leopold. Are you kidding? Half of Burlington hadn't even been installed but Bob was supposed to start getting lines out to other communities? I can see the headlines now.

    And as for Nulty, just wait and check out his next performance. He sure knows how to spend money.

  • At February 18, 2009 12:25 PM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…

    Last night the board of finance looked at Leopold's allegation about Andy and unanimously decided to table the question until after the election.

    Leopold took a cheap shot at Andy and now the story's over. The end.

  • At February 18, 2009 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Nothing's over until Kiss is out of office. There is no question Andy or Kurt would be tons better than Kiss and his puppeteer, Leopold.

  • At February 18, 2009 3:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Not over Haik. Sorry. Too many unanswered questions about this and the motives behind it. Furthermore, there are questions about Andy's conflict.

  • At February 18, 2009 4:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Over? Did you say over?

    Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

    Hell, no!

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