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October 28, 2010

Energy Exec Tells Dubie: Prove Allegations or Drop Them

F-greenmiles1 * updated below - Blittersdorf files lawsuit*

A leading supporter of Democrat Peter Shumlin is appealing personally to Republican Brian Dubie to either prove allegations of corruption and trading campaign contributions for receiving tax credits or drop the issue.

David Blittersdorf, a cofounder of NRG Systems and now the chief executive at AllEarth Renewables, talked to Dubie personally Monday night and asked him to drop repeated claims that Blittersdorf provided campaIgn contributions to Shumlin in exchange for a seat on a board that eventually provided his firm with $4.3 million in tax credits.

This is the second time in a week that the Dubie campaign has been confronted about allegations it has posted on a campaign-funded website that lists what it considers "ethical lapses" by Shumlin.

In short, Shumlin appointed Blittersdorf to the Clean Energy Development Fund, which was developing the rules for renewable-energy tax credits. But, when questions arose about Blittersdorf's role as a board member and applicant, Shumlin askecd him to resign. Blittersdorf has strenuously denied that he wrote policies that benefitted his company, and never traded campaign donations for tax-credit awards.

Blittersdorf gave Dubie until Tuesday afternoon to either remove the near-libelous claims or prove them. If he couldn't prove the allegations, Blittersdorf then made it clear, through his attorney (see letter below), that the claims should be pulled from the website created by the Dubie campaign. Further legal action was, and is, on the table. For a good summary, check out Terri Hallenbeck's post at VtBuzz.

The Dubie campaign responded by issuing a press release yesterday that not only reiterated its claims of a "pay-to-play" arrangement but also circulated the letter from Blittersdorf's attorney, Ritchie Berger of Dinse, McKnapp and McAndrew in Burlington.

The press release to the media also added new allegations — pulled from a St. Albans Messenger editorial — that are patently false. The Messenger claims Blittersdorf is the founder of Green Mountain Futures — a so-called 527 group that has largely been funded by the Democratic Governors Association — and received money from it. In fact, Blittersdorf has donated to it, but that's all.

Blittersdorf late Wednesday issued a second letter (see below) directly to Dubie and asked to meet with the candidate personally.

"You have falsely accused me of 'corruption' buying 'millions of dollars in state tax credits,' and other unethical conduct. I believe you have done this knowing of, but not caring about, the blatant falsity of their accusations," wrote Blittersdorf. "In short, you have demonstrated that you will say and do anything for perceived political advantage."

Wait, "say and do anything" — isn't that how Dubie's campaign describes Shumlin? As I've noted, Dubie's negative attacks on Shumlin, and his supporters, has irreparably harmed Dubie's good-boy political image.

"After I called you pesonally two days ago to ask that you stop impugning my character, you chose to continue to publish defamatory statements concerning me," continued Blittersdorf. "I then asked my attorneys to make a firm but polite request to that effect, but your response today was to repeat and expand on [the] distortions."

Blittersdorf then challenged Dubie to provide "one shred of evidence" for any of the six allegations his campaign has laid out to reporters and the public.

"It is sad to see the Vermont Republican Party of Senator George Aiken and Deane C. Davis stoop to the current level of the Dubie campaign," concluded Blittersdorf. "Your campaign manager, who has no ties to Vermont, is fond of telling us what Vermonters think. This is one Vermonter who firmly believes the voters are way smarter than the Dubie campaign takes them for."

That Blittersdorf is a major supporter of Shumlin is no secret — donating $8000 to his campaign through both personal and corporate accounts. In addition, Blittersdorf donated $20,000 to Green Mountain Futures, a 527 interest group. As of mid-October the group had raised more than $500,000 and spent nearly as much — all on issue-oriented ads aimed at criticizing Dubie's stance on Vermont Yankee. Other than Blittersdorf's donation, all but $100 of the remaining amount raised came from the Democratic Governors Association.

This is the second time that Dubie's campaign has been asked to tone down, or remove, one of the original 12 items listed on

As I noted in "Fair Game" this week, Dubie's campaign removed an item focusing on Det. Sgt. Michael O'Neil's attempt to void Shumlin's speeding ticket. The Professional Firefighters of Vermont — who endorsed Dubie over Shumlin — were upset with the way the campaign was attacking O'Neil's credentials and unions in general. After a one-on-one meeting Monday, the campaign relented as they faced the likelihood the union would retract its endorsement and throw its support behind Shumlin.

As it stands, the union has not said if it will provide any get-out-the-vote effort on Dubie's behalf, as they have in years past for other candidates.

Enter Blittersdorf, who, though a major Shumlin supporter, is part of the renewable-energy business community that isn't completely in Shumlin's camp. In fact, Dubie highlights Blittersdorf's companies as Vermont success stories in his 10-point, 26-page jobs plan (that is also a downloadable PDF), and at a debate earlier this month at the Renewable Energy Vermont conference Dubie and Shumlin sounded more alike than different when it comes to pushing for more renewable energy development in Vermont.

Could attacking Blittersdorf so publicly backfire the way it did with the firefighters — one of the only unions to support Dubie? Assailing Blittersdorf's personal integrity because of his political support for Shumlin may be too much for some renewable-energy developers to stomach.

With the race a toss-up, can either candidate really afford to risk losing voters who could swing either way on the final day?

Photo credit: Andy Duback

Blittersdorf legal letter to Dubie: Download Blittersdorf

Blittersdorf personal letter to Dubie: Download Brian Dubie Letter 10-27-10

* Update *

Late this afternoon, CEO David Blittersdorf filed a lawsuit against Brian Dubie, his campaign manager Corry Bliss and the "Friends of Brian Dubie" campaign. The lawsuit was filed in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington.

"In their reckless zeal to impugn Defendant Dubie's political opponent, Defendants have maliciously chosen to attack Mr. Blittersdorf with false and defmatory statements," wrote Blittersdorf's attorney Ritchie Berger.

The suit alleges Blittersdorf has suffered damage to his reputation, standing in the community and his business. In addition, he's suffered humiliation, embarassment and mental pain.

Download a copy of the Blittersdorf lawsuit: Download Complaint - stamped filed (B0624389)

Blathersdorf should be supporting Dubie: he's been way more open in his support for windpower than the "green energy" hypocrite Shumlin has ever been.

In my opinion, this lawsuit seems to be ill advised and certainly could easily backfire in various ways.

If it were to proceed and eventually be successful down the road somewhere and, if Peter Shumlin wins election, the suit and court case will mire and drag down his administration particularly as case evidence is presented on behalf of the defendants.

It will be continually reported and debated within the newspapers, radio talk shows and television news as well as commentary shows.

It will not go away and will just feed as well as bring out the worse that has cropped up with the 2010 gubernatorial campaign: i.e., it will fuel the fire, not quell it.

Thus, even if David Blittersdorf were to somehow win in all this and again that seems very doubtful, he will also lose quite a bit in other more serious terms and so will his company as well as Peter Shumlin and, if elected, his administration, which will be defined by it: i.e., it will haunt him and everything he attempts to do, just like it has already haunted him and raised serious questions and concerns about him on the campaign trail.

The fact is, save the lawyers who will do rather well as long as the suit drags out within the courts as it continues to get fought and later appealed, no matter who wins these type of suits — at least within the context of political candidates and their campaigns — everybody else involved loses.

Not to mention it seems that politicians and campaigns have greater protection when it comes to free speech issues, no?

In addition, can't we just get this nasty election behind us already. Let us not have to rehash it all over again about who did or said what to whom and who is right or wrong, etc. Give us a break!

morgan, to my ears, that sounds a lot like concern trolling. How exactly will a lawsuit between Dubie and Blittersdorf 'drag down' a potential Shumlin administration? How has this lawsuit 'raised serious questions and concerns about him on the campaign trail'? The story just broke today at noon!

Does flat-out lying deserve to stand as-is, just because lawsuits are messy? Dubie has run his campaign with outside consultants, which has made for some nasty, inaccurate, fear-mongering ads. I expect such things from other states, not VT. I'm glad someone is making a stand and letting Dubie know that we don't like politics as usual in this state; let's just stick to the facts and run a respectable campaign (a la Welch/Rainville in 06)

verplanck: how ironic, since looked who is talking (re concern trolling and the like).

My comments are my straight forward opinion on the subject, nothing more and nothing less. Anyone who really knows me from over the years knows this.

The concern I have are actually real ones that this could hurt Peter Shumlin if he were elected Governor, however my concern is about the atmosphere and nature of Vermont politics in general after the election is over as well as about the people's business and the hope that something meaningful can be accomplished rather than having the divisiveness of this ugly campaign season continue nonstop.

The fact is I have already stated elsewhere my predictions that Peter Shumlin will eek out a win next Tuesday and, if so, then Brian Dubie will be history. Thus, I think people should just let it all go along with him and good riddance.

Does that make it clear enough for you!?

For my part, not only am I am Independent as well as a citizen of Vermont politics and have been for years now, but I have no horse in the race other than my passion for Vermont and its citizens, most especially those most in need (who almost always get forgotten, abandoned and harmed in all these power struggles either during election cycles or legislative sessions, promises to do otherwise notwithstanding): i.e., I certainly will not be voting for Brian Dubie or Peter Shumlin.

You need not share or respect my opinion and I have no need for you to do so, but neither do I have to justify or explain my views, particularly since you have made clear you already have your mind made up on the subject and are not truly interested in what I have to say about these matters: i.e., I have had my say, you have yours and I am not going to get baited into a needless and endless debate, especially with someone who hides behind anonymity and is most likely a Democratic operative or otherwise a rank and file member of a political party and does trolling on behalf of such.

As already stated, what I do passionately care about is the aftermath of the election and its fallout.

It is apparent that you are only concerned about your candidate winning at all costs no matter what the consequences. Period.


One point of clarification:

How has this lawsuit 'raised serious questions and concerns about him on the campaign trail'?
Since apparently I was not clear enough concerning which "it" I was referring to within the paragraph referenced, I had not been referring to the lawsuit in this particular instance, but in a more general sense to the issues and concerns that had been brought up during the campaign that led to it, given -- as you already pointed out in stating the obvious -- the lawsuit only broke in the news around noon Wednesday.

er, i.e., Thursday (I seem to have lost a day due to lack of sleep of late).

re: my initial reply to VERPLANCK, I had *meant* to write:


For my part, not only am I am Independent as well as a citizen *observer* of Vermont politics and have been for years now, [...]

"Dubie has run his campaign with outside consultants, which has made for some nasty, inaccurate, fear-mongering ads."

Nasty, inaccurate, and fear-mongering ads? Oh, you must be referring to Shumlin's ads about how Dubie will repeal the right to abortion. Or you must be referring to Shumlin's pandering to the hysteria about Vermont Yankee (you know, the power plant that he secretly told a group of Vermont businesspeople that he'll actually keep open).

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