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October 29, 2009

Special Council Panels Created to Review Burlington Telecom

Burlington City Council President Bill Keogh Thursday formed two special panels to look into various aspects of Burlington Telecom, the first step in trying to get a handle on how it came to be that the city loaned the fledgling utility as much as $17 million without explicit public knowledge.

That loan came without explicit approval from the city's Board of Finance or the City Council, and because none of the money was repaid within 60 days it's also a violation of BT's certificate of public good.

Mayor Bob Kiss and Chief Administrative Officer Jonathan Leopold have said the loan was both appropriate and necessary. Leopold apologized to councilors last week for not being clear in his presentations that money from the city's so-called "cash pool" was funding BT, and said it was a mistake to keep them in the dark about the CPG violation. Leopold said he first became aware of the violation in November, but didn't disclose it to the council until May.

The panels were approved during a long and contentious council meeting that began Monday night and ended early Tuesday morning. Despite the acrimony over whether to put Chief Administrative Officer Jonathan Leopold on paid leave, the resolution calling for further investigation into how money was approved and spent on BT's behalf passed unanimously.

The resolution called for two panels: One to craft a request for proposals to engage an auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of BT's finances and operations and another to review BT's governance structure and recommend changes.

The audit panel, chaired by Councilor Karen Paul (I-Ward 6), is comprised of councilors Vince Dober (R-Ward 7), Clarence Davis (P-Ward 3), Nancy Kaplan (D-Ward 4) and Mary Kehoe (D-Ward 6).

The governance panel, chaired by Councilor Joan Shannon (D-Ward 5), is comprised of councilors Ed Adrian (D-Ward 1), Paul DeCelles (R-Ward 7) Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (P-Ward 2) and Paul.

Keogh noted that Paul has agreed to serve as a liaison between the two committees.

"While the resolution calls for at least three Councilors be appointed, it seemed prudent to select five.  Because of the importance of the BT issue, all city councilors are strongly urged to attend meetings of both committees," urged Keogh in his email to council colleagues.

"All 14 of us are busy, having two council committees on which we serve.  It is understood that these two additional committee functions are further encroachment on our personal, family and work time," he added. "But, it 'goes with the territory' of public service."

Along with the formation of the panels, some councilors are urging the mayor to keep Leopold from having direct sway over any future audit of BT's finances and the CAO's role in approving the ongoing cash advances.

"I urge you to act both as the CEO and as the Mayor in seeing this to a rapid and open conclusion. In voting unanimously the other night it is clear that ALL of the council wants this dealt with as quickly as possible," wrote Kaplan, who voted Tuesday to put Leopold on paid leave. "It is also just as clear to me that the way to accomplish this is to take to heart that 8 councilors stuck up for their constituents by voting to put the CAO on leave while this is being accomplished. It is your decision to make, but I urge you to make it wisely."

Knowing that Kiss will not put Leopold on leave, councilor Paul said Kiss should still take steps to ensure that current BT management and the CAO do not influence the audit.

"When the auditor is chosen, if that firm feels that it is in the best interest of the impartiality of the audit for either the CAO of the city or the general manager of Burlington Telecom (or any other party associated with this audit) to step aside and cease to participate in the audit, I would ask that you take the advice of the auditor and ask the parties involved to step aside," wrote Paul, who voted against putting Leopold on paid leave. "Anything less will only serve to further erode the public’s trust in city government and then that responsibility and burden will rest solely with you."

"That loan came without explicit approval from the city's Board of Finance or the City Council, and because none of the money was repaid within 60 days it's also a violation of BT's certificate of public good."

Forget the CPG for a minute. The real violation is three-fold:

A) the taxpayers and citizens of Burlington were sold on BT with the idea that this would not be taxpayer funded (long term...I understand the notion of float loans, lines of credit etc.)

B) the city charter explicitly forbids the use of taxpayer funds for BT

C) the public trust has been violated by not only the 2 vioations above but also by the fact that Leopold moved 17M clandestinely onto BT's books (the audit, if done forensically, will show whether the 17M actually went to BT expenses). This is a high crime in my book. And I'm not even mentioning whether it makes sense to determine how a company such as BT can survive with 50 M in debt under the current management. Leopold has proven over 2 years that he is clearly not a good steward for BT. Is it too late?

Leopold said in front of council the other night that the moeny was used for capital expenditures. What? First, define capital expenditures. This is a pretty exclusive category. They are not operational expenditures nor debt service expenditures. Okay so let's have that audit. I hate to believe the worst about people, but in this case there's all kinds of stink around this.

To burlap city officals:
theres this funny thing called “Federal Law” its
gobbldee gook which 4 most part nobody understands
(callme nobody thats Mr.Nobody2u)
true story: ya know VPOUS Biden then senator Biden in 1988
AKA gafr joe well he sponsored a bill: (
”...honest services fraud is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1346:
...includes a scheme or artifice to deprive another
of the intangible right of honest services..”
joe sez:”..a new public corruption statute that will be
used to bring charges against anyone
who attempts to deprive the citizens of the United States
or of any State of the honest services
of a public official,
or against anyone who attempts to corrupt
the election process..”

all ye trekies out there in cyber space:

PLESES send emails to:
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

ask the US attorney to get his grand jury ON!

Theres no crisis until its time..
prosecutor has ta wait until train wreck
hits the fan& j q public feels facial do-do
otherwise ya hav 1000 progs in the streets
flagellating thmselves(with ed flanagan)
yelling“they'r killing jesus all ovr again”
leoTheLyinStealr er leo the venture capitalist pig
has whats calld in VC circles a burn rate 4 the $17M
as long as the 14 dwarfs& the bumblin staties look the
othr way while sausage is being made he's got 2-4 yrs
of easy living dependin on how $17M ”loan” is srvc'd
DPS is callin 4 repaymnt but they'd haf ta go c a
gavel banger(court) and play heavies but theres no
big payoff in that& the 14 dwarfs runnin round with
they'r rubbr axes er stamps (this being halloween)
maya kissMaGrits threw watr on em& they'r melting
(what do we need drawfs 4?)
anyways if they burn an effigy
they'r burning themselves
how much fun can that b?

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