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January 04, 2011

Dubie and Former Campaign Manager Settle Lawsuit

Blittersdorf A Vermont businessman has dropped a lawsuit against Republican Brian Dubie and his campaign manager Corry Bliss after the pair wrote letters of apology for statements made during the heat of the gubernatorial campaign.

David Blittersdorf, who founded NRG Systems and AllEarth Renewables, filed a lawsuit in the waning days of the 2010 election, alleging that Dubie and Bliss were defaming his character by repeating unproven allegations that he made campaign contributions in order to receive tax credits.

Blittersdorf was a major supporter of now Governor-Elect Peter Shumlin. He donated thousands of dollars to his campaign personally and through the businesses he controls. Recently, Blittersdorf donated $5000 to underwrite Shumlin's inaugural ball.

In the week before the election, Blittersdorf personally asked Dubie 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. Instead, Dubie's campaign released a letter from Blittersdorf's attorney and repeated the accusations. It was then that Blittersdorf filed his lawsuit.

On Tuesday, both Bliss and Dubie submitted letters of apology to Blittersdorf.

"I am sorry that in the heat of the closing days of the campaign I did not find time to sit down with you as you requested to address your concerns," Dubie wrote. "We have known each other for many years and I sincerely hope you understand that it was never my intention to suggest you acted unethically in any way."

In his letter, Bliss noted, "My intent as to those statements was only to raise concerns relating to our opponent as Vermonters decided who would be their next governor, not attack you personally. I appreciate, however, that you are upset with the statements and any inference that you acted unethically. I never intended to suggest that you had done anything unethical and I want you to understand my actions were neither malicious nor aimed at you."

Bliss says that now, but here's what he had to say in one campaign missive in late October 2010: “If David Blittersdorf was able to write himself $4.3 million in tax breaks in exchange for giving $8,000 to his campaign, we can only imagine what Peter Shumlin plans to do for him in exchange for his latest $20,000 contribution."

The $20,000 contribution is reference to money Blittersdorf gave to a 527 political action fund that was running ads against the license extension of Vermont Yankee and highlighting Dubie's support for the nuke plant.

But, Blittersdorf has decided to let bygones be bygones now that he has the apologies. In a statement, Blittersdorf said he was happy with the end result.

"I am pleased with this outcome and to be able to move forward. My hope is that Vermont continues to preserve the type of elections we can all be proud of. I look forward to continue working with Brian on our shared interest in advancing renewable energy and creating jobs in Vermont," said Blittersdorf.

Letter from Brian Dubie:  Download 2010-12-23 Dubie to Blittersdorf

Letter from Corry Bliss: Download Corry_Bliss_letter 12-30-10

Thank you, Shay, for supplying a good follow-up on this tawdry matter. Like Rich Tarrant before him, Brian Dubie has learned that an out-of-state hired gun poses more of a liability than an asset when conducting a key race in VT. Mr. Blittersdorf showed class in accepting Dubie's and Bliss's apologies, and I feel it was the proper thing for him to have done; but I remain skeptical that Bliss and Dubie would have admitted culpability for their actions had the election ended differently.

@ Goldrick:

Gimme a break. Your implied distinction between out-of-state campaign managers (bad!) and in-state campaign managers (good!) is simplistic, to put it politely.

I'm sure plenty of other high level VT politicians in recent VT history, both Republican and Democrat, have had campaign managers from outside Vermont. And while the person who held the technical title of Shumlin's campaign manager may have been an in-stater, modern campaigns are run by many advisers, including out of state advisers. If you don't think Shumlin was getting, and taking, campaign advice from national-level advisers, you're naive. One of the first things he did after winning was to make Bill Lofy, a Washington, DC political operative, who had been advising his campaign all along, one of his special assistants.

And the implication that it was only the Dubie campaign that threw mud in the gubernatorial election is simply delusional. I know I'm not the only one who thinks Shumlin diversionary attack on Dubie as anti-woman's rights was nothing short of disgraceful. And you think it was only Shumlin's in-state campaign manager who thought that one up? Doubtful. I'll wager that out-of-state campaign managers had a hand in that nasty campaign tactic.

So let's save the partisan holier-than-thou stuff, shall we?

I have no doubt that the reason for this truce between Blittersdorf and Dubie is because Shumlin ordered it.

Bill Lofy lives in Vermont.

The letters probably had more to do with the fact that Blittersdorf's claim had "legs", than any Shumlin order. Furthermore, it is very doubtful that either Dubie or Bliss take orders from Shumlin.

Steve-O: While some of what you state has some basis in fact, I nevertheless suggest your defense of Dubie/Bliss's negative campaign tactics is a simple case of one "who doth protest too much."

"You're a bastard!'
"No you are!"
"I'm gonna sue you and my lawyer's a real bastard!"

Disconcerting thought: What if they are all bastards?

@ Reelvermonter:

"Furthermore, it is very doubtful that either Dubie or Bliss take orders from Shumlin."

Ya sure? Did you miss the part yesterday where Shumlin named Dubie as VT's "ambassador" to Canada? You can't make a guy your ambassador to Canada while he's in a lawsuit with your biggest sycophant, er, supporter, now can ya?

That was an apology? Weak.

"Mr. Blittersdorf showed class in accepting Dubie's and Bliss's apologies". What a yuk.

Mr. Blittersdorf is now not only rolling in the cash he sucked out of sticking his nose up the political suck hole (does anyone remember that Blittersdorf served on a "Clean Energy Development Fund" committee, appointed by none other than Shumlin, to recommend actions to the State regarding energy policy? Hmmm.... I wonder if he recommended fossil fuels or Vermont Yankee continuation...). Not that you'd know this piece of probing investigative journalism.

So, as far as the article itself has it; $28,000 in, $4.3 million in tax breaks out... not to mention letters of apology & absolution from Dubie & Bliss. Nothing like the rich getting richer, in America's "winner take all capitalism."

Go, Mr. Blittersdorf, Go!; what a class act!

As Dave Blittersdorf's long lost and seldom seen brother I am proud of his self-starter and motivation to do something good for the planet(ie. renewable energy) . Using the system of tax credits, etc. is only smart business. Using his money to help the candidate of his choice for governor of Vermont is his business and choice. The cry babies who do not like success are many in this world.I live in a state where Big Oil controls the elections, so it is great to see an individual from renewable energy take on the Big Oil Republican Establishment!

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