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May 22, 2013

Morning Read: East Montpelier Man Regrets Real Estate Deal with Shumlin

MorningreadThe legislature has adjourned, and you know what that means! Vermont Press Bureau scribe Peter Hirschfeld is back on the gubernatorial real estate beat.

Hirschfeld, as you may recall, wrote a series of stories last October about Gov. Peter Shumlin's real estate wheelings and dealings as the gov relocated to East Montpelier. As Hirschfeld first reported, Shummy got a pretty sweet deal on a plot of land he bought last summer with a few friends. 

When reporters raised questions about the transaction at a press conference soon after the story appeared, Shummy got mighty huffy and accused Hirschfeld of practicing tabloid journalism.

That didn't stop the Press Bureau chief from following up the next week with a story about the gov buying another East Montpelier property. This one, adjacent to the first, was headed for a tax sale before Shumlin agreed to help out its owner, Jeremy Dodge, by lending him money and allowing him to stay on the land for a time.

Well, Dodge and Shumlin are back in the pages of the Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus today. Dodge, it seems, is having second thoughts about the deal he struck with Shumlin last fall.

As Hirschfeld reports, the East Montpelier man says he didn't have a lawyer when he signed over his property and now believes he got a bum deal:

“I don’t have nothing bad to say about [Shumlin], but yeah, I got ripped off, plain and simple,” Dodge said Tuesday. “I wish it had turned out differently. I wish that I had let it go to tax auction.”

Shumlin, who says he advised Dodge to get a lawyer, sees it differently:

“I believe $58,000 was a fair price, and we both agreed to it,” Shumlin said. “The house is in terrible shape; it will have to be knocked down or totally gutted.”

It's a fascinating story — and we don't want to spoil the details — so be sure to check it out online or grab a copy at the news stand. 

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