Shumlin lawyer: Land deal offers on the table this weekBy PETER HIRSCHFELD
Vermont Press Bureau | July 16,2013MONTPELIER — The saga of Peter Shumlin and his land deal gone sour could reach its denouement as early as this week, when the embattled governor is expected to find out whether a resolution is finally in the offing.
It’s been more than a month since Shumlin and Jeremy Dodge enlisted a pair of well-known lawyers to mediate a high-profile dispute over their real estate transaction. Shumlin last fall bought for $58,000 an East Montpelier homestead later valued by town listers at $140,000; the terms of the deal fell under a microscope in May when Dodge went public with his seller’s remorse. The property had been assessed at $233,000 at the time of the sale.
Both sides have since gone quiet as lawyers try to negotiate a resolution. Jerry Diamond, the former three-term attorney general hired by Shumlin to handle the dispute on his behalf, said that resolution could be arriving very soon.
“We have reviewed a number of options,” Diamond said Monday. “And we should know something by the middle of this week as to whether any of those options are going to be acceptable.”
Diamond wouldn’t specify what those options included, other than to say both sides have put proposals on the table. Dodge’s lawyer, Brady Toensing, a longtime political operative with close ties to Republicans both in Vermont and Washington, D.C., declined to comment for this story.
People close to the talks say one option would see Dodge reclaim ownership of his home, and a large portion of his land, without having to repay any of the approximately $30,000 Shumlin has paid out so far.
Shumlin had previously offered to void the purchase-and-sale agreement only if Dodge agreed to repay the money over time.
Shumlin continues to defend the deal as a fair one for both buyer and seller. Dodge owed more than $17,000 in back taxes at the time of the sale, and Shumlin said he spared his neighbor from a looming tax sale at which the property could have been auctioned off for far less than what he was willing to pay for it.
Critics, meanwhile, accuse the governor of exploiting a desperate neighbor for his own personal gain. Dodge’s children say their father, 54, was mentally unfit to understand the terms of the deal offered by Shumlin. Dodge did not have a lawyer representing him in the transaction, something for which Shumlin has come under especially pointed criticism.
Under the original purchase-and-sale agreement, Dodge was obligated to be out of the property by July 15. Diamond said Monday that the date has since been changed to Aug. 15. Diamond declined to speculate about what might happen next if the parties can’t negotiate a mutually agreeable settlement.
firstname.lastname@example.orgMORE IN Vermont NewsMONTPELIER — Facing off in their last debate ahead of Tuesday’s midterm election, the top three... Full StorySHEFFIELD — Galway Kinnell — the former state poet laureate whose work used the landscape of... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1618, English author, poet, soldier, adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh is beheaded for conspiring to overthrow King James I, but more likely to mollify offenses to Spain. His executioner has to implore him for silence.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1492, Italian explorer, admiral of the ocean sea, Christopher Columbus, sailing for the Spanish crown, 'discovers' Cuba; on this day in 1964, U.S. officials deny American involvement in bombing North Vietnam.
- Video: Fire engulfs house on Pine Street
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1936, Mrs. Wallis Warfield Spencer Simpson, mistress of King Edward VIII, is granted her second divorce, enabling her to marry the king. The government, the Church of England and the London Times have another idea.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: V-2 No. 13, launched this day in 1946 from White Sands, New Mexico, takes first photographs of Earth from the edge of the planet's outer atmosphere; 1947: Walt Disney testifies before HUAC, names employees he says are communists.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Vermont's brand discussed at Killington, state's attorney candidates Marc Brierre and Rose Kennedy profiled, Curtis reports about Rutland police chief's new job, and four arrested, charged for heroin, crack sales.