B&M: the other Milne business

Scott Milne, the Republican Party-endorsed candidate running for governor (the un-endorsed one being Emily Peyton), is a businessman who is most often linked in the media with the family travel business Milne Travel. We’ve all heard the family business name here in Vermont. However he also is partners in B&M Realty and Development. The “M” is of course for Milne, and the “B” is for David Boies III, Milne’s business partner and former college roommate. [Five members of the Boies family each donated $2,000 to Scott Milne for Governor. Dad David Boies II is a renowned trial lawyer who argued on the Gore side of the Bush v. Gore case, won a pro-marriage equality case against Prop 8 in California, and is now, with Republican lawyer Ted Olson, fighting the Virginia ban on same sex marriage.]

At least in the Town of Hartford I would guess B&M has had more interaction with the state and local government than the Milne family travel agency has. In the Upper Valley B&M Realty and Development has been struggling to get approval for a project called Quechee Highlands. A major blow occurred last year to Milne’s plan for the Quechee Highlands development:

…when the District 3 Environmental Commission denied it an Act 250 permit for its first phase, citing concerns about traffic along Route 4 and the fact that it didn’t comply with the Two Rivers regional plan.

The proposed 168-acre mixed-use development  next to I-89 on the outskirts of downtown White River Junction (WRJct. and Quechee are parts of the Town of Hartford) has had a problem with Hartford. Hartford has worked and planned hard to preserve and take advantage of the unique old railroad-centered downtown. White River Junction, in recent years has experienced a modest revival.

At a meeting in March the Hartford planning commission approved a measure that will make it more difficult to include retail space at the proposed Quechee Highlands area. The Valley News reported that Milne warned the board that if they passed those changes, it would make Quechee Highlands project “dead.”

After the planning board approved the measure, an angry-sounding Scott Milne really let it rip:

“Their zoning is going to kill that village, which is designed to have retail as a minor but important aspect of it,” said Milne, who said B&M Realty has already invested about $4 million in the project, including land acquisition, engineering and design, as well as other fees.

“I’m going to try to figure out if I’m going to do anything, and if I do, it’s probably going to involve more lawyers, and it’s just going to continue to brand Vermont as a bad place to do business,” said Milne, a moderate Republican who has also recently considered a run for governor. [added emphasis]

Whew Scott, really? Get me “more lawyers” and “brand Vermont as a bad place to do business”. You mean bad for the un-built businesses, the ones along the highway?

For now Scott Milne looks like a last-resort Vermont Republican candidate for governor. It appears that no big VT Republican money was donated to kick-start this campaign. His campaign is (so far) half funded by the out-of-state family of his real estate development partner. And that family is renowned for a couple high profile liberal/Democratic legal cases. A couple months ago Milne was just the “M” in B&M Realty, an angry, frustrated developer, not a politician. Maybe he’ll become one on the campaign trail. We’ll wait and see what develops for Scott Milne.

5 thoughts on “B&M: the other Milne business

  1. Steve Berry, Republican candidate for governor from Wolcott, who hasn’t filed a campaign finance report, implying that he has neither raised nor spent even $500. Doesn’t look like anyone’s giving him a boost – neither party nor PAC. He’s the ultimate sponge candidate: no pronouncements or policy papers so far, just generic “meat & potatoes”: free market principles, improved roads, small business support …

    According to VtDigger, even GOP Chairman David Sunderland has not much idea who Berry is or what he stands for: “He certainly has very colorful emails. But where he stands on the issues that matter most to Vermonters, I don’t really know. I’ll be learning about him with the rest of the Vermont Republicans.”

    Among the things Berry says he’ll “kick and holler” about are the national school programming called Common Core and single payer healthcare. Yet he identifies as a senior citizen, and is presumably on Medicare. What is it about single-payer that he doesn’t get?

    He said he expects no recognition from the Republican Party because of his “so-called extreme views.”

    Gosh, isn’t it tempting to vote in the GOP primary in August just to set up the most ridiculous contest ever? A Berry-Shumlin race would likely be way more entertaining than Milne-Shumlin.


    In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. 
~ H. L. Mencken

  2. This is an extremely important piece of journalism. No other media entity in the state has twigged to either the Milne/Boies connection or Milne’s involvement in Quechee Highlands.

    This is the first bit of information that provides some rationale for Milne’s last-minute candidacy. Hartford’s new Master Plan was adopted in late May, which is just about when we started hearing rumblings of Milne running for Governor.

    I hope other media outlets pick this up. And I hope they have the stones to credit GMD for the scoop.  

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