Here’s a poem tweeted this morning from the Vermont Secretary of State:It doesn’t rhyme but late last month Sec. Condos wrote the following in an opinion piece:
“The time has come for Vermont to create an independent ethics commission to provide education and insight, addressing ethical issues across the Legislative, Executive, and Municipal sections of government”
Secretary Jim Condos is a tireless advocate for government transparency and an independent ethics commission — one with teeth that is.
Last July the longtime director of Vermont EB-5 Regional Center Brent Raymond resigned abruptly to lead Mt. Snow/Peak Resorts Inc. $52-million EB-5 funded expansion program. The Mt. Snow program is one that as State EB-5 director, Raymond would have had oversight of.
A great gnashing of teeth over the possible conflict of interest followed causing Governor Shumlin to go so far as to cry “ethics” aloud as Raymond exited from his administration out the revolving door.
A spokesman for the governor said then: “The governor has concerns about the potential for a conflict of interest in this decision. […] We fully expect all appointees and former appointees to comply with the Executive Code of Ethics,” spokesman Scott Coriell said in an email.
Later with questions over possible conflicts of interest in the legislature and executive mounting Shumlin publically endorsed plans already underway for an independent commission to handle ethics complaints.
In the meantime back at the Mt. Snow’s $52-million EB-5 project, if you hunt around on mountsnoweb5.com, a press release pdf that lists Brent Raymond as an employee can be found. However Mt. Snow’s webpage (shown below)more prominently pimps out their new hire Raymond as a Vermont State Employee – image tagged : Support of government officials
Some steps have been taken in the last year to address growing questions of ethics and conflict of interest in Vermont government .Secretary of State Jim Condos continues his tireless campaign for a transparency and an ethics commission for the executive and legislative branches. The Vermont House adapted a formal code of ethics and the Vermont Senate Rules Committee will likely continue their recent series of skirmishes, err, hearings to discuss formal ethics and financial disclosure guidelines.
Oh by the way, the other VT EB-5 Regional Center employee seen in that image on mountsnoweb5.com is Specialist Becky Fu. She left the state Regional Center in 2015 — not long after Brent Raymond. Specialist Fu left her state Regional EB-5 Center job to help shepherd along the Von Trapp Family Lodge $22-million EB-5 program.
So go ahead, shout as loud as you want. For now, I doubt anyone wants to hear “ethics” while passing through Vermont’s revolving doors. Nah, it’s business as usual.