MONTPELIER -- Gov. Peter Shumlin said Thursday a land deal with four friends that allowed him to purchase 27 acres for $35,000 in East Montpelier where he is building a home was a good deal for everyone involved and he bristled when pressed for additional information, saying the details of his private life will remain private.
Shumlin abruptly walked out of his weekly news conference after being pressed by reporters for additional details.
When asked by a reporter if he would identify the friends, Shumlin said, "No."
"I'm not going to get into their private lives or mine. I'm perfectly happy to share with you all aspects of my public life, but my private life is just that, private," Shumlin said.
When pressed, Shumlin, who is from Putney in southern Vermont and has been living in a rented home while in Montpelier, said he spotted the farm and signed a purchase and sale agreement for the entire property, about 180 acres with a number of buildings on it. The land was purchased by his friends on the same day Shumlin closed the deal.
The friends then sold him the nearly 27 acres. The price was agreed upon by dividing the number of acres he was buying into the whole property, he said.
"It was a mutually beneficial arrangement," Shumlin said.
East Montpelier land records list the new owner of the property as a limited liability corporation. Shumlin, who owns a number of parcels of real estate, said he frequently used limited liability corporations when buying property.
The governor said he didn't know how much the land would have cost to buy on the open market because he would not have bought it separately.
"I love my friends. It made more sense for them to have the farm because they will use it forever, and I will only use it for the period of time that I am governor so we made the arrangement that we made. There's nothing dishonest. There's nothing to dig up. Unless you're writing for the New York Post, I can't imagine what you're digging for," he said near the end of his news conference.