Neighbor in dispute with Gov. Shumlin hires lawyer

Wednesday June 12, 2013

EAST MONTPELIER (AP) -- A Vermont man involved in the land deal gone sour with Gov. Peter Shumlin has retained a high-profile lawyer.

Jeremy Dodge will be represented by Brady Toensing, who was a lawyer for Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Dubie in a campaign finance lawsuit. Toensing, who lives in Charlotte, is a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm diGenova & Toensing.

"Dodge has been dealing with a sophisticated and shrewd businessman," Toensing said in a statement. "A businessman who is also the most powerful person in Vermont, being represented by one of the best lawyers money can buy. Mr. Dodge clearly needed some help. And we welcome the opportunity to assist a fellow Vermonter."

Dodge sold his longtime family home and 16 acres to Shumlin, a neighbor, and recently expressed remorse about it. At the time of the deal, Shumlin says he asked Dodge to get a lawyer, but Dodge did not.

Critics have accused the governor of taking advantage of a neighbor with a ninth-grade education.

Shumlin’s lawyer said last week that the governor has offered to sell the property back to Dodge. The lawyer, Jerome Diamond, said he did not know exactly how much Shumlin would ask to recoup from Dodge but said it would be "significantly less" than the $58,000 sale price the two agreed to last year. That price included several components, including permission for Dodge to continue living in the home temporarily and a promise by Shumlin that he would pay Dodge $15,000 when he moved out.

Diamond said Shumlin would be hoping to recoup a $17,000 tax bill he paid to keep the property out of a tax sale, more than $2,000 in child support payments owed by Dodge and for some repairs on the house.

Diamond said he was pleased to learn from press reports that Dodge has retained attorneys.

"As I made clear last week, the governor is happy to meet Mr. Dodge’s request that the property be sold back to Mr. Dodge for what the governor has paid out of pocket. I was pleased to hear last week that the Dodge family agrees with this outcome, and I look forward to working with Mr. Dodge’s counsel to bring this to a resolution."


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