City-owned Burlington Telecom owes taxpayers millions and is tied up in a multimillion dollar lawsuit with it's former leaseholder CitiCapital, but that baggage isn't clouding the vision of some 400 residents who hope to buy out the company.
"I really do think that this momentum is starting to gain and the rock really is starting to roll down the hill," said Alan Matson, a BT customer and founding member of "Keep BT Local," a local group aiming to raise $10-million and to buy and expand Burlington Telecom. Just this week the group officially became a cooperative, a title they hope will get city officials to take them seriously. "When you have a need to have an extremely loyal customer base, there's no better business model than a cooperative," Matson said.
The group is gaining momentum. It is set to establish bylaws and elect a board of directors next week. But not all the pieces are falling nicely into place. So far it's goals for fundraising have fallen far shorter than expected and though they have 400 members, they had hoped to already have 1,000. "It's a tough one," admitted Matson. "I'm not going to stand here and say we've got it all lined up."
And there's still the matter of the lawsuit. Until that's resolved, the group can't really do anything. Still, Matson is optimistic. "Assuming all those kind of come into place, we need to be there and be a company that can make a legitimate offer," Matson said.
Burlington officials have been careful not to comment on future plans for BT until the lawsuit is settled. But Matson still hopes that if the co-op can raise $5-million from donations and another $5-million in a loan from a bank or an investor, it will be enough to be taken seriously.
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-04-16 04:07:42 GMT
Rain, flooding and now snow. This weather rollercoaster is causing problems all around our region. Temps have dropped so the heavy rainfall has switched to snow. Rivers are spilling their banks, roadsMore >>
Rain, flooding and now snow. This weather rollercoaster is causing problems all around our region. Temps have dropped so the heavy rainfall has switched to snow.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 8:08 PM EDT2014-04-16 00:08:37 GMT
Flood warnings are in effect around our region as heavy rains begin to move through. There is already localized flooding at some of the typical problem spots, like the wrong-way bridge on Route 15 inMore >>
Parts of our region are already flooding and others are bracing as heavy rains move through. Not only is rain falling fast, but warm temperatures Monday melted snow, adding to high waters.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:06:00 GMT
A man had to be pulled from the Black River in Springfield Tuesday morning. The Hartford Fire Department says it's working to pull a man out from the river. They say he got stuck about 75 feet out inMore >>
Vermont emergency workers have rescued a man stranded in the middle of a treacherous section of river in downtown Springfield. More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 5:02 PM EDT2014-04-15 21:02:17 GMT
The sex crimes trial of a former prison guard has been delayed. Jury draw was scheduled to begin Monday for Richard Gallow. He is charged with sexual assault and lewd and lascivious conduct on a femaleMore >>
The sex crimes trial of a former prison guard has been delayed.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:27 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:27:17 GMT
Arson at the Albany Fire Department was an inside job. On Tuesday former firefighter Elmer Joerg pleaded no contest to setting the blaze. Investigators say the former volunteer was caught on camera settingMore >>
An arson at the Albany Fire Department was an inside job.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:26 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:26:03 GMT
There was a plea deal for a man who triggered a 5 hour standoff in Newport last fall. Derek Niles pleaded no contest to reckless endangerment Tuesday. He got a deferred sentence and will be on probationMore >>
There was a plea deal for a man who triggered a 5 hour standoff in Newport last fall. More >>