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, March 12 2014 12:27 AM EDT2014-03-12 04:27:22 GMT
Town meeting day didn't bode well for dozens of school budgets across the state. Now the Burlington City Council is looking to cut costs after voters rejected school spending hikes. The council votedMore >>
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Wednesday, March 12 2014 12:26 AM EDT2014-03-12 04:26:45 GMT
The Vermont Senate has loosened restrictions on the state's medical marijuana dispensaries. The bill passed Tuesday allows an unlimited number of qualified Vermonters to access medical marijuana -- removing theMore >>
The Vermont Senate has loosened restrictions on the state's medical marijuana dispensaries.More >>
Wednesday, March 12 2014 12:26 AM EDT2014-03-12 04:26:03 GMT
A St. George man is behind bars accused of stealing from an elderly South Burlington woman. 43-year-old Craig Dubuque was arrested for the alleged financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Police sayMore >>
A St. George man is behind bars accused of stealing from an elderly South Burlington woman.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 11:35 PM EDT2014-03-12 03:35:07 GMT
"You know, people say you might not need it, which is true, but this way you get a choice. I don't have to go out tomorrow," said Lorinda Henry of Milton. Henry says she hit the grocery stores TuesdayMore >>
Parts of Vermont could get up to 24 inches of snow in the coming storm. And VTrans officials are warning drivers they may not be able to keep up with the storm rolling in Wednesday.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 8:02 PM EDT2014-03-12 00:02:07 GMT
"Seems like it was just yesterday. Doesn't seem like it's been two years at all," said Glenda Reandeau of Tupper Lake. Residents of Tupper Lake still have their eyes out for Colin Gillis, a now 20-year-oldMore >>
Colin Gillis of Tupper Lake, N.Y., disappeared two years ago. And authorities are still searching for him. They say the investigation now focuses on tips from the public and from those who were the last to see Gillis.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 6:17 PM EDT2014-03-11 22:17:43 GMT
A Rutland City Police officer is recovering at home after a crash involving his cruiser. Authorities say Officer Adam Lucia was one of two officers responding to an aggravated assault call Monday at TopsMore >>
A Rutland City Police officer is recovering at home after a crash involving his cruiser.More >>