Sanders Finances – Bring a Shovel

By J. Eller @SDzzz  SandersGuide 2016 YouTube


UPDATE 4/2/2016: Re Bernie Sanders self-funding data. It has come to my attention, data used from Opensecrets.org has changed and the links now access different data. Opensecrets has been contacted about this change and whether the site has simply moved the data or retracted it. Information used here from the site was formerly accessible by this google listing (screenshot) and also available in two places on the website. There will be another update when The Center for Responsive Politics/OpenSecrets.org responds.

Note: This does not impact any income data used here. Sources for those figures are tax records from Burlington College for Jane Sanders’ compensation and Bernie Sanders’ Senate Financial Disclosures.

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UPDATE 3/8/2016: Bernie Sanders and Jane Driscoll getting Jonathan Leopold’s help during a budget battle.

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UPDATE: Bernie Sanders’ cash on hand for self-funding political campaigns:

campaign-self-funding
Bernie Sanders Cash

 



 

FAST FACTS:

  • The Sanders true net worth is far higher than reported, some have calculated as being well over $1.5 million.
  • Other than joint real estate, almost all of the Sanders’ assets are in Jane’s name.
  • Jane Sanders and daughter Carina Driscoll were paid to do campaign work for Bernie.
  • CREW lodged an ethics violation against Bernie Sanders for a book royalties deal between Bernie and Friends of Bernie Sanders PAC.
  • Jane Sanders was architect of unethical accounting practices used in a college land deal while President of Burlington College. Like Jonathan Leopold, on paper, she shifted funds from one account to another to deceive creditors.
  • Jonathan Leopold and Bernie Sanders designed a new accounting procedure at city hall that contributed to the Burlington Telecom scandal.
  • A Sanders daughter and son of Jonathan Leopold benefited from funds secured through Burlington College while Leopold was on the board and Jane Sanders was President.
  • Jane Sanders extensive stock portfolio is not ‘socially responsible’.
  • Son Dave Driscoll is Global Director of Team at Burton Snowboards, Burlington , Vermont. Burton got the ‘Made In America’ uniforms contract for the 2014 U.S. Snowboarding team at the Olympics in Solchi, Russia. The design came from Burlington but no part of the uniforms were made in America.


  • BS-fin
  • BS-networth up

  • Burlington, Vermont’s population  in 1980 was 37,712. Today it isn’t much better. 2010 census added only 4,705 citizens. If you love small town politics, it’s the perfect place. The people haven’t  changed much in thirty years, unless you consider what some call the militarization of Burlington by Bernie Sanders with an ever expanding Lockheed presence,  F-35 jets causing property buyouts, military weapons manufacturing and the addition of Sandia Labs of Manhattan Project fame. IBM is another big spender in the area although some complain about the corporate welfare problem.When all else fails, embrace the military-industrial complex and the buckets of federal dollars that accompany it. This was Bernie’s town after his election in 1981 by 10 votes, one of them his, and for all his pro-communism, pro-socialism small-town-on-demand press conferences exalting the virtues of the USSR, Nicaragua and Cuba, capitalism still makes Burlington go ’round and Bernie embraces that, too.
  • You’ve probably read his history by now, the poor student who was a poor student preferring to rabble-rouse and talk about issues. He didn’t vote, floating from protest group to group, believing Marxism was the best thing since popcorn. His first real job was mayor of Burlington in his late thirties, where for months on end he would hold public meetings and call in the press to lecture them on American imperialism against communists and socialists, labels he deplored and referred to as simply “nationalists”, heroes just trying to save their starving people like Fidel Castro and Daniel Ortega.
  • Bernie would probably have disappeared from the political scene long ago if not for meeting Jane Driscoll, a woman who shared all of his views and knew how to move money from column X to column Y to fund programs and political careers. It got her into city hall as Director of Youth Services, a newly minted program which was always funded, even during tough city budget battles.
  • There was already a Youth Services Program called King Street Youth Center, since Roxane Leopold was a volunteer in 1975 (more later in the article on the Leopolds) but Jane wanted another location. “I became the director of the Youth Office. I didn’t report to him. I had to report to the city council and the then city treasurer, (Jonathan Leopold) who is now on my board. In my capacity I started the Queen City Special, a newspaper. When I say “I,” it was with many, many volunteers. We started a teen center which still exists – 242 Main.” It’s purpose was to influence youth on politics, some would say indoctrinate, similar in purpose to Bernie’s Library, the “American People’s Historical Society”, he called it — “a newly formed nonprofit organization producing audio-visual from an alternative point of view,”  he wrote in a pamphlet he distributed”, where he hawked his Eugene Debs documentary to public schools and anyone who would listen. His prices were: purchase – $200-$230 and rental $35. The teen center would go on to become a major “scene” for the punk-rock revolution, rather than the down-to-earth atmosphere of an actual center for abused and vulnerable kids or even needy kids. From 1981 to 1990, Jane headed up the Mayor’s Youth Office. She has been Bernie’s policy advisor since 1990. Her city hall income is unknown for this time period, although her office and program was always a funding priority with Bernie.
  • The Sanders ideology is an important factor in understanding their finances. Unethical behavior, if done under the mantel of helping others, becomes a simple, and often excusable means to an end. Perpetrators know this rule very well.
  • Evangelicals want to control our bodies to save our souls. The Sanders want to free our bodies, but control our minds.
  • In Burlington, board positions are like club memberships, everyone’s on board, so to speak. It’s that rubber-stamp system that allowed Jane Sanders to leap from her position on the Burlington College board to president of the institution. From there she brought city treasurer and Bernie friend, Jonathan Leopold, who soon became treasurer of the Burlington College board. Her fateful decision to buy the local Catholic Diocese property would end the flow of money not only to herself, but to Leopold and his son, Jesse’s resorts on Andros Island, Bahamas and six-figure payments to her daughter Carina Driscoll’s new unaccredited woodworking school, all supported by college funds.
  • Jane Sanders, Tony Pomerleau, a local wealthy developer/philanthropist and Bernie devotee, Jonathan Leopold, Carina Driscoll and a cast of unnamed board members strategically peppered among the housing authority, real estate interests, city hall and the college, built a house of cards that would tumble in just a few short years and the words communism, socialism or Wall Street weren’t mentioned once. Since then, Jonathan Leopold has fallen in financial scandal, as have two college professors left to mend Jane Sanders’ college disaster, but the rest survived unscathed and successful.
  • Jane and Carina worked for Bernie’s campaigns through three businesses created by Jane and Driscoll; Sanders and Driscoll LLC, Leadership Strategies, Progressive Media Strategies and Jane’s personal consulting company under her own name, Jane O’Meara Sanders from 2002-2004. Jane also owns the business license for the Bernie 2016 campaign organization. Those businesses brought on the first round of scrutiny that hit home. Jane was a media buyer for Bernie’s campaign. After overhead, she pocketed about $30,000. Carina was his database manager, pocketing about $65,000 over a few years. All of the businesses are now inactive, except for Bernie 2016.
  • As for Bernie 2016 it’s in penthouse offices overlooking Burlington City Hall. Locals are thrilled, as it’s provided quite a boon to the local economy described by Seven Days:
  • Bernie Bucks: Vermont Companies Count the Campaign Cash 
  • BerniesBigBucks
  • Win or lose the presidential election, Bernie can’t lose what money and political pork can buy, and that’s the local vote. He’s already filed for Senate re-election, something he didn’t need to do until 2018.

  • Tracking the Sanders Financials
  • BS-Money
  • Since Jane’s income is not disclosed in senate disclosures, except for an occasional board compensation of about $1,000 or her Burlington home unlicensed antique business of the same amount, news sources and Burlington tax filings filled the gap. Jane is a commissioner on two State of Vermont Boards: VEDA, Vermont Economic Development Authority  and The Texas-Vermont-Maine Low Level Waste Disposal Compact Commission. 
  • Bernie’s $20,960.48 book royalty is disclosed in a section with his appearances and speeches but the small amounts he lists as given to charity fall far below the book royalties stated as being used in complying with Senate rules, but the charities are unidentified as, “A Charity”. This was cause for concern as an ethics violation by CREW (page 94), The Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, especially since it involved one of Bernie’s Campaign Committees, Friends of Bernie Sanders.
  • This graphic illustrates CREW’s revolving door problem with Bernie’s book income.
  • book-scam
  • Avalon Publishing Group  (Book:  The Speech) October 2011 Book royalties: $20,960.48
  • Avalon Publishing Group March 31, 2012 (Book:  The Speech) October 2012 Book royalties: $3991.57
  • Avalon Publishing Group October 30, 2012 (Book:  The Speech) October 2012 Book royalties: $1130.87
  • Book Tour- Avalon Publishing Group 06/14/2013 $638.94 Donated to: “A Charity”
  • Book Tour- Publishing Group 12/30/2013  $378.48 Donated to: “A Charity”Appearance Mahar Live Inc. Los Angeles, CA 11/07/2014  $850.00 Donated to: “A Charity”
  • In the 2015 – (calendar year 2014) disclosure there is reference to a 2014 charity document that is inaccessible, along with an amended document, also inaccessible:
  1. Attachments and Comments (inaccessible) Charity 2014 efd.pdf 06/29/2015 @ 9:40 AM
  2. Attachments& Comments (inaccessible) Sanders, Bernard.pdf 05/15/2014 @ 5:53 PM.
  • What about those disclosures? Bernie never mentions problems like this when he rails against the rich and powerful, probably because it suits his purpose, allowing him to maintain his “privacy” and go on pretending his family is just another average middle-class family.
  • Bernie’s other speeches and appearances which had paid airfare, food, lodging and sometimes a limo:
  • BS-speeches
  • Nor does he have to disclose real estate, although their Burlington condo went missing from records which regularly showed up in disclosures because it was rental property. This means one of two things; they sold it or stopped renting it out. As far as anyone knows there are three properties; two condos and a house.
  • 131 Main
    Condo – 131 Main St, Burlington
  • Sanders-Homes
  • They’ve paid down some debts, but their credit card debt is a roller coaster. They’re down to about $80,000 owed on one mortgage and own the other homes outright.
  • Bernie once attacked the rich for owning multiple properties, asking, “How many homes do you need?” For the Sanders family, the answer is three, for a “middle-class” family.
  • What experts say about those disclosures and the banding problem:
  • Alan J. Ziobrowski, PhD “If ‘The objectives of financial disclosure are to inform the public about the financial interests of government officials in order to increase public confidence in the integrity of government and to deter potential conflicts of interest’ as stated in the House Ethics Manual, then financial disclosure, as it is currently practiced, is a dismal failure.
  • Max Holland, Editor of the online newsletter Washington Decoded: More significantly, senators are only required to report their gains within eleven broad bands ($1,001 to $15,000, $15,001 to $50,000, and so forth), and so the exact amount of their profits cannot be measured…
  • Indeed, the ‘banding problem,’ as it’s known to money-in-politics cognoscenti, is a serious defect in the FDRs because it obscures almost as much as it reveals.
  • Stephen M. Bainbridge, MS, JD, William D. Warren Professor of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles “Congressmen and their staffs currently have to report their trading activities only once a year…In contrast, when Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley law in 2002, they gave corporate insiders only two days in which to report their stock transactions. Is there any good reason Congress shouldn’t have to do likewise?”
  • Gail Russell Chaddock, Staff Writer for the Christian Science Monitor
  • “Moreover, by law, the disclosures are removed from the public record after seven years…The data are incomplete: Dollar amounts are reported only in broad ranges: increments such as $50,00-100,000, or ‘over $50 million.'”
  • U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics -Financial Disclosure Instructions:
  • One has to wonder what was happening the day Bernie Sanders signed this senate disclosure without noticing an “x” in the “over $50 million” column in 2008 (calendar year 2007). It’s certainly no small mistake or even an easy mistake, unless it means something we don’t yet understand.
  • income-x-at-50M-2008-for-20.jpg

  • Jane’s Large Stock Portfolio – Not So Socially Responsible Investing
  •  “Bernie released his net worth breakdown statement on 8/15/15. His CREF stock account shows his top ten holdings. Number 4 on that list is the Wells Fargo Bank. Do any of you remember the “Wells Fargo Ghetto Scam” of 2009? The U.S. Department of Justice called that incident the 2nd largest housing discrimination event in history. The case is famous for Wells Fargo officers referring to Blacks as “mud people” and to subprime loans as “Ghetto loans.” And I thought Bernie didn’t like big banks…Why does he invest in a bank with a racist history?
  • Holding #6 on Bernie’s statement happens to be J.P Morgan Chase Bank. Last I heard they still have quite a Wall Street presence. Oh, and company #1 in the Sanders portfolio is Apple; company #9 is Facebook. Both of these companies are known to use Ireland as a means of avoiding American taxes. Legal, but you might think of questionable ethical standards for a purist like Bernie. Heh, but doesn’t everyone like money?” The Art of Selling the Impossible – Bernie Sanders
  • Valic Mid Cap owns Diamondback Energy, Inc., West Texas, a fracking company. via @smoothkobra
  • As yet, a full assessment hasn’t been published on Jane’s full stock portfolio, but this seems to be the tip of the iceberg.
  • Sanders followers defend them by citing comparisons to Clinton’s wealth, saying the income and stocks are insignificant and a “drop in the bucket”. Of course, the difference with the Clintons is one law firm partnership, governor and presidential employment, pensions, Senate, Secretary of State, best-selling books and high value speaking engagements. While Bernie had an income gap until he was 39, the Clintons were employed young, using their educations and talents.  It can also be said, the Clintons give millions to charities and aren’t afraid to name them.  In spite of Bernie admitting he gave $300 while visiting Daniel Ortega back in the day, he is not a champion of charity, going so far as telling a United Way group he didn’t believe in charity. He constituents agree, since Vermont is ranked 49th in charitable giving.
  • Notes on People – Some Disunity Along the United Way – NYTimes.com
  • Vermont 49th among states in charitable contributions | Vermont Business Magazine
  • This income and political influence research isn’t intended for die-hard Sanders supporters. Anything he does is justified, even if it’s a lie or illusion. For those interested in how influence peddling works and the personal payoffs it brings, this is for you.
  • Jane Sanders as President of Burlington College
  • Before Burlington College, Jane was Provost of Goddard College, like Burlington, a small college. “It was very difficult to make that choice,” said Sanders, a Goddard alumna who has chaired the college’s board of trustees for three years. “But Goddard is at a crossroads now, and they have asked me to change my role and facilitate that journey.” She took over at a time of upheaval. “I’m here on campus, but I feel like I’m walking on the corpses of those that have been fired.” KATHARINE KAVANAGH, Goddard student 
  • goddard

  • In 2008, a few years before the land purchase scandal, Jane was known for getting rid of dissenters, another trait she shares with Bernie, profiled in Bernie Sanders’ Dissonance and Dissidents
  • Burlington College Students Press for Changes After Prof’s Dismissal 
  • “Over the past four years, there have been more than two dozen faculty and staff who have left [Burlington College],” said SGA President Joshua Lambert in an interview last week. “A lot of those, we’re concerned, have to do with the administrative practices of Jane Sanders and her administration.”
  • In September, representatives of the Student Government Association (SGA) began meeting with students, faculty and staff about what they described as a “toxic and disruptive environment” on campus, which they blame on Burlington College President Jane O’Meara Sanders.
  • Seventy-four of the college’s 170 students and 11 faculty and staff signed a petition calling for the emergency meeting and expressing the view that there’s a “crisis in leadership” at the school.
  • “Over the past four years, there have been more than two dozen faculty and staff who have left [Burlington College],” said SGA President Joshua Lambert in an interview last week. “A lot of those, we’re concerned, have to do with the administrative practices of Jane Sanders and her administration.”
  • In August, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) expressed concerns about Burlington College’s lack of a formal grievance policy for faculty. In a letter to Sanders, Robert Kreiser, senior program officer in AAUP’s department of academic freedom, tenure and governance, called the omission “quite unusual” for an American college or university.”
  •  Buying the Diocese
  • The trouble began when the Catholic Diocese, beset by priest sex-abuse lawsuits put the diocese and its’ 74 acres of land up for sale. Jane Sanders imagined a grand plan along the lines of if-you-build-it-they-will-come and decided the college would buy it and then somehow double its student enrollment  for the first time in the college’s history to support it. Along with the $10 million price-tag, it would need work to make it suitable for school use.
  • “Burlington College took on $10 million of debt to pay for the new campus. The institution owes $6.5 million in tax-free bonds issued by the Vermont Educational and Health Buildings Finance Agency and purchased by People’s United Bank. (Jane Sanders has an IRA/Cash Annuity with People’s United Bank) The diocese also loaned the college roughly $3.5 million. And the college received a $500,000 loan from Tony Pomerleau, a local philanthropist and real estate magnate who’s an old friend of Bernie Sanders, The Burlington Free Press reported.”
  • “This was money for basic work on the diocese building to allow the college to move in and begin using it. Pomerleau said last week that he made the loan in support of both the college and its then-president, Jane Sanders, who orchestrated the purchase.
  • “It wouldn’t have happened without Jane,” Pomerleau said. “In my mind, she did a tremendous job.”
  • Pomerleau is also an old friend of Sanders’ husband. He supported Bernie Sanders after he was elected mayor of Burlington. When Bernie Sanders won election, Pomerleau recalled proudly, “I was the first one to congratulate him.”
  • As for his loan, the college has not repaid it. “Maybe some interest,” Pomerleau said. The due date for payment in full has been pushed forward a year, to Dec. 31.”
  • When the college soon defaulted on payments, questions, allegations and financial reviews started flying. It turned out that Jane had swapped a future bequeathal to the college for an actual donation in an unethical, but not illegal some say (in Vermont)  accounting practice to deceive creditors during the purchase. Combined with sudden financial problems and the defaults, Jane was asked to resign. She negotiated a very nice settlement, that would pay her for three years as if she were still there, covered by a “sabbatical” agreement. There’s some irony to be found in getting forced out of your job over a Catholic Diocese and using a form of the Greek word sabatikos for Sabbath to get your golden parachute payments. Things turned out well for Jane. Most of the rubber-stamp board was afraid to speak on the record , although a few quietly disapproved off the record, the college finally giving halfhearted support for the disgraced president for obvious reasons; the privately negotiated deal was secret, political survival and a hopeful attempt to support what remained of the college’s reputation. In time, the college tax files would reveal the agreement:
  • 2010-11-jansanders package
  • “THE FORMER PRESIDENT, JANE SANDERS, RESIGNED FROM THE COLLEGE AND A TRANSITION AGREEMENT WAS ENTERED INTO ON SEPTEMBER 26, 2011 FOR ONE (1) YEAR. THE PRESIDENT WILL BE PAID FOR THE YEAR, OVER THE FOLLOWING TWO (2) YEARS (THROUGH OCTOBER, 2013), AT AN ANNUAL RATE OF $149,380 INCLUDING ALL CUSTOMARY BENEFITS IN ADDITION, THE FORMER PRESIDENT WILL RECEIVE ADDITIONAL PAYMENTS INTO HER RETIREMENT PLANS TOTALING $21,415 AND A DEFERRED BONUS OF $15,000 AND A LUMP SUM FINAL PAYMENT OF $15,000. THE BALANCE OUTSTANDING AS OF JUNE 30, 2012 ON CONTRACT TOTALED $123,427. THE TOTAL SEVERANCE PAYMENT TO BE RECEIVED FROM OCTOBER 2011 THROUGH OCTOBER 2013 IS $200,795.”
  • Jane claims she didn’t take a FULL buyout because it would hurt the school. In reality, she knew Gov. Shumlin had raised public hell over her predecessor’s $650,000 buyout:
  • JS-buyout
  • BURLINGTON COLLEGE BOARD WANTS SANDERS TO EXIT
  • Presidents following Jane would find themselves with student protests over receiving their support funds and one donor has filed a lawsuit for misused funds.
  • Donor sues Burlington College, alleges misused money  February 24, 2016
  • Request For Investigation Into Bernie Sanders’ Wife Jane Published 01/11 2016
  • Complaint: Request for an Investigation Apparent Bank Fraud 
  • More Problems Leading to Jane’s Job Loss at Burlington College: Strapped College Maintains Study Abroad Program and Funds Jane’s Daughter’s School.
  • While Jane’s Catholic Diocese land purchase was the last straw for the college, there were other simmering issues.
  • Burlington College began backing daughter Carina Driscoll’s unaccredited Vermont Woodworking School with college funds.
  • The college Study Abroad Program focused on one of Bernie’s (and Jane’s) pet causes, Cuba. (Bernie was visiting Cuba and Nicaragua in the 1980’s claiming the U.S. was causing starvation in those countries). Jane has since said she and Bernie have made several visits to Cuba.
  • The other half of the program was “biodiversity” in the Bahamas at resorts owned by Jonathan Leopold, Nathan’s Lodge  and son, Jesse Leopold’s Andros Beach Club . Jane Sanders justifies the program by claiming the Leopolds gave the college substantial discounts.
  • Professors were leaving, either by Jane forcing them out or a rejection of her management style.
  • Jane’s boast of her involvement in Burlington College’s Study Abroad Program in Cuba: ” We have a program where we have an agreement with the University of Havana, where we’re going to be able to send up to 15 students to Cuba. They’ll stay in a co-op residence and be taking four classes. They’ll take an arts and culture class that brings them around the entire island, where they’ll see the architecture and the art. They’ll be taking Spanish, and an elective that they choose at the University, and the core course will be a course on Cuban Studies, history, politics, geography, economics – everything about Cuba. We’re very excited about it. There are very few places that have a course like this. We had to go to the Department of the Treasury to get a license to be able to do it. Sandy Baird (Burlington College’s director of International Studies and Civic Engagement) and I, we’re leading the program, have been going back and forth to Cuba to set it up.” It’s unknown whether this was billed as executive travel or to the Study Abroad Program itself.
  • It seems a no-brainer that Bernie Sanders would steer clear of anything related to the Bahamas, since part of his anti-Wall St. script refers to vast sums hidden in Cayman accounts. Then again, Bernie and Friends live by different rules than the rest of us.
  • Besides an instant mental flash of incredible beaches, when people hear about the Bahamas linked with odd accounting practices they can’t help but think of the Caymans and money-laundering. Here’s an article in case you’re curious:
  • What Fund Managers Sometimes Forget About Cayman Funds 

  • Study Abroad Program, Bahamas and the Vermont  Woodworking School.
  • Here is an unaffiliated website explaining the standard Study Abroad Program: Study Abroad in Central America and the Caribbean Jane’s programs were selected and designed by Sandy Baird and herself.
  • Vermont Woodworking School
  • Carina Driscoll started the woodworking  school in honor of her late father, David Driscoll, an IBM executive with a love for woodworking.
  • Study Abroad Program:
  • 2008: $47,395
  • 2009: $128,095
  • 2010: $123,514 (an additional $80,000 is listed without explanation)
  • 2011: $2,010
  • 2012: $149,682
  • TOTAL: $530,696
  • Andros Beach Club and Nathan’s Lodge
  • 2009: $17,440
  • 2010: $7,650
  • 2011: $43,010
  • TOTAL: $68,100
  • Vermont Woodworking School:
  • 2009: $6,474
  • 2010: $133,134
  • 2011: $138,571
  • 2012: $182,741
  • TOTAL: $460,920
  • Jonathan Leopold’s first year on the college board was 2005. In 2008 Leopold advanced to Treasurer, Institutional Trustee and the Study Abroad  and Bahamas program began.  Only Jane Sanders and Jonathan Leopold are listed as officers that year. Jonathan Leopold, burdened with his growing Burlington Telecom scandal and Jane’s resignation drops off the Burlington College Board in 2011.
  • Jonathan Leopold:  Nathan’s Lodge   Jesse Leopold: Andros Beach Club
  • A class documents its stay in the Bahamas
  • Press report: “Turns out it was a— focusing on nature photography and marine and coastal ecosystems. three-credit spring break course — for 14 students and two faculty members”
  • bahamianconnection-7days
    Letter to the editor – Seven Days
  • 2015 Burlington College Trip Brings Injury Lawsuit against Jesse Leopold of Andros Beach Club.
  • Subject: A woman from the Burlington Study Abroad Program is injured by a boat ladder while diving at Andros Beach Club and files a lawsuit. According to the deposition, 03/18/15, Jesse’s real address was Burlington, VT at a house provided by his father and was unskilled at mechanical things, such as boat care and maintenance, but had basic CPR and scuba diving certification. The lawsuit is about an injury sustained by a boat ladder after a dive. While the lawsuit also names the manufacturer, Jesse admits he knew there was damage to the ladder, assumes it was caused by fishing line during a fishing trip and had his handyman dispose of the ladder after the accident. The court ruled the manufacturer was not liable for Jesse Leopold’s negligence.  Since Jesse had disposed of the evidence it could not be tied to any manufacturer. Litigation after that is unknown.
  • Jonathan Porter Aaron Leopold III aka Jesse Leopold Injury Lawsuit Deposition 
  • Allen v. Leopold, No. 1:2014cv00022 – Document 74 (D. Vt. 2015) Court Description: MEMORANDUM AND ORDER granting 47 Motion for Summary Judgment. Defendant’s Third Party Complaint 15 against Vallery Industries, Inc. is DISMISSED. Signed by District Judge J. Garvan Murtha on 7/29/2015. (esb)


  • The Story of Jonathan Leopold and the Burlington Telecom Scandal
  • “Socialism is a great idea, Bernie, but it just doesn’t work in practice.” Leopold told Sanders in the early  days
  • Are there ties to the Bernie-Jonathan-Jane odd accounting practices? Absolutely, and it began in Bernie’s administration.
  • The Sanderistas wriggled out of that death grip by making the budget a more autonomous instrument, Leopold relates. As a result of reforms they introduced in the city’s accounting procedures, for example, Sanders and Leopold uncovered a $1.9 million budget surplus. About $200,000 of that sum was used to seed the Burlington Community Land Trust, itself an innovative response to the perennial shortage of safe and affordable housing. Two years after its launch, the land trust won a United Nations award as a leading international housing initiative, Leopold points out.” (Burlington Community Land Trust is now The Champlain Housing Trust where Carina Driscoll is a board member)
  • “A combination of idealism and pragmatism has long characterized Leopold’s approach to governance. And 17 years after the bow-tied Vermont WASP from Buffalo, New York, and the wooly-haired Brooklyn Jew ended their triumphant run as the Odd Couple of Burlington politics, he’s back – in the job he held previously for eight years.” King Leopold  – Who’s really running the city of Burlington? 2007
  • Leopold is still battling his problems from the Burlington Telcom crisis. He may have to repay several million dollars in losses incurred and legal fees.
  • Leopold Background:
  • 1999 UD Messenger Profile of the Leopolds as foster parents:
  • “Jonathan is chief financial officer of Global Health Care Communications, a London-based publisher of health-care magazines that is preparing to launch a major, closed-circuit satellite broadcasting system. He also runs his own Leopold Financial Group, which will soon break ground on an international health-care training facility, conference center and wildlife sanctuary in the Bahamas.”
  • “Since 1975, Roxane (Leopold) has served as executive director of the King Street Youth Center, which provides a range of services to children from Burlington’s poorest neighborhoods. Most of the children she works with come from single-parent families dealing with drug or alcohol abuse, unemployment, physical abuse and neglect and other social problems.”
  • The Leopold City Hall Burlington Telecom  Scandal:
  • “Taxpayers were unaware until 2009 that the city was also burning through $16.9 million transferred without public knowledge or approval by Jonathan Leopold, the city’s chief administrative officer.”
  • 2010: Federal Government Stimulus to the Rescue!
  • Vermont Lands $47 Million in Broadband StimulusIn a joint news release, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Republican Gov. Jim Douglas called the two grants the “largest public investment in broadband infrastructure ever made in Vermont.”
  • “Leopold resigned, but he wasn’t charged with a crime. Because he didn’t take money from the general fund for himself, Chittendon Superior Court found he had “invested” the mismanaged funds in the city’s existing infrastructure and wasn’t responsible to repay any of it.” Burlington boondoggle: How the Telecom scandal is still costing taxpayers millions 
  • Burlington CAO Jonathan Leopold To Resign, “Regrets” BT-Related “Difficulties”
  • Leopold largely cleared in Burlington Telecom case
  • “The court concludes that Leopold acted without any bad faith and with the best interests of the City in mind,”
  • But then, circumstances change and even federal millions can’t save Burlington Telecom. Leopold is left holding the bag:
  • Supreme Court Denies Immunity for Top Burlington Official
  • BT Misses Loan Payment, Says Talks with CitiCapital Remain Ongoing
  • “The end result is that Leopold could be on the hook personally to repay portions of the $17 million if the city can’t cough up the cash.”
  • Court: Osier v. The City of Burlington, No. S1588-09 CnC (Crawford, J., Apr. 30, 2013)
  • No Coverage For $16.9M Taxpayer Suit Against Former City Officer, 2nd Circuit Affirms
  • (November 19, 2015, 11:39 AM ET) — NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 18 affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling that a public entity management liability protection (PEMLP) policy’s insured vs. insured exclusion bars coverage for an underlying municipal taxpayer lawsuit against the former chief administrative officer of the City of Burlington, Vt. (St. Paul Guardian Insurance Co., et al. v. Jonathan Leopold, No. 14-4519, 2nd Cir.).
    (Summary order available. Document #13-151203-017R.)
  • St. Paul is represented by Robert M. Vinci of Drinker Biddle & Reath in Florham Park, N.J., Frederick P. Marczyk of Drinker Biddle in Philadelphia and Thomas E. McCormick of McCormick, Fitzpatrick, Kasper, Burchard in Burlington.
  • Leopold is represented by Robert Gensburg of Gensburg, Atwell and Greaves in St. Johnsbury, Vt.

  • The Children
  • Who are the people around Jane and Bernie that keep the wheels turning? Who can blame them for taking advantage of their semi-privileged political connections? Are they well-meaning or just privileged? The children, are of course, the first ring of the inner circle; Dave Driscoll, Carina Driscoll, Heather (Driscoll) Titus and Levi Sanders (pronounced leh-vee):
  • First, there’s Carina Driscoll, the most political of the four. @CarinaDriscoll on twitter.
  • Employment History
  • Vermont Woodworking School
  • Communications Coordinator
  • VBSR Companies -(Networking Club for Business/Politics)
  • Communications Coordinator-Vermont Businesses
  • Operations Manager- City of Burlington
  • State Legislator – 2000 Vermont  (Redistricting removed her district)
  • Clerk/Treasurer’s Office – Burlington 2012 (“Weinberger actually wants her in the newly created position of Assistant to the Mayor for Open Government, Innovation and Mayoral Initiatives.”)
  • Board Memberships and Affiliations
  • City Councilor-Burlington (Progressive-turned-Democrat Carina Driscoll lost re-election to Joan Shannon (D-Ward 5) in caucus)
  • Burlington School Board
  • Housing Trust Fund Administrative Committee
  • Champlain Housing Trust Board of Directors
  • “Mayor Sanders created the Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) in 1982 to help implement his progressive agenda, work on establishing a community land trust…The Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) was born in a small city with a big idea: by creating a stock of permanently affordable housing.”
  • Dave Driscoll
  • Dave Driscoll,  is the “Global Director of Team” at Burton Snowboards, a snowboard manufacturing company headquartered in Burlington, Vermont. Burton got the uniforms contract for the 2014 U.S. Snowboarding team at the Olympics in Solchi, Russia.
  • Bernie Sanders Senate website, Smithsonian Opens Made-in-America Gift Shop
  • News that the uniforms were made overseas, in conflict with the Made In America label (fabric made in Italy and Vietnam, with the uniforms being fabricated in Japan and sewn in Taiwan)  advocate Bernie Sanders quickly shifted the blame to the U.S. Olympic Committee even after he celebrated a new  Made In America giftshop at the Smithsonian on his Bernie Sanders Senate website, Smithsonian Opens Made-in-America Gift Shop
  • Controversy over Burton designed U.S. Snowboarding Team Uniforms for Sochi Olympics
  • “While Sanders applauded the Smithsonian for making progress, he also voiced concern about some of the products still sold at the museum’s main gift shop, including Rosie the Riveter towels made in China and Uncle Sam “I Want You” t-shirts made in Nicaragua. Similar American-made products are also for sale at the museum for similar prices, he noted.”
  • Heather Titus (Driscoll)
  • “Growing up in Vermont, the step-daughter of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Heather Titus created a theater production company when she was 9, planned all the family birthday parties and spent years in New York and London creating community around the arts. When she came to Sedona to escape the fast-pace, she realized she could use her entrepreneurial skills to help people find truth and peace through yoga.” She specializes in yoga for vets with PTSD.  Sedona Yoga Festival
  • Levi Sanders
  • Biological son of Bernie Sanders, grew up in his father’s rabble-rousing days of constant lectures on the values of socialism and communism, mainly in poverty due to his father’s inability to hold a full-time job until his first election. Levi sometimes gets involved in supporting his father’s campaigns.
  • “Greater Boston Area Legal Services University of Oregon Currently, “a social security disability insurance senior analyst at Boston-based Cambridge & Somerville Legal Services, handling insurance claims in disability cases for both children and adults.
  • Levi also worked as a consultant for his father’s 2006 Senate campaign, organizing campaign meetings and drafting papers on social security, health care, housing, and other social service issues, according to his profile. He’s also a graduate of the University of Oregon, receiving a B.A. in history in 1992.”

  • Sources:
  • Records for Burlington College are available 2004-2013
  • Congressional and Senate Disclosures available 2004-2015
  • Presidential Disclosure 2015
  • Records for Burlington City Hall for Bernie Sanders as Mayor and Jane Driscoll as Director of Youth Services are unavailable. Local newspapers reporting on city hall provide data.
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