Audit: Burlington Telecom not viable

first_imgBurlington Telecom,Today the Vermont Department of Public Service released an audit of Burlington Telecom that examines the organization’s business operations – and its expected effect on ratepayers. The 51 page audit details the knowing violation by city leaders and managers of the department’s license conditions; its lack of financial stability and weak inventory and accounting practices. The period under review was from the issue date of the CPG, September 2005, through the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2010.The following conclusions were included in the audit:â ¢ That Burlington Telecom has not been in compliance with Condition No. 60 since September 2005; that Burlington Telecom failed to meet the requirement to repay borrowed funds within 60 days; that even after instituting a policy to repay loans within 60 days, it has continued to carry a negative balance, failing to repay over $16 million in loans from the City’s Pooled Cash fund.â ¢ The auditors also concluded that they believe that Burlington Telecom not only withheld the fact that it was not in compliance, from the DPS and the Board, but appeared to have been aware of the violation earlier than it has claimed.â ¢ That the auditors also believe that Burlington Telecom has serious ‘going concern’ issues; that Burlington Telecom has incurred losses in each fiscal year from 2005 through 2009; that Burlington Telecom has accumulated a $16.9 million obligation to the City and is currently having difficulty meeting its $33.5 million obligation to CitiCapital. The City’s own financial auditors repeatedly raised concerns about BT’s ability to continue as a going concern.â ¢ CAO Jonathan Leopold, as recent as this past summer assured Moody’s officials that the $17 million BT owed to Pooled Cash “would become a liability of the General Fund if BT ceases to be a City venture. In that event, the City would have the authority to issue general obligation bonds to convert the Pooled Cash obligation to long term debt. That financing would be 20 years with annual debt services of $1.2 million. The cost to taxpayers would be a tax rate increase of less than 3.4 cents or 4.7%. The communication then states that a “4.7% increase, if it becomes necessary, represents a reasonable and not overly burdensome tax rate.”â ¢ Tim Nulty, the original Manager of Burlington Telecom, predicted that Burlington Telecom would generate significant positive cash flow by FY 2009 (predicted to be around $15 million/yr), which ” could provide more than 20% of the City’s general fund requirements.’â ¢ That the auditors are concerned with the possibility that Burlington Telecom could default on its loans and leave the City and its taxpayers responsible for the debt of $16.9 million and possibly a portion of the debt of $33.5 million.â ¢ That there are concerns regarding accounting issues. The auditors have discovered significant internal control weaknesses throughout the system. These deficiencies include controls over the coding of costs and authorization of expenditures. The controls that would properly monitor capital and operational costs appear to be insufficient. Also, the fact that the City has had issues with posting interest in a timely manner and identifying principal and interest payments suggests that Burlington Telecom is not in compliance with Condition No. 58. Evidence also suggests that Burlington Telecom may have violated Condition No. 12 in that the discounted prices charged to some City operations do not appear to be reasonable in relation to the costs of providing the services.‘This is further evidence that Burlington Telecom and the City of Burlington’s leadership have knowingly withheld and manipulated information to cover the fundamental financial flaws in the case for Burlington Telecom,” said David O’Brien, Commissioner of the Department of Public Service. ‘It is clear that Burlington’s Administration has put their interests before the interests of the taxpayers. Unfortunately, they continue to misrepresent the facts in what can only be considered a campaign to ignore a painful reality ‘ that Burlington Telecom is not viable. It is my hope that the voters and city council take action before more money is lost,” said O’Brien.Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss responded to the audit and O’Brien’s comments in a statement saying: “The City is reviewing the Larkin report and will fully respond once that review is completed. The report deserves a thorough review of its assumptions, claims, and conclusions.”The City has received the comments of Public Service Department Commissioner David O’Brien. Mr. O’Brien’s statements are irresponsible, inaccurate and inappropriate. Mr. O’Brien attended the Dec 8 status conference with the PSB at which the City discussed its plans for BT’s future. Burlington Telecom is cash flow positive and is in serious discussions with a number of strong financial partners about the process of acquiring replacement equipment to address the termination of the CitiCapital Lease agreement. “Mr. O’Brien’s statements are clearly intended to be harmful to this effort as well as Burlington Telecom as an enterprise providing vital services to residents and businesses in the City. The City is actively engaged in addressing BT’s financial status and CPG with the intent of preserving Burlington Telecom as a telecommunications and economic asset.”Meanwhile, in his statement, O’Brien went on to say that “it is truly sad that all the warning signs were ignored and that City officials deceived regulators and the general public that now places a tremendous financial burden on unsuspecting businesses and residents of Burlington.”The audit, conducted by Larkin & Associates, PLLC, made several recommendations at the conclusion of their report:(1) That the Board require Burlington Telecom to conduct a physical inventory of assets (both installed and uninstalled) and to report to the Board concerning this, along with BT’s detailed plan to use the equipment purchased through June 30, 2010 that has not yet been installed. This is critical whether Burlington Telecom is able to survive the current financial crisis or not.(2) That the Board require BT to provide a plan for bringing BT into compliance with all violated provisions of BT’s CPG, including Condition No. 60. While we do not believe that BT can continue as a viable operation, because of the risk to the City and taxpayers it would be remiss to ignore any possible solutions should they exist.(3) That the Board require BT to address the going concern issues and to provide an operating plan detailing how BT expects to become profitable and cash-flow positive, including details on any restructuring of the CitiCapital lease financing that BT has been able to obtain.(4) That the Board consider revoking BT’s CPG if the Board is not satisfied that BT has a realistic plan to bring BT into compliance with all violated provisions of BT’s CPG, including Condition No. 60, and a viable plan for addressing the going concern issues.A copy of the report can be found online at http://www.publicservice.vermont.gov/(link is external)last_img read more

Scenes From Ferguson-Inspired Protests Nationwide

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Dozens of cities across the United States saw mass protests for a second consecutive night Tuesday as demonstrators continued to express dissatisfaction over a Ferguson, Mo. grand jury’s decision Monday not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown. Outraged protesters flooded the streets of New York City, Boston, Los Angeles and other American cities, one day after a county prosecutor announced that a grand jury meeting since August decided against indicting Wilson in the shooting. In all, demonstrations took place in nearly 40 states overnight. Brown’s death reignited racial tensions in the majority-black community of Ferugson and sparked weeks of protests in and around the St. Louis suburb following his killing by Wilson. In Manhattan, thousands took over Union Square before groups of protesters splintered off to Times Square, the Manhattan Bridge, FDR Drive and other highly-trafficed areas. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton reportedly said officers were under orders to allow protesters to demonstrate, as long as they did so peacefully. Videos posted on social media showed protesters waving signs that read “Black Lives Matter,” and chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot!”—a reference to witness accounts that said Brown raised his hands in the air during the confrontation, signaling that he was surrendering.Below are some of the many tweets and vines posted throughout last night documenting the unfolding protests: New York City Chicago Boston Los Angeles NYC: Protests Begin At #UnionSquare –#Ferguson – http://t.co/ocwJGFVeaL pic.twitter.com/HHQ4vXsnYY— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) November 25, 2014last_img read more

Persaud creates more history for Archery Guyana

first_imgARCHERY Guyana’s Devin Persaud created history as the first Guyanese to secure a Minimum Qualification Score for Recurve Men, with a 640 score.At the recently concluded Caledon Tournament, Archery Guyana was represented by Devin Persaud in Ontario, Canada who performed amazingly to cause Guyana to now be on an official List released by World Archery as one of the countries eligible to apply for the invitational place at the Olympics.The Minimum Qualification Score for rescrve men is 640.The minimum score is 640 to be eligible and he was eligible to shoot this score up to June 2020.However, he did so before this time in Ohio by shooting the score (640) at this World Archery-sanctioned event.Our archers can do so at other WA-sanctioned events, including world cups, the Pan Am Championships to take place in Mexico in March, the World Ranking Event to take place in Colombia at the beginning of June, and any other events (national or international) registered in the WA Calendar.As a result, Archery Guyana will be eligible for an invitation place for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.There are only two invitation places for the world.Archery Guyana intends to start the process to request our best archer and seek to engage the relevant persons within the timeline.In the meantime, Devin has expressed the desire to continue to participate in Berlin to shoot another qualifying score and in Mexico next year at the Pan-Am Championships.last_img read more

Memorable Opening Days from Dodgers seasons past

first_img Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Veteran left-hander Jerry Reuss was supposed to be the Dodgers’ Opening Day starter in 1981, but he was injured and Manager Tommy Lasorda chose rookie Fernando Valenzuela as his replacement. Good choice. In his first big-league start, Valenzuela shut out the Houston Astros, going the distance in a 2-0 victory – the first win in an 8-0, 0.50 ERA start. Fernandomania was born.April 4, 1988Steve Sax led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run off Dave Dravecky. But the Dodgers lost 5-1 to the Giants on Opening Day 1988. They were saving the magic for October.April 1, 2013This was the third of Clayton Kershaw’s franchise-record eight (so far) Opening Day starts – and maybe his best. Kershaw and Giants ace Matt Cain dueled through seven shutout innings. In the bottom of the eighth, Kershaw broke the scoreless tie himself with a leadoff home run off Giants reliever George Kontos. The Dodgers went on to score three more times in the inning. In 12 big-league seasons, that is still Kershaw’s only home run. (This game will be rebroadcast on MLB Network on Thursday at 1 p.m.)March 22, 2014Baseball took its game “Down Under” with the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks opening the season at the Sydney Cricket Grounds in Australia – the oldest stadium ever to host a major-league game and the first in the Southern Hemisphere to host a regular-season game. Kershaw went six innings in the 3-1 win. It was six weeks before he pitched in another major-league game due to a strained muscle in the back of his left shoulder, likely brought on by the unusually early start to the season. When he returned, though, Kershaw had the best season of his career, going 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA and claiming the rare double of an MVP and Cy Young award in the same season.The Dodgers’ Kike’ Hernandez is congratulated by teammate Justin Turner after hitting a home run during the seventh inning of their 12-5 Opening Day rout of the Arizona Diamondbacks last season at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)March 28, 2019The Dodgers announced their presence with authority last season, hitting eight home runs in their 12-5 victory over the Diamondbacks – a major-league record for a season-opening game and tying the franchise record for home runs in any game. Joc Pederson and Kiké Hernandez each hit two home runs. Austin Barnes, Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager and Max Muncy each went deep once. It was a fitting start to the season for the Dodgers – they went on to lead the National League with 279 home runs.Related Articles In this April 15, 1958, file photo, the San Francisco Giants play the Los Angeles Dodgers during the opening game of the first Giants game at Seals Stadium in San Francisco. (AP Photo/File)April 15, 1958Major League Baseball came to the West Coast when the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants exchanged their New York homes for new addresses in California. The first game was played at Seals Stadium in San Francisco with the Giants white-washing their ancient rivals, 8-0. Giants sluggers Daryl Spencer and Orlando Cepeda hit the first MLB home runs in California off Dodgers starter Don Drysdale.April 10, 1962A crowd of 52,564 fans filled brand new Dodger Stadium for the first game in the Dodgers’ new home. Wally Post broke a 2-2 tie with a three-run home run off Johnny Podres in the seventh inning and sent the defending National League champion Cincinnati Reds on to a 6-3 victory over the Dodgers, spoiling the stadium’s debut. Undergoing a $100 million renovation this winter, Dodger Stadium is now the third-oldest stadium in MLB (behind Fenway Park and Wrigley Field).A helicopter hovers over Dodger Stadium on opening day of the baseball season as the Los Angeles Dodgers play their first game at the new 56,000-seat stadium in Chavez Ravine near Los Angeles, Ca., April 10, 1962. The Dodgers lost to the Cincinnati Reds 6-3. (AP Photo)April 9, 1981 Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire It is baseball’s annual new year celebration.Opening Day is a national holiday for baseball fans, signaling the start of a new season with all its hope and promise. Thursday was supposed to be that day in 2020. With that on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, here are some memorable moments from past Opening Days in Dodgers history:April 15, 1947On their way to a National League pennant, the Brooklyn Dodgers started the 1947 season with a 5-3 victory over the Boston Braves. Down 3-2 after six innings, the Dodgers scored three times in the seventh to claim the come-from-behind victory at Ebbets Field. The score was inconsequential, however. Baseball was forever changed by the Dodgers’ starting first baseman that day – Jackie Robinson.last_img read more

Another noose was found on a NASCAR track property over the weekend

first_img“The sport is changing … Whoever it was, you’re not gonna take away my smile.”- @BubbaWallaceWhat a moment. #IStandWithBubba pic.twitter.com/Z3YajMuBBJ— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) June 23, 2020Added NASCAR president Steve Phelps before Monday’s race: “This is a difficult time for our sport, but we are going to react swiftly and again we’re going to use all the means, resources at our disposal and of those of the FBI to make sure this person or persons are caught and dealt with swiftly and severely. There’s no room for this at all, and we won’t tolerate it.”The garage area at Talladega was not open to fans Sunday because of the coronavirus. Only race teams, NASCAR/track officials and safety crews were allowed access.NASCAR’s race weekend at Talladega also prompted protests from Confederate flag defenders, including a parade of trucks and motorcycles displaying the stars and bars outside the track on Saturday and a “Defund NASCAR” banner featuring the flag being flown by a plane over the track Sunday. Added Steve Page, the track’s president who also serves as its general manager (via NBC Sports): “Our staff, on-site business tenants and local law enforcement have been contacted and asked to share any information they may have. The incident is under investigation by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department. Sonoma Raceway takes this incident very seriously and is dedicated to operating a facility that is welcoming to everyone.”MORE: Wallace sees how NASCAR “is changing”Sonoma Raceway’s annual NASCAR Cup Series race, which originally was scheduled for June 14, was moved to Charlotte because of the COVID-19 pandemic and held on May 27. Sonoma is expected to be added back to the schedule in 2021. Speedway Motorsports owns Sonoma Raceway.The noose in Wallace’s garage was discovered a day later at Talladega Superspeedway, which is owned by NASCAR and located in Talladega, Ala. It was found almost two weeks after Wallace’s push to have the Confederate flag banned from NASCAR races became successful. NASCAR on June 10 announced it had prohibited the display of the flag at all of its events and properties.Both the FBI and NASCAR are investigating the Talladega noose, which is believed to have been placed at some point during Sunday’s rain delay of the Geico 500. Wallace never saw the noose. The race eventually was postponed to Monday because of inclement weather.”The deal that happened yesterday, sorry I’m not wearing my mask, but I wanted to show whoever it was that you’re not going to take away my smile and I’m going to keep on going,” Wallace said on the Fox broadcast after finishing the race 14th, standing in front of a crowd of supporters in the stands. The noose found in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway was not the only one that appeared at a NASCAR racing facility over the weekend.The president of Sonoma Raceway, a road course located in Sonoma, Calif., that has hosted NASCAR Cup Series races since 1989, claims that on Saturday a “staff member discovered a piece of twine tied in what appeared to be a noose hanging from a tree on raceway property.”last_img read more