Former Seven Days columnist John Walters insists the Vermont Democratic Party is ‘fair game’ for critical media coverage of their mishandling of the embezzlement of about $19,000 by party staffer Brandon Batham this summer.
"On August 16, I recounted rumors that Batham’s *cough*alleged*cough* embezzlement of party funds was far higher than the initial $2,900. I noted that if so, it would raise serious questions about party leaders’ stewardship — especially chair Terje Anderson, treasurer Billi Gosh and former executive director Josh Massey. (And also about their judgment, in going public without knowing the extent of the losses.)
Those rumors proved true. The losses were just under $19,000. But the party’s press release announcing the higher total was full of blame-shifting in all directions and seemed more like a belated attempt at face-saving than a real accounting of the situation.
There were rumblings in party circles of dissatisfaction with leadership. The Windham County Dems considered a resolution calling for a change in leadership at the VDP’s biannual organizational meeting, scheduled for November 16. But the county committee backed away, thanks to a last-minute email from Anderson promising management reforms. (And the vociferous opposition of Sen. Jeanette White, who clearly wanted to sweep the entire affair under the rug.)