MONTPELIER, Vt. — Vermont’s new governor, Phil Scott, said Friday he wants to be transparent about his self-financed $2.5 million sale of a construction company he owned that does business with the state.
The Republican, who was sworn in this month, said he sold his half share of DuBois Construction back to the company and he financed the deal. He said that under the financing arrangement the company will make payments to him over 15 years. He also is renting a garage owned by DuBois to store personal items, he said.
“DuBois Construction owes me money, yes,” Scott said at a news conference.
Dubois has an estimated value of $5 million, mostly earth moving equipment, land and buildings. Scott said he did not know how much business DuBois did with the state last year, but state officials said total payments made by the state to DuBois in fiscal 2016 were just over $55,000.
Going forward, Scott said, the governor’s office will have no role in any contracts between DuBois and the state. He said the state will adhere to its bid policies and guidelines and anyone will be able to see whether the company gets favorable treatment in future construction bids.
“I’m committed to ensuring the transparency of this business, this sale, and as well to any future contracts DuBois Construction may have or may elect to perform in the future,” the governor said.
The Vermont Democratic Party has criticized Scott for financing the sale of DuBois Construction. In a statement Friday, the party said it had hoped the details of the sale would completely remove Scott from the interests of the construction company.
“Transparency and faith in government were key planks in Governor Scott’s campaign, and moving forward we hope he and his administration take all available steps in promoting these goals,” the party said.
Scott noted the heightened interest in conflict-of-interest questions because of real estate mogul Donald Trump’s election to the presidency. He said self-financed deals are common in the sale of family-owned businesses. Otherwise, he said, coming up with the money to pay an owner in one lump sum would mean a company would have to sell assets.
DuBois was founded in 1946 by three brothers. Scott said that several years after the death of his father, his mother married one of the Dubois brothers. The brothers ran the business for about 40 years. Scott worked for DuBois during summers in high school and college, and when the brothers retired, he bought half of it along with the son of one of the original owners.