Osier v. Burlington TelecomAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff-taxpayers Fred Osier and Eugene Shaver sued defendants Burlington Telecom, the City of Burlington and the City’s former Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Jonathan Leopold to recover and restore to the City of Burlington’s general fund $16.9 million in cost overruns incurred by the City in connection with the operation of Burlington Telecom (BT). BT was a City-owned enterprise that provided an optical fiber-to-the-home network to Burlington residents and businesses. The trial court granted judgment to defendants. Taxpayers appealed, challenging the court’s denial of their request for an accounting from the City and its denial of their request to hold Leopold personally liable for the $16.9 million in City funds used for BT. Leopold cross-appealed, offering additional reasons why he should not have been held liable. After review, the Supreme Court concluded that the trial court acted within its discretion in denying taxpayers’ request for an accounting. The Court also agreed that Leopold was not personally liable for the $16.9 million in cost overruns. In reaching this conclusion, the Court adopted the standard identified by the court in its pretrial ruling and held that any claim against Leopold had to include an element of bad faith. That critical element was lacking here. The Court affirmed the trial court’s decision as to Leopold’s liability on that basis.