Articles Posted in Non-Profit Corporations

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This case concerned the taxable status of Schulmaier Hall, a building owned by the Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA), two-thirds of which VCFA rented to agencies of the State of Vermont (State) during the 2013 and 2014 tax years. The City Assessor of the City of Montpelier (City) found the property nonexempt for those tax years. In response, VCFA brought a motion for declaratory judgment in the trial court, and both parties moved for summary judgment. Granting summary judgment for the City, the court found: (1) that VCFA had failed to exhaust its administrative remedies before moving for declaratory judgment but also (2) that the property was not exempt on the merits. Finding no reversible error in the trial court's judgment, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Vermont College of Fine Arts v. City of Montpelier" on Justia Law

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Appellant Green Mountain Future (GMF) appealed the grant of summary judgment, which found that it was a political action committee (PAC) and violated a number of provisions of the Vermont campaign finance laws. GMF argued the trial court erred in not applying a narrowing construction created by the U.S. Supreme Court in "Buckley v. Valeo," (424 U.S. 1 (1976)), to the definition of a PAC under Vermont campaign finance laws, and that without that construction the registration and disclosure laws are unconstitutional under the overbreadth doctrine of the First Amendment and the vagueness doctrine of the Fourteenth Amendment. The State cross-appealed the $10,000 civil penalty assigned by the trial court, asserting that that court abused its discretion by misapplying certain factors and imposing a penalty for only one of GMF's violations. This case largely turned on the scope and continuing vitality of the "magic words" that GMF argued were required by "Buckley." GMF argued that its advertisements were purely issue advocacy and did not seek to affect the outcome of an election, in this case for Governor of Vermont. The State argued that GMF's advertisements were transparently employed to defeat the candidacy of Brian Dubie for Governor, although they did not state so explicitly. The Supreme Court held that the "magic words" were not required to make the applicable campaign finance statute constitutional. The Court affirmed the trial court's decision on summary judgment and the civil penalty, except that it remanded for reconsideration of the penalty for the violation of the identification requirement. View "Vermont v. Green Mountain Future" on Justia Law