Does Governor Bullock know that the leadership of Avitus Group are crooks? If so, why allow over 1/2 a million dollars in grants to go their way? If not, who is doing background checks in Helena?
It’s no mystery as that Montana Governor, Steve Bullock is exploring the possibility of running for POTUS in 2020. We don’t think he has a snowball’s chance here at Capitol Whispers, but we’re only a handful of votes. There does, however, appear to be some cloud of mystery in regards to the Honorable Steve Bullock, and his Executive Branch, when it comes to the distribution of Montana’s grant funds. The mystery, in this case, is why would Governor Bullock direct grants to a company whose CEO has been convicted of Racketeering in Federal Court and whose CFO settled his lawsuit in the same case that his CEO was convicted in?
The Avitus group is basically an employment company that was founded in Montana and whose headquarters was moved to Aurora, Colorado right before they received $490,000 in grant money from Montana in 2016. A company receiving grants from a state is nothing remarkable, but when the company receiving said grant has a CEO who has a previous conviction for Racketeering, and whose CFO settled in his case for Racketeering right before the CEO was found guilty, one does have to question who fell asleep in the Governor’s Office? And, to beat the band, the same company received another $84,000 a year later in 2017.
Let’s take a minute to meet the fine, upstanding fellows who have received well over a $550,000 in grants from Governor Bullock.
July 21, 2008: Charged with common law fraud, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, CFA violation, & breach of fiduciary duty. (See court documents )
September 2008: A federal jury in Springfield, Ill., convicted Chrans -other defendants had settled -in a civil racketeering lawsuit, and awarded Mallavarapu $1.6 million, Baron $650,000 and Trask $400,000, plus $500,000 each in punitive damages, according to court records. Interest and attorneys fees raised the amount to nearly $4.4 million.They never received their money.*
Oct. 12, 2009: Plaintiffs still Waiting for Cash
“As a result of their enforcement efforts, Plaintiffs have learned that Chrans has deliberately engaged in a pattern and course of conduct designed to place the substantial majority of his assets out of Plaintiffs reach,” according to the complaint filed in July.”
He (Bentley) settled out of court.
Just so we’re certain that this is no accident, the same dynamic duo is aligned now ( at Avitus Group, LLC) in the same fashion as it was during their 2008 business venture that landed them in an Illinois court ; Defendants Willis Chrans and Steven Bentley were the principles of RES. Under the Management Agreement, Chrans became Capital’s chief operating officer and Bentley became the chief financial officer. Bank of Springfield’s Motion for Summary Judgment (d/e 141) (Bank Motion), Statement of Undisputed Fact (Bank SUF) https://casetext.com/case/baron-v-chrans-2¶¶ 28-31.
Oh, but our story doesn’t end here. As we investigated the matter further, something interesting came to light. The Senior Partner at Avitus Group, Jennifer Guenther has a long working relationship with someone who you may be familiar with, (and someone the Governor is very, very familiar with) Bullock’s girlfriend, Meg O’ Leary. By all accounts, O’Leary and Guenther worked together at Big Sky Resort for years, both in management positions.
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We’re not too keen on believing in coincidences here at Capitol Whispers, and the mystery as to why Governor Bullock would hire a convicted racketeer may simply be because of love. Regardless, we have more to come on the raw deal that Montana received from Avitus… and, Montana’s Executive Branch may have some explaining to do.