GOP telemarketer with sketchy past turns up working in Trump's White House
December 30, 2019
President Donald Trump's White House hired an Ohio telemarketer who twice filed for bankruptcy for his telemarketing company and owes hundreds of thousands of dollars to the IRS.
The president's 2016 campaign paid $1.2 million to Victory Solutions LLC, which owed the IRS and was facing numerous lawsuits, and its chief executive Shannon Burns went to work last year in the White House as a part-time advance associate, reported The Daily Beast.
“I work for the WH on behalf of the President advancing his events and rallies around the nation,” Burns announced earlier this year on Facebook. “Have been doing it since last year.”
Burns has also done some work for Trump's re-election campaign, the website reported.
Victory Solution has twice filed for bankruptcy protection, but each time the cases were dismissed after Burns failed to get required approval from his shareholders.
The U.S. Marshals in 2017 helped seize more than 1,000 Victory-owned phones, which a court ruled should have gone to repay some of the money the company still owed to a political technology firm it had acquired three years earlier.
Burns and his company have been sued in federal and state courts in Ohio, after former investors complained they had not been paid despite raking in cash from the Trump campaign and working for other Republican candidates.
Victory's pitch to investors pointed to work for former Florida Gov. Rick Scott, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and former Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN).
One of those lawsuits was filed two years ago by the mother of Victory co-founder Daniel Cord, who said the company never repaid the $15,000 loan she'd extended in 2009 to her son, who died from brain cancer a year later, and his business partner.
Edith Cord complained that Burns started dodging her calls in 2015, and she sued Victory in 2016 -- two days after the Trump campaign started paying the company for telemarketing services.
She won a $48,000 judgment against Victory in June 2017, and Daniel Cord's wife filed a separate lawsuit alleging financial mismanagement and other impropriety against Burns, who was required by law to provide detailed information on the company's finances to his late partner's estate.
Leigh Hellner, Cord's widow and trustee of his estate, accused Burns of enriching himself and forcing investors to file late tax returns because he withheld financial records.
That lawsuit was eventually dismissed after both Hellner and Burns failed to appear for a hearing.
Burns failed to show up from at least five court appearances between 2015 and 2017, according to The Daily Beast.
The legal fees from those disputes bled Victory's finances, and the company filed for bankruptcy in March 2018.
Victory's filing showed more than $2 million in debt, with about $183,000 in assets, and revenue fell to less than $560,000 in 2017 after taking in about $3 million the year before.
The company owed $411,000 to the IRS, and more than $375,000 in back pay to employees.
The White House declined to comment on Burns' role or the circumstances of his hiring.