Brunner’s Risky Business: Debt Incurred Under Brunner’s Watch Leads to Credit Downgrade

 Brunner, Worth $100 Million, Took $372,000 Salary While Laying Off Workers

Jefferson City, Mo.—Missouri news outlet PoliticMo reported today that Senate candidate John Brunner’s company, Vi-Jon, recently was the subject of a credit downgrade by Moody’s as a result of the company’s heavy debt load. Brunner, as Chairman and CEO, was at the helm of the company for the negotiation of the credit agreements that led to Vi-Jon’s current instability.
 
"It would seem that John Brunner, despite his misleading job creator ads, is once again dealing with the fallout of his risky business dealings,” said Caitlin Legacki, Missouri Democratic Party spokeswoman. “Over the past year, John Brunner’s spent millions to depict himself as a successful businessman, but recent layoffs at his company, the company's recent credit downgrade and Vi-Jon's previous issues with carrying too much debt raise very serious questions about his ability to run a business, let alone be trusted with taxpayer dollars. Missourians deserve to know whether this debt incurred by John Brunner was the leading cause in the company’s decision to lay off employees in late 2011."
 
In 2011, Brunner received a salary of $372,000 while laying of dozens of workers. Today’s report raises further questions about Brunner’s priorities and his actual record as a businessman.
 
Since October, Brunner spent more than $1.3 million on misleading “job creator” ads on the Vi-Jon factory floor.
 
BACKGROUND
 
Brunner Was Paid $372,000 by Vi-Jon in 2011. According to his personal financial disclosure, Brunner received $372,000 in salary from Vi-Jon in 2011. [Brunner Personal Financial Disclosure, Filed 2/2/12]
  • Brunner's Net Worth As Much as $108 Million. According to his personal financial disclosure, Brunner's net worth is as much as $108 million. [Brunner Personal Financial Disclosure, Filed 2/2/12]
October 2011: Vi-Jon Commissioned Round Of Layoffs. Reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Political Fix, “The campaign website for Republican businessman turned U.S. Senate hopeful John Brunner dubs him ‘John the Job Creator.’ But, less than a month afterBrunner's kick-off, his company has joined the long list of firms adding to the nation's unemployment toll. An official for Vi-Jon, which produces the hand sanitizer Germ-X, confirmed Thursday the Vinita Park company did commission a round of layoffs this week. ‘We did have a reduction in force and as a matter of policy we don't talk about personnel matters,’ said Scott Wilson, Vi-Jon's chief human resource office. ‘We are a privately held company.’” [Political Fix, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/27/11]
  • Headline: Germ-Ex: Senate hopeful Brunner's company trims workforce. [Political Fix, St. Louis Post-Dispatch,10/27/11]
Layoffs “Not Good News For A Rookie Candidate Whose Platform Focuses On Experience Creating Jobs.” Reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Political Fix, “Even so, the layoffs are not good news for a rookie candidate whose platform focuses on experience creating jobs. It might also take away some luster from his campaign slogan: ‘Get America Working Again.’” [Political Fix, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/27/11]
  
National Journal On Vi-Jon Layoffs: “Not The Story Brunner Would Want To See In … A Campaign In Which He’s Trying To Tout His Business Acumen.” Reported the National Journal, “Once your campaign website dubs you ‘John the Job Creator,’ the optics of your own company announcing a round of layoffs are not good. That's the situation Missouri Republican Senate candidate John Brunneris facing. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Brunner's company, Vi-Jon, commissioned a round of layoffs this week. . . . Not the story Brunner would want to see in the early stages of a campaign in which he's trying to tout his business acumen.” [National Journal, 10/27/11]