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Decades-Old Bankruptcy Filing Sparks Controversy in Colorado Gubernatorial Race

October 22, 2010

Because it's election season, our Rialto individual bankruptcy lawyers have written here several times about candidates across the U.S. who are making a past bankruptcy part of their campaign talking points. So we were interested to see that a bankruptcy is part of the basis for a political scandal erupting in the race for Colorado's next governor. That's a three-way race between Democrat John Hickenlooper, Republican Dan Maes and American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo, a former Republican Congressman who said he entered the governor's race because he saw Maes as a weak candidate. That perception has only increased since the Denver Post ran an Oct. 16 article in which Maes disclosed that he filed for bankruptcy 20 years ago, at the age of 29.

The bankruptcy was revealed as part of an article about how all three major candidates have learned important lessons from financial setbacks. Maes told the newspaper that he filed for bankruptcy in 1989, after a divorce and financial problems that left him unable to make the payments on his condo. He said he liquidated almost everything he owned and that "taking responsibility meant living with the results of my decisions and having to recover financially." The resulting simpler lifestyle taught him what spending is and is not essential, he said, a lesson he hopes to apply to state government. In response to that and several other damaging reports about Maes, some prominent conservatives have withdrawn their support. The state GOP still supports him as the party's nominee, and Maes has declined calls to step down.

We are not well versed in Colorado politics, and it looks like Maes was controversial before the news of this bankruptcy emerged. But as Rossmoor consumer bankruptcy attorneys, we hope the bankruptcy is not the sole basis for Maes' loss of support. In our experience, it is not a bankruptcy itself that shows irresponsibility or bad decision-making -- it's the decisions that led to the bankruptcy. Rather than judging Maes or anyone else for filing for bankruptcy, voters should consider their financial decisions before and after. Indeed, it's worth keeping in mind that bankruptcy gave Maes a chance to start fresh and build a new career in sales, which ultimately led to owning his own credit reporting agency. This kind of financial risk might have been difficult or impossible with thousands in old debts still dragging Maes down.

At Howard Law PC, we represent clients who are looking for a new financial beginning through filing for bankruptcy. Our clients come from all backgrounds, and the circumstances that pushed them towards bankruptcy are also diverse. But in every case, their bankruptcies help them clear unpayable debts from their records so that they can end harassment by creditors, support themselves and their families and slowly rebuild their financial lives. Our Mission Viejo personal bankruptcy lawyers understand that this decision can be financially and emotionally stressful, so we help clients negotiate the legal and financial complexities throughout the process. From the free initial consultation to the day your debts are discharged, our goal is to give you the tools you need to bounce back and stay financially healthy.

If you're sick of hiding from aggressive creditors and you're considering a bankruptcy, Howard Law can help. To learn more or set up a free consultation, contact us through the Internet or call toll-free at 1-800-872-5925.