James Craig, likely Michigan GOP gubernatorial candidate, has twice filed for bankruptcy

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  • Steve Neavling
  • Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

Former Detroit Police Chief and possibly Republican gubernatorial candidate James Craig has twice filed for bankruptcy while likely a lieutenant in the Los Angeles Police Department, Federal Court documents obtained by Metro timetable and Deadline Detroit show.

The 1997 and 1998 Chapter 13 filings stem from credit card debt, IRS arrears, and overdue mortgage payments, potentially raising questions for voters about Craig’s ability to manage the budget of over $ 60 billion from Michigan. The cases appear to be designed to reorganize debt to avoid a looming foreclosure on a $ 270,000 house he and his then-wife bought in Los Angeles’ Baldwin Hills neighborhood, according to the lawyer for the Southfield-based bankruptcy, Morrie Lefkowitz, who was not part of the case but has reviewed the records.

Both cases were dismissed by a judge after Craig failed to make payments on his reorganized debt. The debt may have been resolved when Craig finally sold his house, which was close to foreclosure, at a profit.

Although the documents do not provide a concrete reason why Chapter 13 was filed, it is often used by those who are on the verge of losing their homes, Lefkowitz said. Documents show Craig, then in his 40s, and his then wife were about $ 15,000 in arrears on mortgage payments and owed $ 26,000 on 11 credit cards, including $ 5,000 to Discover, 1,600 $ at Goodyear and $ 700 at Saks Fifth Avenue.

“I guess he wanted to catch up with the mortgage company,” Lefkowitz said. “They’re presenting a reorganization – it’s who I owe, it’s what I owe, it’s my income, my expenses, and it’s the amount of money I have to pay creditors.”

Craig nor a spokesperson immediately responded to requests for comment. We will update this storey when and if they do.

A representative for Craig, who did not respond with comments until after the posting, pointed out that Craig had paid off his debts.

“Less than 24 hours after Chef Craig teased an ad (for the governor), Gretchen Whitmer sends her minions to launch a desperate hamburger attack with nothing from a quarter of a century ago,” said Ted Goodman, who described himself as an “informal advisor” to Craig. “Chief Craig has since successfully managed budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars as the City of Detroit Police Chief. ”

The revelation comes as Craig promises to make an “important announcement for Michigan’s future” on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show next week. The former police chief was courted by state and national GOP figures to take on Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2022, and is seen as a strong candidate for public order that could draw black voters to Detroit, where he was generally popular as a leader.

Recent polls have shown Craig and Whitmer to be at points of each other in a hypothetical clash, but potential Michigan voters overwhelmingly prefer the ex-chief to manage jobs and the economy, with a May Target Insyght poll showing it up 63-30% in this category.

“This information could influence these people,” said Ed Sarpolus, who conducted the poll. “Republican voters prefer someone strong on the economy. (Craig’s handlers) give the impression that they didn’t examine him before hopping on his train.

No candidate for governor of Michigan or the U.S. Senate in at least the past 50 years has filed for bankruptcy, political analyst Bill Ballenger said.

“It would be kind of a first,” Ballenger said. “But based on his explanation, I think it might elicit some sympathy for him; voters can say, “Hey, I can relate to that. ”

“If he pretended to be another Rick Snyder, though – you know, ‘I’m a self-made millionaire, I want to turn the state economy around’ – it might hurt him. But we haven’t heard that. by Craig.

Craig’s political stock and national visibility increased last summer with appearances in right-wing media like Fox News and Newsmax where he questioned the motives of racial justice protesters, saying their goal was to promote “a Marxist ideology”.

It is not clear from the documents why the couple were unable to meet house, car, tax and credit card payments. Court documents show that Craig, who was a police lieutenant around 2000, and his wife were making around $ 140,000 a year combined. It was enough to cover the expenses and debts listed for them and two children, according to the documents. One child was Craig’s from a previous marriage; court records show he was married to three different women.

Credit card debt aside, the couple owed the IRS nearly $ 2,000; approximately $ 254,000 for their 2,100 square foot stucco house with pool; around $ 14,000 on a Pontiac Grand Prix.

The December 1997 filing was rejected soon after a payment plan of approximately $ 1,070 for 36 months was agreed upon by the Craigs and the debtors. Documents show the Craigs did not make the first payment, although it is not clear why.

A second case was filed months later and a similar payment plan was established in April 1998, but the first payment was never made this time around either. However, property records show that the Craigs appear to refinance their home in September 1998 and borrowed $ 284,000.

About six months later, the Craigs sold the house for $ 332,000, enough to cover their debt, which appears to have ended the financial problems.

Bankruptcies like this when people found themselves underwater and faced with the prospect of losing their homes were more common in the 1990s, Lefkowitz said.

“Mortgage companies are now more in tune with trying to keep people from getting to this point and now offering so many programs to fix the problems,” he said. “You don’t see so many foreclosure sales on properties anymore. ”

This story was originally posted by Deadline Detroit. It is republished here with permission.

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