South Texas Politician Denies Having Filed Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
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South Texas Politician Denies Having Filed Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

May 30, 2012

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Despite the existence of county records showing that he once filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, south Texas politician Jesus Maria Alvarez is denying that he ever had debt problems, according to a bizarre report from The Brownsville Herald.

Alvarez, who is running for the hotly contested position of Starr County Commissioner, apparently filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy seven years ago, and then switched his filing to a Chapter 13 case a few months later, sources say.

In a recent interview, though, Alvarez reportedly refused to answer questions about his bankruptcy history and told reporters that they had the wrong information. When pressed on what information the reporters had wrong, Alvarez refused to answer, according to the report.

The politician’s response is somewhat bizarre, given the normalcy of bankruptcy in everyday American life. In recent years, a wide range of politicians, at the local, state, and federal officials, have filed for bankruptcy and still maintained their careers as public servants.

Still, some stigma surrounding bankruptcy, at least in the cutthroat world of politics, remains. Alvarez’s opponent in the race, Abel Cantu, has reportedly criticized Alvarez’s financial history, questioning whether Alvarez is fit to oversee an annual budget of almost $1 million.

When he filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, Alvarez owed Starr County more than $20,000 in unpaid taxes, and he owed a local school district $40,000 in unpaid taxes. Alvarez also reportedly owed more than $47,000 to the Internal Revenue Service, according to a claim the federal agency made during his bankruptcy filing.

Sources say, though, that his bankruptcy case was dismissed in 2007 due to unspecified filing errors, but before the case was dismissed, Alvarez had paid at least $20,000 towards his payment plan, which was created to appease his creditors.

Because his case was dismissed, Alvarez still reportedly owes taxes to the county and school district, which could make his job a bit awkward if he is elected to oversee the county’s finances.

In a recent phone interview, though, Alvarez stressed that reporters “didn’t have their facts right” and claimed his name was a common one in the county.

As south Texas news outlets try to sort through the candidate’s financial past, voters will ultimately be the ones to decide whether Alvarez is trustworthy.


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