New Mexico Senate Candidate Admits to Bankruptcy Filing
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New Mexico Senate Candidate Admits to Previous Bankruptcy Filing

April 2, 2012

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Charles Rountree, a candidate for state senate in New Mexico, recently admitted that he filed for personal bankruptcy protection in 2000, according to a report from Alamogordo Daily News.

But, in a reflection of shifting social norms in American, his bankruptcy filing is not necessarily viewed as a handicap for the potential legislator, although local reports have raised a few questions about the nature and extent of his filings.

Sources indicate that court records in the Northern District of Illinois show that Rountree filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy three different times, starting in 2000.

Rountree, however, claims that the records show three different filings because he switched attorneys twice. Court records seem to confirm this claim.

In Rountree’s words, his bankruptcy filing was made necessary by several different financial difficulties he faced in 2000, including a divorce, the foreclosure of his home, and the downsizing of a company at which he worked.

Interestingly, job loss, home foreclosure, and divorce are three of the most common reasons why consumers choose to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Thus, Rountree’s filing was only remarkable in the sense that it was perfectly normal.

The perfect storm of unemployment, divorce, and job loss could lead even the most responsible consumers to seek debt relief in bankruptcy court, and Rountree was no exception.

Sources also say that the past bankruptcy filing is not the most controversial part of Rountree’s candidacy. Apparently, state records show that the candidate for Senate District 4 is the president of GrassRoots Rx, which is a company that sells medical marijuana in New Mexico’s Cibola County.

On a promotional website for the company, Rountree is listed as the owner of GrassRoots Rx, but he says this statement is an error, and that he is merely a member of the company’s board of directors.

But the media’s focus on the 53-year-old candidate’s loose affiliation with a company that engages in a legal activity, rather than on his past bankruptcy, shows that the public’s perception of bankruptcy has reached a level of easy acceptance.

Bankruptcy’s modern lack of stigma makes it easy for public figures like Rountree to readily admit to their past bankruptcy filings without fearing that such an admission could cost them a job, or the public’s respect.


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