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Surprise! Your Mayor Isn't Immune To Financial Troubles, Either.

Surprise! Your Mayor Isn’t Immune To Financial Troubles, Either.

January 24, 2011
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Mayor Lyn TruittYou think bankruptcy is for the poor and middle-class, and that the officials you elect are somehow above the problems that plague the rest of us “normal” people.  They walk on air, have special privileges, and would never be in your shoes.

After all, filing for bankruptcy is like losing in the game of life.  Right?  Not so much, it seems.

In a move that proves even the most famous people in town are merely a few calamities away from the bankruptcy court door, the mayor of Surprise, Arizona recently filed for bankruptcy.

How could such a thing happen?  Judging by news reports about the filing, Mayor Lyn Truitt was in debt to the tune of  $464,000 in mortgage, credit card and other debt when he filed his case on December 22, 2010.  The Mayor of the town of just about 90,000 makes $34,000 as mayor (my mother would say, “Don’t spend it all in one place!”) and was apparently doing alright until he was hit with the one-two punch that leads so many people into bankruptcy.

His wife died of pancreatic cancer and the real estate downturn knocked out his side business as a real estate broker.  So not only did he lose the second household income, but the medical bills were overwhelming.

Sound familiar?

“It’s very humbling,” Truitt said. “It’s a pretty major turn around in my life.”  But the experience has perhaps made Truitt more savvy to the problems people are facing every day.

“There are people across this nation that are in exactly the same situation I am through no fault of their own,” he said. “I think they’re going to realize I’m a regular person and affected by this economy just like everybody else.”

By the way, Truitt’s up for re-election this year.  It will be interesting to see how he handles his financial issues as he confronts his opponents.

Photo credit:  City of Surprise, AZ