Party chief: Jared Wright blamed bad investments
House candidate Jared Wright told the Colorado Republican Party about his 2011 bankruptcy, but gave a different reason for why he needed protection from his creditors.
The former Fruita police officer told the party he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection because of bad investments, GOP Chairman Ryan Call told The Daily Sentinel.
Call said he didn’t check Wright’s bankruptcy filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Denver before deciding to back him as a candidate for House District 54, which includes all of Mesa County and the west end of Delta County.
“Jared has never been dishonest or misleading with respect to the challenges his family has faced financially,” Call said. “The Obama economy and the struggling situations that a lot of folks have had because their homes or other businesses and investments get upside down gives Jared and other candidates ... a unique insight that a lot our folks and residents in Mesa County and our state are facing.”
Wright’s petition for bankruptcy protection, however, specifically listed consumer debt as his reason for filing, and not business debts.
The filing also lists no business, investment or job losses as reasons for not being able to pay his bills. Instead, it shows more than $74,000 in personal debts owed to credit card companies, debt collectors and lenders.
Wright’s bankruptcy filings also show he took out more than $40,000 in loans for three cars, including a 1967 Chevy Camaro and a Toyota Prius. Both of those cars were repossessed.
His Redlands home also was foreclosed, and he earned no equity from that sale.
Still, Call and Mesa County GOP Chairwoman Ruth Ehlers said they continue to support their candidate for the House seat.
“I think that’s a very personal issue on his part,” Ehlers said. “I don’t comment on people’s personal problems.”
Revelations of Wright’s personal financial problems come on the heels of a personnel matter with his former employer, the Fruita Police Department.
Wright was offered the chance to be fired or resign after five years on the job after an internal affairs investigation concluded he was chronically late for work and was dishonest about why.
Call said he has no plans to ask Wright to step aside to allow the party to choose a new candidate to replace Rep. Laura Bradford, R-Collbran.
Bradford decided not to seek a third term after problems of her own earlier this year. Those problems centered on a traffic stop that led to allegations she used a little-known legislative privilege to get out of a DUI.
Though the matter ended up before a House Ethics Committee, Bradford was exonerated on all counts but not before threatening to leave the party over the whole matter.
Bradford said she was asked to step aside and now is questioning the party’s decision not to back her for re-election.
“It’s disappointing to me under the circumstances that I was encouraged not to continue my service,” Bradford said Friday. “I find it disappointing that the Republican Party’s choice (to replace her) isn’t of higher caliber.”
While the Democratic Party did not run a candidate to challenge Wright in the predominately Republican district, the Libertarian Party did.
That candidate, Timothy Menger, said Wright’s bankruptcy and losing his job as a Fruita police officer under allegations of dishonesty should send a strong message to voters.
“Let the people pay attention to the facts,” Menger said. “My wife and I have never made over $55,000 in one year, yet we put two kids through college, we own three vehicles paid off, and one year ago, we paid off our ranch mortgage.
“And up to this point, I still have not spent a penny on my campaign. Who would you rather have control over your tax dollars?”
Staff writer Paul Shockley contributed to this report.