Q. Byrum Hurst – the candidate Democrats seem to be rallying around – has a growing problem as we find out more about his background.
Earlier this week, I reported on his 10 sanctions from the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct. He dismissed this when asked about it by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette saying “it’s just a part of practicing law.”
That is, of course, absurd. One or maybe even two might happen to an attorney over their career, but ten shows a very bad pattern.
Yesterday, the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record broke the news that Chambers Bank had foreclosed on two tracts of property owned by Hurst claiming he is behind on payments on a $100,000 mortgage. The bank claims he owes $65,973.69 in principal and about $1,500 in late fees and unpaid interest.
Today, the Hurst campaign denied the charges and made claims that the bank is out to get him.
“Mr. Hurst believes he is up to date on all payments of the loan and that the bank is unjustified in their petition to foreclose on the property. Mr. Hurst intends to file a counter suit to contest the foreclosure,” said his campaign manager Nicole Dorris. “We believe this is another example of a financially troubled bank wrongfully foreclosing on an individual and making it harder on every future property owner or person in need of a loan. It is another example of the double-standard that exists; there is one set of rules for big banks and a much more severe set of rules for working families.”
Spokesman John Whiteside was quoted as saying that Hurst did not know about the March 7 foreclosure until a reporter called to ask about it and wondered why the bank called the press instead of Mr. Hurst. The Sentinel-Record commented they found out about it from a court filing not from the bank.
“It takes your breath away. A bank that receives a $19.8 million bailout from the federal government, to save it from its own poor management decisions, arbitrarily decides to foreclose on a property owner who has made all the payments for the entire life of the loan. A bank that in January of this year admitted that it had received an additional reprimand from the FDIC. A bank whose president is openly supporting the potential general election opponent of Mr. Hurst and has given that candidate at least $1,000 in contributions,” said Whiteside.
It appears Whiteside is referring to Johnny Chambers of Danville – President of Chambers Bancshares Inc. – who contributed $1,000 to Tom Cotton for Congress on September 30, 2012.
This is certainly a strong denial from the Hurst Campaign, so they certainly have put themselves in a position that they better be able to back up their claim that Hurst is current on his payments or they will be in serious trouble. Although at this point, it seems to me to be more plausible that Hurst was behind on his payments than it is to believe that the bank conspired against him to help out Cotton.
I will also point out that all this came out without any opposition research being done (or at least released) on Hurst by any of his opponents. I found the 10 sanctions from a simple Google search, and the local Hot Springs paper found the foreclosure from court records. Who knows what we may find if he becomes the Democrats nominee and Republicans begin spending money digging deeper?