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"Accidental Congressman" Kerry Bentivolio files for bankruptcy

Former Congressman Kerry Bentivolio.
Gage Skidmore

He was called the "accidental congressman" because he was the only Republican on the 2012 primary ballot after incumbent Republican Thad McCotter's campaign imploded from a petition scandal.

Bentivolio went on to win and served two years in Congress until he lost his reelection bid in 2014.

Now Bentivolio has filed for bankruptcy after incurring debt from his short political career.

More from the Associated Press:

Attorney W. Kent Clarke Jr. said Thursday that Monday's filing came after his client failed to reach a settlement in a lawsuit by the manager of his 2012 campaign. Robert Dindoffer later worked on Bentivolio's congressional staff and won a $120,000 court ruling for fees and other expenses against the Milford Republican. Clarke says "the suit could not be resolved" and the award is more than Bentivolio's assets.

The Detroit News has a detailed breakdown of Bentivolio's troubles. They listed Bentivolio's liabilities from the bankruptcy filing. He owes more than $294,000

Secured claims

  • CCO Mortgage $87,269.99
  • Charter One (second mortgage) $11,558
  • Congressional Federal Credit Union (lien) $10,400

Unsecured claims

  • Dickinson Wright (legal advice) $43,950
  • Shifman & Carlson (legal advice) $11,000
  • Karen Bentivolio (loan) $10,000
  • Robert Dindoffer $120,000

The News spoke with Kyle Kondik, from the University of Virginia Center for Politics. Unlike other former Congressmen, Kondik says Bentivolio doesn't have the same ability to parlay his congressional experience into another career:
 "He's not someone you would expect to easily transition into the lobbying world, for instance," Kondik said. "He's not a career politician. He doesn't have the natural post career employment options that maybe your typical former member has."

Mark Brush was Michigan Radio’s Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
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