Two stories have broken in two days that show U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, was sued for non-payment of rent and foreclosure on his mortgage. Neither later hurt his ability, when a U.S. representative, to get a low-interest mortgage from Webster Bank.
Veteran Hartford Courant investigative reporter Jon Lender uncovered that “on Dec. 12, 2003, Southington Meadows LLC filed a complaint in New Britain Superior Court’s housing session against Murphy, citing ‘nonpayment of rent’ for an apartment at 12C Darling St., Southington, according to a case summary in the court’s electronic filing system.” Murphy, a practicing attorney, was in the State Senate at the time. It was by then his third term in the General Assembly.
In the Lender article, Murphy campaign spokesman Ben Marter said, “In 2003 Chris inadvertently missed rent payments. He paid off the outstanding balance when he found out about the missed payments and continued living in the same apartment for over a year until he moved into his new home.”
According to Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie, “Two months after Murphy was sworn into his new job [as U.S. representative], he was sued [in March 2007] for foreclosure of his first mortgage. Murphy was sued for failing to pay his mortgage. Murphy represented himself in the foreclosure action, which was filed in Superior Court in New Haven. The matter was resolved and withdrawn two months later.”
Rennie also wrote, “The cratering mortgage market did not stop Webster Bank from lending more money to Murphy in 2008, increasing his second mortgage from $22,500 to $43,000 despite the foreclosure action the year before — at 4.99 percent interest.”
UPDATE: According to a report in the Sept 8 Hartford Courant, Chris Murphy made this statement after an event in Bristol. “Ultimately I’m not a perfect person,” said Murphy. “I’ve made mistakes. But when I made mistakes, I immediately corrected them.”
Murphy campaign spokesman Marter said, “When Chris and Cathy [Holahan, whom Murphy married in the summer of 2007] were starting out, they were in the process of merging their finances and inadvertently missed a couple of mortgage payments. When they found out about it, they immediately got in contact with their bank and then paid it in full from their own funds.”
The explanation didn’t sit well with Rennie, a former Republican state legislator, who is now an attorney in South Windsor. “Lenders to whom you owe money are persistent in letting you know they’ve noticed you have not paid. You usually have to miss more than a couple of payments before the lender initiates an action for foreclosure in court,” Rennie wrote.
At a bi-partisan charity event in Bristol on Sept. 7, Murphy attempted to make light of his fiscal missteps. The Courant had this account:
“Prior to talking with reporters, Murphy addressed the crowd at the Crocodile Club, where guests dined on lamb and corn, washed down by draft beer. By tradition, speakers are to refrain from overt politicking and instead use humor to make their point.
“Murphy seized the chance. He said he was a bit late to the event because he had many errands to do: ‘I had to drop my little 4-year-old off at preschool, I had to pick up my dry cleaning, I had to pay my mortgage.’
“The room exploded in laughter.”
Murphy campaign photo