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Rep. Richardson's Financial Disaster Worsens

It appears Rep. Laura Richardson's (D-Calif.) financial woes are mounting. Foreclosing on one home and defaulting several times on two others isn't her only problem, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

The paper reports that Richardson also has a history of not making car repair payments on her BMW, which she ultimately abandoned.

LONG BEACH - Car trouble takes on a new meaning when it comes to financially distressed Congresswoman Laura Richardson.

In 2005, when she was still on the Long Beach City Council, she left one mechanic in a lurch with an unpaid bill, then later had her badly damaged BMW towed to an auto body shop but didn't pay for any work and abandoned the car there, owners of the businesses said this week.

The next day, Richardson began using a city-owned vehicle - putting almost 31,000 miles on it in about a year - and continued driving the car five days after she had left the council to serve in the state Assembly, city records show.

Richardson, 46, didn't return phone calls seeking comment this week.

These are just the newest revelations of Richardson's ongoing financial problems and instances of her unpaid debts.

(To read the rest of the story, click here.)

The left-leaning watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) condemned Richardson's financial dealings today. In a statement, CREW executive director Melanie Sloan said, "With a history like this, there are sure to be other unpaid bills and financial irregularities yet uncovered. What kind of responsible adult - much less elected public official - only pays her bills when she's called out by journalists? How can Rep. Richardson effectively represent the same people she is cheating? We all know about 'deadbeat dads.' Now we have a deadbeat congresswoman."

As the Los Angeles Times reports, the foreclosure of Richardson's home in Sacramento, which she bought after she was elected to the state assembly in 2006, wasn't the first time the congresswoman had fallen behind on her payments.

For years, she defaulted a total of six times on two other homes she owns in California. In the last 13 months, the defaults totaled $71,000 - while at the same time, Richardson was loaning her campaigns for state assembly and Congress more than $177,000, according to the Times.

Richardson was elected in a special election in August 2007 to fill the Los Angeles-area seat vacated by the death of former Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Calif.). Richardson hasn't responded to our request for comment, either.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  June 10, 2008; 11:55 AM ET
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