Jeffrey M. Rosenblum, P.C.
A Fresh Start

New York lawmaker explains circumstances that led to bankruptcy

Many factors beyond our control can lead to a financial downturn that makes filing for bankruptcy the best option. An illness or injury that brings astronomical medical bills is one example. One New York lawmaker and her husband got hit with a double whammy -- medical debt and Hurricane Sandy.

The Coney Island state assemblywoman, Pamela Harris, took to the media to explain her situation after "hurtful insinuations" were published regarding the couple's bankruptcy debts. It's been reported that they owe hundreds of thousands to their mortgage holder and other creditors, including $30,000 in delinquent taxes.

She wrote in an open letter, "I never intended to burden the public with the details of my private battles; however, in light of the recent attacks...I felt compelled to ensure Brooklyn's residents were aware of both sides of the story."

Harris was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. Complications from three surgeries, including a mastectomy, left her with an extended illness, she said.

In 2012, she wrote in an open letter, her husband suffered a serious injury on his job as a boiler mechanic. Therefore, he was unable to work.

That fall, Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the eastern seaboard, including Coney Island. Harris says the storm destroyed their home.

Although Harris called their decision to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy a "difficult" one, she said they are making the payments required under the restructuring plan. The company that holds the mortgage on the couple's home, however, says that they aren't making the payments they agreed to make under their Chapter 13 bankruptcy restructuring plan. It has asked the court to end the Harrises' bankruptcy agreement so that it can re-start collection proceedings. That could lead to foreclosure.

Harris has also been facing questions regarding the couple's home and whether she and her husband improperly received money from her non-profit organization, which listed her home address. The couple has denied that.

Harris expressed the feelings of many others in similar situations, when she wrote, "I, like so many of you, fell on hard times, and I, like so many of you, refused to give up on my family or my community."

When New Yorkers consider personal bankruptcy, it's essential to determine which type is best for you and to adhere to the terms of the bankruptcy agreement. A bankruptcy attorney can guide you through the process.

Source: New York Daily News, "Brooklyn assemblywoman blames Hurricane Sandy and health concerns for her bankruptcy," Kenneth Lovett, Aug. 02, 2016

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