Mayoral Challenger Hughes' Loses House to Foreclosure
By Rick Smith, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Lone mayoral challenger Greg Hughes — whose campaign message has focused on what he says are the big spenders and heavy taxers at City Hall — is losing his house to foreclosure and a sheriff's sale.
The light blue-colored, two-story at 1202 36th St. SE, where Hughes has lived since boyhood, will be sold to satisfy debts at a Linn County Sheriff’s sale on Dec. 10. The foreclosure was finalized in Linn County District Court in July.
Notice of the sale, which was published in Tuesday’s legal notices in The Gazette, lists a debt judgment against the 56-year-old Hughes of $114,135.
Hughes on Tuesday called the move to let his house go a "strategic" one designed, in part, so he does not have to pay two people back to whom he owes money, he said.
He said he also intends to sue two different judges whom he said inappropriately shackled him with debts based on two loans that someone else should have paid off.
As for the possibility of a bank losing money on his house or his debts, Hughes said, "We don’t feel sorry for the banks. Look at the bailouts they got. … They have insurance for this kind of stuff."
Hughes, who is a 38-year employee at the Quaker Co. plant in Cedar Rapids, said two divorces, the most recent a decade ago, have contributed to his financial problems. There’s been child support and college costs, said Hughes, who has been an advocate for fathers' rights.
"It’s meant to break you," he said of divorce when, like his second divorce, it involves a contested court case.
Hughes was granted a personal bankruptcy in October 2012 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Iowa, he said and court records confirmed.
He said his own financial story is not an uncommon one, and he said it won’t hurt his effort to unseat incumbent Mayor Ron Corbett at the polls next Tuesday.
"They’re tired of spending money (at City Hall)," he said voters tell him as he campaigns. "I think too many people are just upset."
Hughes said he’s "not ashamed" of the foreclosure of his house now and of his bankruptcy a year ago.
"I just did what I had to do," he said. "… Just like anybody else."
Mayor Corbett on Tuesday didn’t disagree.
"A lot of people find themselves in financial hard times," Corbett said. "Oftentimes, it’s no fault of their own. I just wish him the best luck as he tries to get back on his feet."
Hughes said he’s likely to rent an apartment after the December sheriff’s sale of his house, which he said he’s lived in for 47 of his 56 years. The City Assessor’s Office values the house at $132,082.
"There’s a lot of memories there," he said.
He said his longer-range plans, after he serves as mayor, include a move to Costa Rica.
Hughes ran without major party affiliation in 2012 for Congress and in 2010 for governor. In both races he won only a tiny percentage of the vote.
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