Eye On Boise

Candidate files for bankruptcy

An early announced candidate for governor of Idaho on the GOP ticket has filed for bankruptcy for his development business, according to the Associated Press, and is trying to sell properties in Wyoming to cover his debts. According to the AP report, which originated with the Rexburg Standard-Journal, Rammell owes $747,585. Rammell told the newspaper his finances are so dire, he could eventually lose his family home in Rexburg. "Which begs the question: Who in their right mind would run to be the governor of Idaho when their financial situation is in such distress?" he said. "My answer is that I only know of one guy that would do it — it's me." Rammell also said if he loses this race, he'll stop running for office. Click below to read the full report from AP.

Rammell aims to sell home, condos amid bankruptcy

REXBURG, Idaho (AP) — Rex Rammell, a Republican gubernatorial candidate for 2010, has sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for his development business and is trying to sell properties in neighboring Wyoming to cover debts.

According to U.S. Bankruptcy Court documents filed May 27, Rammell's company, Chief Joseph, Idaho LLC, aims to sell one "spec home" for $1.3 million and an unfinished four-unit condominium for $1 million. The home and the condominiums are located in Jackson, Wyo.

Court documents from Jan. 9, when the bankruptcy petition was filed, indicated Chief Joseph owes unsecured creditors including architects and builders about $600,000. Lenders also say he hasn't repaid loans that now total about $750,000.

Rammell, a veterinarian and former elk rancher who ran unsuccessfully as an independent in the 2008 U.S. Senate race won by Republican Jim Risch, told the Rexburg Standard-Journal newspaper the dour housing market left him unable to sell the home. Meanwhile, he said the collapse of his lender, Arkansas National Bank, left him without adequate cash to complete the condominiums.

"Both projects were moving along and I was running for the United States Senate," he told the newspaper. "Then in May of 2008, right in the middle of my Senate campaign, the FDIC called us up and said that ANB was bankrupt."

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. closed ANB Financial National Association banks in May 2008 after discovering "unsafe and unsound" business practices there, according to the federal regulator.

When that happened, Rammell said, the federal regulator cut off his financing. He insists in court documents that he could have otherwise finished the condominiums, sold them, then paid off the debt or converted it to long-term financing.

"It killed the project," he said.

According to court documents filed in early May, Rammell still owes the bank $747,585 — the unpaid principal balance of $691,855, plus interest of $55,492.

Rammell's latest proposed Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan requires him to sell both properties by Nov. 1, 2009.

If he can't, the lender could foreclose.

Rammell told the newspaper his finances are so dire, he could eventually lose his family home in Rexburg.

"Which begs the question: Who in their right mind would run to be the governor of Idaho when their financial situation is in such distress?" he said. "My answer is that I only know of one guy that would do it — it's me."

Rammell, who also run unsuccessfully for the state Legislature in 2002 and 2004, pledged to bow out of politics once and for all if he loses the May 2010 gubernatorial primary. The seat is currently held by Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, who is raising money to run again, but hasn't formally declared his candidacy.

"I see this as my last chance," Rammell said. "If I lose this, then the era of Rammell in politics will come to an end. All Idaho has to do is send me a message that I am not the right guy and I will gracefully bow out."




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