Credit cards

Portland City Commissioner Hardesty sued over unpaid credit cards

The Portland City Commissioner said the bills dated back to her tenure in 2018 and she intended to reimburse Bank of America

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty is being sued for more than $16,000 in unpaid credit card bills, according to court documents recently filed in Multnomah County Court.

Bank of America sued Hardesty in late November, claiming two of its credit card accounts were in default. A lawyer for the bank wrote in a court filing that Hardesty owed $11,344.36 on one account and $4,707.18 on another, for a total of $16,051.54.

Hardesty was served trial Dec. 1 in Portland.

In a written statement, Hardesty said she intended to pay the bank the money she owed.

“When I ran for city council in 2018, like many working people, I was credit card dependent and had racked up debt. I live alone, without help, and I devote myself entirely to my work at the City, ”said Hardesty. “Sometimes that means I neglect to take care of my personal business. I have already tried to work out a payment plan with this debt which has not worked out and I intend to pay it off.

A Bank of America lawyer contacted Hardesty at least a month before filing the lawsuit asking it to pay the outstanding balance of its accounts, but later wrote in court documents that it “failed or refused to pay the balance due”.

She has 30 days to respond in writing to the court or will lose by default. Court records from Tuesday afternoon indicate that she has yet to file a response.

Lawsuits like this are not uncommon, according to Doug Ricks, a bankruptcy attorney who is not involved in the Hardesty case.

Ricks explained that policies differ from bank to bank, but banks generally try to work with defaulting customers before resorting to legal action. He said it’s typical that an account could be in default for six months or more before a bank takes legal action. He called the lawsuit a “garden variety” debt lawsuit.

Hardesty did not specify what steps it took with the bank to negotiate a payment plan.

She will earn $127,712 this year as city commissioner, according to a city database.

A similar search of court documents for other members of the Portland City Council did not reveal any lawsuits from creditors for other city commissioners.

Hardesty also filed an unrelated lawsuit this week against the union that represents Portland police officers. She is seeking $3 million from the union and $1 million each from two officers who she says leaked false information falsely claiming she was involved in a hit-and-run accident last March. The city of Portland has also been named as a defendant in this lawsuit, with Hardesty seeking a single dollar from the city and an admission of wrongdoing.

RELATED: Lawsuit: Jo Ann Hardesty sues Portland police union for leaking false hit-and-run charge

Hardesty is currently seeking his second term on city council. On December 2, her campaign announced that she qualified for public funding in this election.

Hardesty said he raised $102,814 for his campaign in 2021. Of that total, $61,536 came from a state-funded donation-matching program, according to state election records.

The city’s open and accountable election program allows qualified candidates to earn a 6-to-1 match on donations between $5 and $50 they receive from Portland residents. In return, candidates should not accept money from political action committees or individual donations over $250.

His campaign received the money from the city on December 8. Under Oregon law, campaign money cannot be used for personal expenses.

Three other candidates have come forward to run against Hardesty, although only two have registered campaign finance accounts to raise money for their races.