PLYMOUTH – The petitioning candidate running for mayor has issued a social media statement explaining how she and her husband came to file for bankruptcy 12 years ago.
Pattie DeHuff is a member of a local organization calling itself Citizens for Responsible Government, and she also sits on the Board of Finance. It was actually her husband Bill DeHuff who wrote his firsthand account of what led to the bankruptcy and posted it on her Facebook page Pattie’s Perspective on Plymouth.
“It has been brought to our attention that the Republicans plan on attacking Pattie by implying that she is somehow responsible for a bankruptcy that we were forced to file in 2006. So please let me tell you the story,” he wrote.
DeHuff described how he served in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam in 1969 when he was exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange. In the summer of 2003 he felt a pain in his chest, which an x-ray confirmed was cancer. The disease responded to chemotherapy and radiation but left him weak and suffering from a side effect of bursitis, which made it difficult for him to carry on with his wedding video business, “which had always been a struggle for me anyway.”
“Around this time, Pattie was attending a paralegal course at Naugatuck Valley Community College, and one day she came home and told me that her professor had talked about how bankruptcy was designed for people in my situation. We had both been aware of the option of bankruptcy, but were both loath to do it, but I had started to take out cash advances from some of my credit cards to pay off others, so the death spiral had begun. With the encouragement of Pattie’s professor, we decided to we had do it,” DeHuff wrote.
“As it turned out, filing bankruptcy did provide the new lease on life that I needed,” he continued. “This was not Pattie’s fault - she has always been very fiscally responsible (she paid off her student loans three years ahead of schedule so that she would not enter marriage with any debt) and if she uses credit cards, she pays them off in full each month. But this period we went through has made Pattie more sympathetic to those who struggle financially.”
“I was cured of that cancer (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) but have been recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, another of the diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure. So please say a prayer for me if you are so inclined. Thank you,” he concluded.
Their bankruptcy petition was filed Oct. 14, 2005, in U.S. Bankruptcy Court District of Connecticut, Hartford Division. It showed the DeHuffs’ assets at that time totaling $190,868.93 in personal property, mostly from their house at 20 Lynn Ave., Terryville, two vehicles, a boat and trailer, and photography and video equipment.
Liabilities totaled $196,277.83, mostly from their mortgage and car loans, but also from other loans and credit cards. The mortgage was listed through USDA Rural Development. The loans included a $14,806.43 loan listed from the U.S. Department of Education.
They did not owe any property taxes at that time. Total combined monthly income was entered as $2,929, all from the video business, Sonlight Productions, as Pattie was listed as a full-time student. Total monthly expenditures were listed as $2,925.94.
“Because my cancer was considered by the VA to be service connected, all of my medical care was taken care of by the VA. My chemotherapy was done at the VA Hospital in West Haven and my radiation was done at Yale,” DeHuff said in a statement to The Bristol Press.
“Just an additional clarification - it was not the medical bills that caused the bankruptcy - it was because I was incapacitated by the cancer and the treatment that I could no longer service the debt that I already had,” he added.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.