Kurt Lehmann, Delray City Commission candidate, facing five-figure claim from Chase
Lehmann says he has grown from financial problems
11:43 PM, Mar 1, 2013
12:00 AM, Mar 2, 2013
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - Delray Beach city commission candidate Kurt Lehmann is facing new financial worries.
For the third time since 2009, he is being sued by a credit card company for an amount well into the tens of thousands of dollars.
A collection agency for Chase bank is suing him for more than $42,000.
They say some of it is interest, but that most of it was on a balance transfer.
He has also been sued for $75,000 and for $20,000 by American Express and Chase, respectively.
He says his financial problems are nothing voters should be afraid of.
"I took my eye off the ball, " said Lehmann.
Voters will decide March 12th on who will win his three-way race for a commission seat.
He is running against Delray Beach firefighter Alexander Christopher and real estate agent Shelly Petrolia.
We asked him: "Can you understand people who would see this and say hmm, he's been sued two weeks before an election. I don't know if I can trust him with my money?"
His response: "I can see where that interpretation would come from. But I also understand people learn from their mistakes and that's how you grow."
In what he calls a series of bad luck, he says he was injured five years ago and that he lost his job.
The credit card debt piled up. That was just a few years after his dad died and when he got a DUI in St. Lucie County.
His house is still in foreclosure.
"I band-aided. I thought I was OK, you think you're OK. You falter. You say, oh this just isn't bothering you," said Lehmann. "It wasn't till a few years later that it really starts to creep up on you. I was going through a tough time."
But he says he fell in love with Delray Beach and got active in civic groups like the Delray Beach Young Professionals and the city's Chamber of Commerce.
Today, he's won the endorsement of major unions and his campaign launch party was attended by the mayor and other elected officials.
"I've been climbing out of it, building myself back up. I've never hid from any of this," said Lehmann.
NewsChannel 5 reached out to numerous elected officials for this story - including Delray Beach's mayor.
None wanted to comment.
One of his opponents, Shelly Petrolia said: "His financial problems are serious issues he has to answer for."