Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon’s campaign has been pushing the issue of national energy policy this week, while a central narrative in McMahon’s rags to riches tale begins to come undone.
“When my husband and I first started our business we went bankrupt and we were forced to start over,” McMahon says in one of her earliest campaign ads.
Since she announced her candidacy more than a year ago, McMahon has talked about how she and her husband, Vince, went bankrupt when she was pregnant with her second child. The same day she was due in court her car broke down and she hitched a ride to the courthouse with the tow truck driver.
But a Sept. 2 article in The Daily Beast called into question just how many times McMahon and her husband Vince filed for bankruptcy.
“She was a stay-at-home mom with two little kids and Vince was working for his father, a small-time wrestling promoter, and having a hard time making a living. At one point, when they were living in Gaithersburg, Maryland, in the 1970s, they went bankrupt and briefly depended on food stamps,” Lloyd Grove, a contributor to The Daily Beast, wrote.
Ed Patru, McMahon’s communications director, said Tuesday that he didn’t even notice the inaccuracy the first time he read Grove’s article. It wasn’t until New London Day columnist David Collins pointed it out in his column Sunday that Patru took notice.
“It’s really simple – in ‘69/’70 they were a couple of poor kids, fresh out of college, who unexpectedly found themselves pregnant and later with a young baby boy. Vince worked at the rock quarry. They were saving S&H stamps, and they were – briefly – on food stamps. This was in Gaithersburg, Md.,” Patru said Tuesday.
“In 1976, whenever she was pregnant with their second child, Stephanie, they went bankrupt. This was in West Hartford.”
“There’s no grand scandal here,” Patru said. “They just happened to have two periods where they were hurting. One of them wasn’t particularly remarkable – many, many people struggle financially when they are young and just starting a family. The other was six years later, when they legitimately went bankrupt.”
“Linda McMahon needs to be clear about her bankruptcy,” Mindy Myers, Blumenthal’s campaign manager, said Wednesday. “Did she in fact walk away from a million dollars in debt? And was it because she and her husband gambled on a risky Evel Knievel stunt? The people of Connecticut ought to get answers and Linda McMahon needs to provide them.”
A passage in the Shaun Assael book “Sex, Lies and Headlocks” suggests that a risky investment promoting an event by Evel Knievel proceeded the McMahon bankruptcy.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Hartford has a record of McMahon’s bankruptcy filing, but the records are incomplete.