Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

The Westlake bankruptcy hit


I hate these stories. Dan “I don’t do policy” Bice reported on Saturday in a well-timed hit that state assembly candidate Dave Westlake once filed for bankruptcy and his home foreclosed upon. Bice loves these stories, of course. I think they’re disgusting cheap shots.

“I’ve been open about my bankruptcy, which resulted in us losing our home,” said Westlake, who now lives in Hartland. “They were incidents brought about by a junk lawsuit that was dismissed with prejudice at trial.

“Unfortunately, the fact that I had to defend myself from a frivolous lawsuit exhausted my family’s resources.”

Actually, Westlake makes no mention of his financial troubles on his resume or bio.

Records show Westlake was sued in August 2010 by his business partner in High IQ LLC, the Watertown printing services company that Westlake had run. Westlake had met the partner, Fawaad Khan, at the University of Chicago, where Westlake got an MBA.

Khan accused Westlake of mismanaging the company, draining the company’s resources while depriving Khan of his cut of profits and of access to the books. Westlake denied the allegations.

Just three months after the suit was filed — and before much had happened in the case — Wells Fargo went to court seeking the foreclosure on the $223,000 mortgage for Westlake’s Watertown home. The judge ruled in favor of the lender, and the property was sold at a sheriff’s sale in 2011 for $186,150.

While that was going on, Westlake and his wife filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Their debts were discharged in 2012.

Shortly thereafter, a Jefferson County judge granted a motion by Khan to dismiss his suit against Westlake because “the issues in this case were primarily resolved by bankruptcy proceedings.” Filings say the case was on hold while his bankruptcy was going on.

Bice could have gotten into the less-gossipy aspects of the story, the dispute between Khan and Westlake. His colleague did a superficial report back in 2010. That could have been far more revealing than whether or not someone filed bankruptcy after running a small business in a down economy.

Or Bice could report on the different policy positions and the endorsements for each candidate, the things we should be judging a candidate on, but that’s just not as juicy for his gossip column.

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