TAMPA — City Council member Joseph Caetano, who represents North Tampa, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for his hair salon last month.
Court documents show the Bostonian Hair Studio owes creditors $179,116.
Caetano, who was elected for a first term on the council in March 2007, said he's disputing some of the claims. But he doesn't dispute that his business has been hurting in the tanking economy.
"The sales are down. Normally your clients are coming in every four to six weeks. Now it's six to eight to 10 weeks, and some you don't see at all," he said. "The economy is tough all over the world."
Caetano moved to Tampa from Boston in 1987 and opened the salon.
A 2006 tax return shows the salon had a loss of about $9,000.
Caetano also owned a coffee shop, Java Joe's, that he opened in 2006 and sold in August.
The Bostonian's debt includes $92,000 to J.C. Barnes, whom Caetano said loaned him money; $53,372 to landlord Pera City Plaza; $24,000 to Home Depot Credit Services; $7,744 to Yellow Books Sales; and $2,000 to Sam's Club, according to documents filed Nov. 24 in bankruptcy court.
Caetano earns about $40,000 a year in his part-time job as a City Council member. He frequently speaks out on behalf of policies and decision to help small businesses.
He owns a home in Tampa Palms valued at $583,296, another single-family home with an estimated market value of $156,866 and a condo worth $139,574, according to the Hillsborough County property appraiser.
Janet Zink can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3401.