U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite's financial net worth drops

The implosion of the U.S. financial markets in 2008 cost investors thousands, if not millions, of dollars.

U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite is one of them.

The Brooksville Republican's net worth decreased significantly, according to recently released financial disclosure forms.

She listed assets in 2008 valued between $330,000 and $1.3 million. The year before, she estimated her worth between $873,000 and $2.7 million, records show, ranking her 171st wealthiest in the House. (Members of Congress are only required to list a range of value, not the actual value.)

"I think every American who has any kind of a retirement account or has real property realizes how much it has dropped in value," Brown-Waite said Monday. "I think every American is frustrated. I am no different. I didn't make money in Congress. I didn't make money while the economy was struggling."

The defensive tone in her voice reflected her response to the swirling controversy involving her purchase of bank stocks amid the financial bailout while serving as a member of the committee overseeing the bank industry.

But her net worth didn't decline as much as the figures suggest; a change in the way her office reported real estate holdings is partially responsible.

Not included in the latest disclosure form is a piece of property she owns on Cherokee Lake in Tennessee valued in 2007 between $250,000 and $500,000.

Brown-Waite said House rules do not require her to note property or mortgages that do not produce income. She said she over-reported in previous years.

Another valuable asset not included — and not required — in either form is her primary residence on Spring Lake Highway, valued at $413,000. With real estate included, her net worth could reach $2.2 million.

The disclosure forms reflect that Brown-Waite sold a third piece of property on Drake Lane in Spring Hill in January 2008.

She bought the Hartland Homes house from her daughter in September 2007 for $150,000 and four months later sold it for $169,900, which is about $10,000 more than the assessed value, county records show.

Brown-Waite said she and her husband did remodeling and landscaping to increase the value but didn't make a profit after the real estate company took a 6 percent cut.

"We spent money and sweat equity doing that," she said.

Her net worth also does not include the $34,000 in pension payments she received in 2008, nor the estimated $3,000 to $16,500 in unearned income from investments, records show.

The form also reflects she sold her 1959 MG, a collector car, for $5,000 to $15,000. In 2007, she listed the value between $15,001 and $50,000.

She said that when her husband, Harvey Waite, died last year, she decided to sell it.

"Because my husband was the mechanic," she said. "If you have a British car, you need a live-in mechanic."

John Frank can be reached at jfrank@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6114.

U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite's financial net worth drops 06/29/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 29, 2009 9:37pm]

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