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Senate candidate Marco Rubio in foreclosure tangle over Tallahassee property

TALLAHASSEE — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio is again answering questions about troubles with his personal finances after a bank sought to foreclose on a Tallahassee home he owns with another Miami lawmaker.

Rubio and David Rivera, the House budget chairman who is running for Congress in Miami, failed to make payments for five months, prompting Deutsche Bank to seek full payment and fees totalling $136,000 in a civil lawsuit filed Monday.

A spokesman for Rubio's campaign said "a clarification was needed on the amount owed, which has been resolved." Rivera hand-delivered a $9,525 cashier's check Thursday to the mortgage company's lawyers to cover missed payments and fees.

"There is no foreclosure," Rivera said Friday. "The mortgage is paid and up to date."

Leon County court records don't yet indicate the payment was made and the case remains open. Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos provided a letter acknowledging the payment, which was made a day after the homeowners were told of the foreclosure filing.

The lawsuit may renew criticism over Rubio's personal finances, a problem that has plagued him for years.

As House speaker, Rubio faced questions about his failure to disclose a $135,000 home-equity loan from a bank controlled by his political supporters. He also charged $16,000 in personal expenses, including a $135 expense at a Miami salon, on a state Republican Party credit card. Earlier this year, he refunded nearly $3,000 for flights he double-billed to taxpayers and the party after it was discovered by the Times/Herald.

Rubio and Rivera bought the 1,228-square-foot home 6 miles from the Statehouse for $135,000 in 2005 as a place to live during their legislative tenure. It now sits empty with a real estate sale sign in the front yard.

An adjustable rate mortgage, initially through GMAC, called for interest-only payments until April. The homeowners stopped making payments in February after a dispute about the amount once the interest-only period ended. Burgos said the home is under contract for sale and the agreement will allow it to continue.

John Frank can be reached at jfrank@sptimes.com or (850) 224-7263.

Senate candidate Marco Rubio in foreclosure tangle over Tallahassee property 06/18/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 18, 2010 11:31pm]
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