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Thu December 6, 2012
What The Ethics Commission Thinks It Has On Miami State Representative Erik Fresen
Questions are arising after a critical examination of State Rep. Erik Fresen's finances by the Florida Ethics Commission.
The panel says the Miami Republican misstated his debts and income for three years beginning in 2008 and it must now decide whether the discrepancies amount to campaign law violations.
Fresen defends himself vigorously in the Miami Herald's account of the commission's findings. He calls the allegations, which are related to a complicated foreclosure lawsuit, "a textbook political attack" orchestrated by the campaign of Amory Bodin, whom Fresen defeated to win re-election last month.
Fresen's financial disclosure statements are posted on the watchdog website of Integrity Florida.
From Herald reporter Mary Ellen Klas' unpacking of Fresen's mortgage predicament:
Prior to the Republican primary in August, the Herald reported that a mortgage company filed suit against Fresen after he failed to make payments in May 2008.
Fresen says the lender tried to double-bill him for $14,000 in property taxes on the house, taxes he said he paid at closing when he bought the house in 2006. (The home was actually purchased by Fresen's mother, who transferred the deed to Fresen and his wife a month later, records show.) He says the bank sued after he refused to pay the extra amount.
"They would not accept anything but the total amount," said Fresen, who calls the lawsuit a "legal nightmare." Fresen said in court papers that he tried to "cure" the default before the foreclosure suit was filed in 2008.
Not all of Fresen's financial issues are related to the foreclosure. He's also fighting a $10,000 lien on the property that resulted from code enforcement action related to an allegedly un-permitted fence around his swimming pool.
Fresen claims a net worth of $357,000.