Congresswoman's Financial Report: This Won't Be Pretty.

Lakers superfan Jack Nicholson can't seem to pick a winner -- off the court, at least.
Lakers superfan Jack Nicholson can't seem to pick a winner -- off the court, at least. (By Kevork Djansezian -- Associated Press)
  Enlarge Photo    
By Mary Ann Akers And Paul Kane
Thursday, June 12, 2008

We may learn more about Rep. Laura Richardson's (D-Calif.) home foreclosure problems Monday, when House members' annual financial reports are scheduled to be released.

Richardson filed her report on time rather than seeking an extension, her spokesman, William Marshall, tells On the Hill. But Marshall says he can "neither confirm nor deny" whether the disclosure report will reflect the full extent of the beleaguered congresswoman's financial woes, which include foreclosure on one home and loan defaults on two others.

Marshall declined to answer questions about how Richardson, who won a special election last August, wound up in such dire straits. She lost her Sacramento home to foreclosure after failing to make payments, at the same time that she reportedly owed Sacramento County some $9,000 in property taxes and defaulted on loans six times on two other California homes.

In the meantime, however, Richardson rose in one year from Long Beach councilwoman to state assemblywoman to a member of the U.S. Congress.

According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, Richardson also failed to pay hundreds of dollars worth of car repairs to one mechanic, then ultimately abandoned the car at another auto body shop.

Yesterday, the story took a new twist. The Los Angeles Times reported that the home Richardson lost in foreclosure could be returned to her, because the lender, Washington Mutual, filed a letter of rescission of the foreclosure sale and asked the new owner for the keys back.

"They took the property back, and they didn't even send back the money," the new owner, real estate investor James York, told the Times. "It's clear what's happening is Ms. Richardson is abusing her political power and using it for her own political needs," he said. "You don't have to be smart to understand what's happening."

Richardson isn't saying anything. Referring to the congresswoman's lender, her spokesman told us, "This is about Washington Mutual." He urged us to call Washington Mutual for comment. But a Washington Mutual spokeswoman told us she couldn't comment on the foreclosure sale because Congresswoman Richardson "has not provided us with authorization to publicly discuss her loan."

The left-leaning watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington calls Richardson a "deadbeat congresswoman."

He Can't Handle the Truth

Jack Nicholson may be the king of cool. He's won Oscars, dated Hollywood starlets and sat courtside as his favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers, has captured multiple NBA championships.

But when it comes to politics, Nicholson may want to ponder his very own losing streak: He tends to back also-rans in Democratic presidential primary contests.

Take this year's battle for the Democratic nomination. Nicholson's first choice was none other than Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio). On Jan. 10, Nicholson cut a $500 check to Kucinich's presidential campaign -- barely a week before the diminutive lawmaker bowed out of the race and high-tailed it back to Cleveland to fight for his House seat. According to Federal Election Commission records, Nicholson then sent another $500 to Kucinich's congressional campaign, helping him win the primary there.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2008 The Washington Post Company