It was reported in December that Jo Ann Hardesty, Portland City Commissioner, had been sued by credit card companies for unpaid or defaulted debt. The result of this lawsuit is now available. We now have the result of that lawsuit. If you guess Hardesty, who has worked hard to defund Portland Police, took personal accountability, showed up at court and worked out a payment plan for her defaulted credit card cards, then we have bad news.
Hardesty did not show up for court and claimed that she had “missed the notice” regarding the court date. The judge almost always issues default judgments in favor of the creditor when this happens. This is exactly what happened in Multnomah Circuit Court.
OregonLive reported this week that the judge entered an order of default judgment.
After Jo Ann Hardesty failed to appear in court to resolve the matter, a Multnomah County judge ruled in favor of Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. She must pay $16,000 to a credit card company for overdue fees and debts.
Circuit Judge Judith Matarazzo issued default instructions last week in a pair of Bank of America lawsuits that were filed in November. These lawsuits allege Hardesty had defaulted in two credit card accounts. Documents show.
According to court records and officials, Hardesty was approved by the judge for a lien of $4,900 in his first case on March 21. A further $11,700 penalty was imposed on Hardesty’s second case three days later.
Documents of the second lien did not appear in Oregon’s online court record system Tuesday because of a processing backlog, judicial clerk Matt Frederick told The Oregonian/OregonLive.
According to records, neither Hardesty nor her attorney appeared in court or filed written notices in these cases.
Hardesty stated in an email statement Tuesday that she intends to pay the bill and had reached out to Bank of America’s lawyers to set up a payment plan. She didn’t answer questions regarding why she hadn’t responded to either court case.
After the media attention and obvious backlash that Hardesty received, Portland’s local media could not ignore her or cover her up, she issued a statement a few more days later.
The Oregonian did a follow up on my personal $16,000 debt earlier this week. Today I made the initial payment and have been setting up regular deductions from wages to pay off the balance. I should have done more, even though I didn’t receive any notice. This was my error, and I accept full responsibility. This was my personal error and does not affect my official responsibilities. It is a shame that this is affecting our collective energy and focus on the great work we have done together in Portland Street Response, which was expanded citywide last week.
My campaign promise to employ an experienced finance director was fulfilled on day one. This will ensure that my office finances are well-managed and they have the expertise to oversee the bureaus. We were the only office in the commissioner’s house with this position at the time.
As commissioner, I have made it my priority to raise the voices of our communities. This will ensure that we are included in decisions and policies that affect our lives. I have learned from my mistakes and believe it will help me to be stronger. I will be open and honest, admit my mistakes, show up for Portland.
Like many Portlanders, my entire life has been spent working. It was difficult to live paycheck-to-paycheck for 60+ years before I became your commissioner. This is how I am no different from the vast majority Portlanders. After I was elected, I went back to work as your commissioner. I set aside my salary for my debt repayments and medical expenses.
Jo Ann Hardesty was 64 years old on October 20, 2021. Her salary as a city commissioner is over $100k annually. She is able to manage more financial stress than any Portland resident. She didn’t want. After watching all her personal failures on the nightly news, that’s the only conclusion you can draw.
In her statement, you can see that she assigns blame to a hazy financial director who has not appeared before the cameras to verify her claims. Hardesty claims that she has taken responsibility for the debts and set up regular payments deductions from her paycheck.
These are what we call garnishments in the legal and credit worlds. An involuntary deduction is, in other words. This is not a sign that a person takes responsibility. This is not a story she can spin. However, when all was said and done, she didn’t pay her debts. Now she has a garnishment on her salary. A career debtor is what we used to call it in the collections and credit industry.
Hardesty, a city councilor who earns a salary of north $127,000, lives in an East Portland apartment. Hardesty has not commented on why she hasn’t paid the debts.
It’s not worth noting her high-paying public salary with which Hardesty, 64, could have easily paid off these debts using a minimum amount of responsible budgeting. The claim that she was in debt while running for office is not supported by her written statement. An examination of her campaign contributions from 2017 through 2020, maintained at the Oregon Secretary of State’s website, shows she raised over half a million dollars for her campaign–$514,398.30, to be exact.
Hardesty’s claim that she was a working person who got into credit card debt leads to one of two conclusions. Either she illegally combined personal credit cards with campaign expenses or she didn’t have a job while campaigning which is contrary to her claim she is a “working person”.
A clear pattern of poor management emerges when one examines Hardesty’s past. Unpaid parking tickets, unpaid taxes, past lawsuits, allegations of substance abuse, and possibly a gambling problem are just a few of the many issues that Hardesty has. There are also accusations against her of being improprious as the head of the NAACP local chapter and of being involved in a hit-and-run accident. Although the Portland Police Bureau stated less than 24 hours following the accident that Hardesty was not a suspect in the incident, questions remain.
Her response was to accuse all those who were talking about her of being racist against the city’s only woman of color on its council, and to file lawsuits.
Following her Summer of Love, rumors circulated that she was inpatient drug rehab.
This was after a winter when she called the police on her Lyft driver. She was also accused of being in an accident that resulted in her driving into a hit-and-run.
Hardesty did not prove her innocence in the hit and run incident. Her cover story was made of tissue paper thin, and the investigation by the police into the incident was politically motivated.
The case was closed when the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), stated that Hardesty had been ruled out as a suspect in a hit-and-run accident on March 20,21.
It’s not exactly. Many people were curious about how deep the PPB had investigated the report, before they released their statement 18 hours after the news broke. According to the original complaint, an African American woman driving a late model four-door Toyota (or similar) in tan drove into another driver. She then fled the scene. Based on footage taken by traffic cameras about 20 blocks from the incident, subsequent media reports implicated another African American woman.
Hardesty addressed the claims at a press conference. It was a downright bizarre appearance. She claimed that she owned a car similar to that one and that she didn’t know its make or model. However, she stated that she had donated the car the night before to Volunteers of America and parked it in their lot just down the street from her apartment. She claimed that the title hadn’t been changed due to COVID–another excuse which made no sense.
When asked to prove that she had donated the vehicle, she could not find the documentation. She promised the reporters that she would get it to them as soon as possible.