Disclosures show Esty rich, Greenberg richer
Washington – Mark Greenberg, a Republican vying for the 5th District congressional seat, has paid a $610,000 judgment leveled against him by a Canadian court for a real estate dispute and Rep. Elizabeth Esty, his Democratic rival, received between $30,000 and $100,000 from her interest in a family owned Iowa tool and die company last year.
That is some of the personal financial information reported by Greenberg and Esty in filings to the House Clerk’s Office.
Members of Congress and their challengers are only required to report their wealth and liabilities in broad ranges. It’s therefore impossible to precisely determine how much value their assets are worth, or have gained or lost from year to year.
But the reports show Esty is wealthy and Greenberg much more so.
Greenberg’s latest report, which covered the time period from Jan. 1, 2013 to April 30, 2014, show the Litchfield businessman owns interests in dozens of properties, located mostly in Connecticut and New York, and also has interests in a Cessna Citation Bravo aircraft and a dog kennel valued at between $500,000 and $1 million.
Other Greenberg properties were valued at between $50 million and more than $300 million.
Greenberg’s disclosure forms show he and his wife owed a court judgment to Shanghai Realty Estate Limited, a Chinese real estate company. Court documents show the couple fought the $600,000 judgment for years, but paid it in March, with an additional $10,000 in interest.
The judgment was the result of a civil suit in a Canadian court over a resort property in British Columbia. The Greenberg’s signed a contract to buy a house from Shanghai Real Estate in August 21, 2008, but backed out of the sale saying certain repairs had not been completed in time. The Greenbergs sued Shanghai Real Estate for the return of a $100,000 deposit on the property.
But a Canadian appelate court sided with Shanghai Real Estate which had countersued, claiming the Greenberg’s decision to not follow through on the purchase of the property cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars when the house was put back on the market at a much lower price during the real estate slump.
At one point Greenberg’s attorney argued a Connecticut court should not enforce a foreign civil judgment, but a state court in Litchfield rejected that argument.
The Greenberg campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the case, nor did the Greenberg’s attorney, David Burke of Cramer & Anderson LLP in Danbury.
Greenberg also listed several mortgages on various properties among his liabilities, including a mortgage on his home valued at between $1 million and $5 million. He also listed tax liabilities on his businesses in the range of between $25 million and $50 million.
Esty requested and received an extension from the May 15 deadline to file her latest financial disclosure report. Submitted on June 12, Esty’s report shows the lawmaker and her husband own dozens of mutual fund, bond and other investment accounts that earned between $31,000 and $113,000 in dividends last year. The top range of the value of these funds was more than $5 million.
Esty also reported a pension fund valued at from $15,000 and $50,000 from Sidley Austin. She once worked for the Washington D.C.-based law and lobbying firm.
She also reported income in the amount of between $30,000 and $100,000 for from her interest in a family tool and die company called Deco Products in Decorah, Iowa.
Greenberg has been using some of his personal wealth to fund his campaign. An analysis by the Washington Times, shows that the number of self-funded candidates rose from 78 in 1990 to 223 in 2010 and 193 in 2012. In previous decades, the partisan split was equal, the newspaper said, but the recent rise of self-funded candidates has been fueled almost entirely by wealthy Republicans.
Incumbents are also getting richer, and disparity in wealth between Republican lawmakers, who tended to have more money, and Democrats has largely disappeared, says the Center for Responsive Politics.
The center also says the median net worth for the 530 lawmakers who were in Congress as of the May filing deadline for financial disclosures was $1,008,767 — an increase from the previous year when it was $966,000.
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