Nathan Deal's finances have come into question once again as a federal judge re-examines his daughter and son-in-law's bankruptcy filing.
Deal, the Republican nominee in the gubernatorial race, came under fire after admitting he owed approximately $2 million by February for a failed business venture.
Deal and his wife Sandra guaranteed more than $2 million in loans for Wilder Outdoors, a sporting goods store started by their daughter Carrie and her husband Clint Wilder.
Although Deal listed himself in congressional disclosure forms as a partner in Wilder Outdoors, Deal's name did not appear on the Wilders' 2009 bankruptcy filing.
Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said the Wilders' bankruptcy filing has no effect on Deal or his campaign.
"He is not on the hook for any additional monies," Robinson said. "Carrie and Clint are private individuals who are not running for office. They do not deserve to be dragged through the mud like this."
Jimmy Allen, an accountant for Deal's campaign, said the fact that Deal is not included in the Wilders' bankruptcy shows that he did not intend to reclaim any of the money he invested in their business.
"Wilder Outdoors didn't file bankruptcy. This was a personal bankruptcy by Clint Wilder and Carrie, Deal's daughter," Allen said. "Nathan has no intention to collect the money back, can't collect the money back, so I don't see it to be a big issue personally."
Though he admitted he is not an expert.
"I'm not a bankruptcy attorney," Allen said.
There was no mention of Deal as either a partner or a guarantor of any business loan in the court filing. The Wilders listed themselves as 100 percent owners in the company and checked "none" for co-debtors.
According to the Associated Press, the lawyer who handled liquidation of the Wilders' assets on behalf of the government said Deal - as a guarantor for the loans - should have been listed in the filing.
"Mr. Deal was co-debtor on some of the obligations that the Wilders owned," said Atlanta lawyer Paul Rogers, who was appointed by the U.S. Trustee to liquidate the Wilders' assets.
As a co-debtor, Deal "could very well be liable for additional debts of the company," Rogers said, adding he could not say so with certainty without reviewing additional corporation and loan documents.
Deal's finances have been under intense scrutiny since details of the outstanding $2.3 million loan surfaced.
Allen has said Deal has more than enough assets to make good on the debt without filing for bankruptcy and is liquidating his individual retirement account to help pay the debt.
Deal has also maintained he will meet his obligations.
Bankruptcy experts told The Associated Press it appears Deal should have been listed on the Wilders' bankruptcy documents as a debtor.
Leon Jones, a bankruptcy expert with Atlanta-based Jones &
Walden, said he had little doubt that Deal should have been listed as a co-debtor.
"(T)here's no wiggle room - Deal should have been listed as co-debtor. You have to show that he owes (the bank) the money. That's cut and dried and they didn't do it," he said. "But sometimes innocent omissions happen."
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert E. Brizendine ordered the case reopened Monday after it was revealed that Clint Wilder had a previous bankruptcy in 2001. Bankruptcy laws bar anyone from filing for protection more than once within eight years, and the previous filing appears to make him ineligible to have the new debt discharged.
Brizendine was acting on an order from U.S. Trustee Donald Walton. A spokeswoman for the office of the U.S. Trustee declined comment.
The Wilders' attorney, Harmon T. Smith Jr., said Clint Wilder revealed his previous bankruptcy during the hearing into the bankruptcy - but mistakenly said it occurred in 1991 instead of 2001.