CTCapitolReport has provided a link to the Waterbury Rep-Am full article on the status of former Congressman Gary Franks and lets just say that the darling of the Republicans in the 90s is a disgrace.
Gary Franks was a real estate millionaire and Connecticut’s first black Republican in the U.S. House.
Yet, few knew he was quietly living on the Treasure Coast until October.
Now, Franks can’t be found.
After losing a Senate bid in 1998, Franks withdrew from his hometown of Waterbury, Conn., leaving a discreet trail of foreclosures, betrayed friends and debts exceeding $100,000 in three states.
Some of these debts are quite personal, such as a $35,000 loan from his childhood friend, or medical bills from the hospital that he credits with saving his life.
His debtors have tried to track him down, but public records show he and his wife, Donna, use variations of their legal names that make it almost impossible to follow his paper trail.
The Waterbury Republican-American has repeatedly attempted to talk with Franks, often through intermediaries such as family, friends and lawyers, but Franks has not responded.
Shortly after the newspaper tried to contact Franks in Port St. Lucie, the family announced it was leaving town, pulling Gary Jr. out of school in the middle of a semester.
Franks pulled Donna and their three children — Azia, Jessica and Gary Jr. — out of Waterbury shortly after losing his 1998 effort to unseat Sen. Christopher J. Dodd.
Their home sold in foreclosure to settle some of his outstanding debts.
He walked away from the properties owned by Rudo Group, the now defunct club of young black professionals he headed that had snapped up multi-family homes around the city.
Over the years, those properties, including his family’s house, have gone on the city’s auction block, sold for back taxes.
At the time he left, Franks owed a number of people money that he had called his dear friends, including childhood friend Rick Genua.
Franks still owes $35,500 to Genua, whom he called his best friend in his memoirs, and who eventually became his congressional chief of staff.
Court records show Genua mortgaged his home to help Franks in 1992. According to court records, Franks didn’t repay his debt beyond a single payment of $500.
A judge ruled in Genua’s favor in 1999, and put a lien on the Franks’ house, but it was sold in foreclosure to pay Franks’ other debts before Genua could collect, documents show.
The Franks racked up other debts, too. Their $1 million Maryland house, a swanky 4,000-square-foot spread with a pool — listed under one of Donna’s names — was sold at auction for unpaid tax debt. They were able to pay the tax debt and regain the house before title was transferred.
Court records show they have $70,000 in Maryland and federal tax debt outstanding.
In addition to Johns Hopkins, the hospital where Franks initially drove himself after the heart attack also is looking for him to collect unpaid bills, according to court records. Several retail companies are trying to find them, claiming in court they have unpaid bills.
Most former congressmen are easily found, turning political influence into work as a lobbyist, a lecturer or a hometown elder statesmen. They seem to miss the attention. Franks is different.
Frequent name changes make it difficult to follow him.
Sometimes, Franks goes by G.A. Franks. As a lobbyist, he used Gary Alvin. In Florida, he was often Alvin Franks. His wife uses a maiden name, Williams, or ex-husband’s name, Forrest.
Franks isn’t a member of the Former Members of Congress Association. Neither a successor, Rep. Christopher S. Murphy, nor his predecessor, Gov. John G. Rowland, know where he is.
“He’s gone, gone, gone,” Rowland said.
Like I said, Franks is a disgrace.