Pennsylvania 10th Congressional District Republican candidate Paul Swiderski had a patch of bad luck in 2006 resulting in his company filing for bankruptcy protection. He explained what happened in a post at the West Side Republican. Tip of the green eye shades to The Angry Republican for pointing it out and also comments on the statement. So does Right Winger.
Here is Swiderski's statement:
Against the wishes of my campaign committee, I wish to disclose to you my faults. The voters have a right to know the people who want to represent them. I am making it aware to all of you that I, like any other human being, am not perfect. What we normally have in campaigns are people who try to pretend to be perfect in all respects. I, as an average citizen and a Christian, do not believe in pretending to be someone who I am not. Such a feat can only lead to distrust.
Although 2006 started out well for my firm, it turned out to be a financially terrible year for my business when our area experienced flooding that was not expected. Many small businesses were impacted by this flood and had to close. I lost 43% of my business and had to reorganize. Part of the reorganization plan required that my company file for bankruptcy protection and close the company. Any and all existing clients were transferred to a new enterprise owned by me. I am letting the truth be known about this event because media spin may try to make me look like an incompetent accountant when this is not the case. Certainly, I know how to pay my bills on time, but when you lose 43% of your business there is no way to keep your company thriving. After losing such business, there just simply wasn’t enough revenue to meet business obligations.
There are many reasons for filing for bankruptcy other than financial mismanagement. One such reason is to prevent a law suit. Another reason is to allow a small business owner a “fresh start” due to mishandling of money. My situation was due to neither. I made the mistake of opening a small business out of necessity with very little capital (My wife took ill and I was laid off from my job while taking a leave of absence from work. My employer let me go, and I was denied unemployment. With no money coming in, I had to do something to make money, so I took whatever money I had left - $300 - and advertised that I did tax preparation). As the business grew, I kept investing whatever little money was left over to keep growing the business. After the flood of 2006 came, over half of my receivables became uncollectible. At the same time, my home had flood damage (I don’t live in a flood plain, so I was never required to have flood insurance, and my homeowners’ insurance didn’t cover the damage. I had to spend close to $10,000 replacing appliances, repairing my foundation, and taking care of mold remediation.).
Certainly, my company had financial obligations to meet, but when your revenue drops to the point that you can no longer meet those obligations, you have to cut back on costs to make an honest attempt at making those payments. A loss of 43% of revenue makes it difficult to do so. I had no other choice but to close that business. I live very modestly, so there wasn’t much room to cut back costs. My home is nothing to brag about, my wife and I don’t drive luxury cars, and my only school-age child goes to public school.
I am not proud of having to make the decision to close my company, but in order to protect whatever assets I had worked hard to earn I had no other choice. Any small business owner in my position would have made the same choice. A big business, however, can take a big hit and move on. Throughout this short period of time – even though money was tight - I still was able to and continue to make my personal monthly obligations on time.
Despite the fact that I had a horrible year in 2006, my clients still trust me to manage their books. Two of Donald Trump’s businesses filed for bankruptcy within the last ten years, and people continue to do business with him. Milton Hershey failed at business six times before starting his famous chocolate enterprise. Throughout his bad years, he had investors who believed in his ideas. People still shop at Kmart. The failure of a small business due to uncontrollable circumstances should not deter the owner from representing other small business owners in Congress. Rather, my experience is nothing more than a perfect example of the hardship of small business ownership which relates me more to the common entrepreneur in the 10th congressional district. If anyone should represent small business owners in government, it should be someone who can relate to them.
I have been open and honest with my clients about this incident, and I feel that the voters deserve to know the truth as well from the source. Part of my decision to run for is so that I can help prevent the loss of other small businesses.