MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - If politicians can't manage their own money, how they can they make decisions about hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money? That's what people are saying about Memphis City Councilwoman Janis Fullilove filing bankruptcy. She's the latest politician to file bankruptcy, but she's not the only one.
Memphis is desperate for money and is going through a big budget battle. At a time like this when every penny counts, residents are looking to politicians to solve the financial crisis.
Janis Fullilove is no stranger to controversy, from legal trouble, drunk driving charges, even the pole-dancing incident. But it's her financial trouble that's grabbing headlines right now.
Taxpayer Stanley Bernard said, "That's why I moved out of Memphis."
"I think they should take care of their house and bills before they are able to decide what to do with the city's," added Audry Smith.
Records show Fullilove owes $22,000 to the Internal Revenue Service, has $51,000 in unsecured debt, owes $18,000 in medical bills, and even owes a casino 500 bucks.
But Fullilove is not alone.
Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks filed bankruptcy in 2008. At the time she owed $77,000 in unsecured debt, including 2 large credit card bills: one for $10,000 and another for $19,000.
Then there's County Commissioner Chris Thomas. Last year also he filed for bankruptcy, owing First Tennessee $64,000 and Bank of America almost $20,000.
"Politicians are like regular citizens and they have problems and deal with them," noted Robert Spense.
"So long as politicians represent their constituents and not compromise their responsibility because of their personal problems, then we have to be somewhat understanding," said D'Army Bailey.
Truth is not many politicians want to chime in on this debate. City Councilman Edmund Ford's take on it is, "It's their business, I'll just leave it at that."
Fullilove didn't return ABC 24's phone calls. Brooks said there was nothing to talk about. Thomas said it was a bad time in his life, and he's moved on.