Gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal is reeling after a U.S. bankruptcy judge ordered the reopening of a 2009 bankruptcy filing by Deal’s daughter Carrie Deal Wilder and his son-in-law Clint Wilder.
A U.S. bankruptcy trustee sought to reopen the Wilders’ case after it was revealed that Clint Wilder was not eligible for a discharge of his debts, including those from the sporting goods store, because he did not divulge a prior bankruptcy in 2001.
A debtor must wait at least 8 years after having their debts discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy to file again. Failure to disclose a previous bankruptcy, as is alleged in the Wilder’s case can result in a bankruptcy discharge denial or a bankruptcy discharge that has been granted can be rescinded. Clint Wilder filed his first bankruptcy in November 2001 and then filed bankruptcy again in July 2009 just four months shy of the 8 year limit. But when Wilder was asked if he had filed bankruptcy within the last 8 years, he said that had not.
Could this be just an honest mistake? Perhaps, but even if the debtor honestly made a mistake in thinking he had not filed bankruptcy less than 8 years earlier that does not change the bankruptcy laws and will result in his 2009 bankruptcy discharge being rescinded. If the debtor’s 2009 bankruptcy discharge is rescinded, the debtor will be forced to repay those debts. And if it is determined that the debtor acted in bad faith when he failed to disclose his previous bankruptcy, the debtor could face sanctions or even a charge of bankruptcy fraud.