Former Democratic lawmaker files for bankruptcy protection

jfrank@newsobserver.comJanuary 8, 2014 

A former state lawmaker and Democratic candidate for governor has filed for bankruptcy protection.

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing will allow Bill Faison, a personal injury attorney, to restructure debt related to his Durham law firm, Faison and Gillespie.

In an interview, Faison said he expects to pay in full his debts, which are listed at more than $7.1 million. The Jan. 3 filing lists his assets at $9.4 million, including his family farm, a lake house, other real estate holdings, six cars, two motorcycles and two boats.

“I can get it all paid,” he said.

Faison represented Orange and Caswell counties in the state House for four terms before making a bid for the Democratic Party nomination for governor in 2012. He came in a distant third in the party primary.

The majority of the loans came from banks to underwrite his law firm, and he is the guarantor. He said the lines of credit “smoothed out the peaks and valleys of cash flow” to his law firm.

But the current atmosphere is making it difficult for the firm to pay back the loan on time. The firm is facing major setbacks, he said, related to the economic downturn and a Republican-led effort to put caps on medical malpractice claims in 2011. The new lawsuit limitations “hurt business a great deal,” he said.

A portion of Faison’s assets remain tied up in civil court in a divorce claim filed by his ex-wife, Lindy Creech Faison, court records show.

Faison, who has three sons ages 19 to 24 living with him, indicates in the bankruptcy filing that he intends to retire, in part or in full, from his law practice July 1.

Claim likely against consultant

The court documents also indicate that Faison may file a legal claim against Jeanne Milliken Bonds, a Democratic political consultant and business partner.

Faison and Bonds, a former Knightdale mayor, planned to launch a political television show that never materialized under a company named Live Wire Media, formed shortly after the Democratic gubernatorial primary in May 2012.

Faison refused to comment about the Live Wire arrangement or his relationship with Bonds, saying it was part of the pending litigation. Bonds consulted for Faison during his gubernatorial campaign.

But Bonds said that she hasn’t seen Faison in months and that Live Wire never came to fruition. “Because no business agreement was reached between the members of LiveWire, no television show was produced, no business was conducted, and the members agreed the LLC should be dissolved,” she said.

Bonds said each put $5,000 toward the company, which purchased furniture and a logo. The bank balance is $3,400.

Frank: 919-829-4698

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