Joseph Citro chose home, business and political career over paying off debt

TAMPA — Town Council chairperson Joseph Citro had three desires he was unwilling to give up when he strike a monetary tough patch: dwelling on Bayshore Boulevard, proudly owning his have business enterprise and running for political office environment.

The price tag of individuals dreams was a lawsuit filed by Bank of The usa to acquire on about $20,000 in unpaid credit history card personal debt and, at some point, the garnishing of his council salary.

Though the 2019 lawsuit has been community document due to the fact shortly in advance of his election to City Council on his fourth try, it arrived to light-weight not long ago as his reelection marketing campaign heated up.

He stated 3 different drinking water leaks sprung in his condo at 4015 Bayshore Blvd. in 2015, triggering him to have to undertake main transforming of the 700-sq.-foot device to get rid of mildew and water problems. It took a number of decades to get an somewhere around $45,000 insurance policies payout, about the price of the remodel, he stated. He did not shift back again into the unit until late 2018 or 2019.

In the meantime, he ran up credit score card financial debt with Bank of The us to pay for a $1,000-a-month rental residence and to hold Studio B, his Midtown hair salon, afloat.

“Things bought tight,” Citro mentioned. “I had to start off living off credit history cards.”

His economical troubles didn’t deter him from launching his fourth bid for City Council in late 2017. A month just before he was elected, Financial institution of America filed accommodate in Hillsborough County Circuit Court docket to collect the financial debt, expressing he had failed to make payments.

Due to the fact December 2021, his council income has been garnished. As of Dec. 30, $11,325 had been withheld from his council paychecks, city documents reveal. His Dec. 30 paycheck had $408 garnished, like a $2 processing charge.

Citro claimed he has about $5,000 left to shell out off.

Citro claimed he made the aware preference not to spend down his credit rating card financial debt or declare individual bankruptcy. To do so, he claimed, would have endangered his company, the condo repairs and his political ambitions.

The coronavirus pandemic, which pressured his salon to shut down for two months, just exacerbated his woes. And his makes an attempt to operate out some form of payment strategy on the personal debt unsuccessful, he explained.

“I could have walked away and submitted bankruptcy. Which is not me,” Citro explained in an job interview Tuesday.

Citro explained he spent a “few grand” on his 2019 campaign and helps make no apologies for it. Campaign finance information display he gave $1,000 to his marketing campaign.

I had to comply with my dream,” he stated.

His fiscal woes surfaced previously this week in a Inventive Loafing tale.

Citro stated he does not assume the information will harm his chances for a next phrase in the citywide District 1 seat. So significantly, he faces 3 challengers: Sonja Brookins, Alan Clendenin and Chase Harrison.

“The public has found my record. The community knows the variety of individual I am. The public is aware the difficult get the job done it has taken me to get below. And the challenging perform that I will go on performing for the citizens of Tampa,” he stated.

Citro, 64, mentioned he requires duty for his selections.

“I’m not blaming just about anything or any one,” he mentioned. “This was just negative luck right after bad luck just after undesirable luck. It was just a sequence of situations.”