Santa Fe County sheriff candidate Manny Anaya and his wife filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2014, but a trustee for the federal government said the couple was abusing the system because they made too much money, and were claiming “excessive and unreasonable expenses,” like a Harley Davidson motorcycle payment. It was the third time the couple had filed for bankruptcy in an 11-year span after twice filing for bankruptcy in 2003.
When asked about the 2014 filing, and the claim that he and his wife were abusing the process, Anaya said he doesn’t have any recollection of the case beyond that it was settled. He said he didn’t think it was too much of a big deal that a sheriff candidate filed for bankruptcy.
“I really don’t want to say anything to that because I don’t remember the details,” Anaya told the Journal. “Donald Trump filed (for bankruptcy) 10 times. I don’t understand the relevance of it. The sheriff doesn’t handle money himself.” (Trump companies actually filed for bankruptcy six times.)
Federal Bankruptcy Judge Robert Jacobvitz dismissed the case in April 2015 because the Anayas agreed to drop it, according to court filings.
“It was discharged,” Anaya told the Journal. “We didn’t go through with it. We sought a different way to handle our finances.”
The Anayas’ Chapter 7 petition filed in January 2014 says their debts were primarily consumer debts that were “incurred by an individual for a personal, family, or household purpose.”
U. S. Trustee Leonard Martinez-Metzgar filed a motion in April 2014 that asked the judge to dismiss the case “based on the presumption of abuse” under the bankruptcy code.
“Debtors have listed various excessive and unreasonable expenses in their Schedule J,” the motion states. “The major expenses include a Harley Davidson motorcycle payment of $294; a trailer payment of $158.20; and the mobile home payment of $1,206.86. The elimination of these expenses will not affect the Debtors’ ability to provide for adequate food, clothing and other necessities … .”
The Anayas’ petition says the mobile home is in Los Ojos and is not their primary residence, which is in Santa Fe.
The Anayas also listed their median family income at $134,304 a year and $11,192 a month. “This exceeds the applicable median family income for a family of six in New Mexico of $71,384,” Martinez-Metzgar wrote.
The trustee also cited case law saying that bankruptcy relief “is not intended to remedy the consequences of extravagant spending.”
The motion to dismiss also says that the Anayas had been inconsistent in reporting how many people were living in their household. In their petition, the Anayas claimed they had a family of six, but on their 2012 tax return, they had claimed a household of four, the trustee’s motion stated.
Either way, the trustee says they still made too much money. “Under both scenarios, there is enough disposable income to create a presumption of abuse,” the motion states.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy would allow a trustee to sell off assets to pay creditors.
The Anayas filed a response that disputed much of Martinez-Metzgar’s motion, including the trustee’s assertion that their motorcycle, trailer and mobile home payments were excessive and unreasonable expenses. The Anayas also said they reported more household members in their bankruptcy filing because their dependent daughter was expecting a child, but they didn’t explain why the number went up by two instead of one.
During a recent interview, Anaya said he had never seen the motion that said he and his wife were abusing the process. “This is news to me,” he said. “I don’t remember those documents at all.” He also said he sold the motorcycle two or three years ago.
The Anayas were discharged from a Chapter 7 bankruptcy they filed in 2003 and were dismissed from a Chapter 13 bankruptcy the same year on their own motion, but none of the documents in those cases can be viewed online. Anaya told the Journal that the security business he was running at the time went under and caused the family financial hardship.
“I got into a jam because of my business,” Anaya said. “My vendors didn’t pay me and raised my debt.”