Senate candidate Chris Murphy faced foreclosure in 2007, hosted mortgage seminar one year later

Alexis Levinson | Political Reporter

Rep. Chris Murphy, the Democratic Senate candidate in Connecticut, was sued in 2007 for foreclosure after missing mortgage payments, but one year later he hosted a “Housing and Mortgage Education Seminar” for constituents.

The Hartford Courant reported Wednesday that Murphy was sued for foreclosure after failing to pay his mortgage two months after taking office. Murphy represented himself in court, and two months later the issue was cleared up and the charges were withdrawn.

“When Chris and Cathy [Holahan, whom Murphy married in the summer of 2007,] were starting out,” Murphy spokesperson Ben Marter explained to the Courant, “they were in the process of merging their finances and inadvertently missed a couple of mortgage payments. When they found out about it, they immediately got in contact with their bank and then paid it in full from their own funds.”

In March 2008, during the nationwide housing foreclosure crisis, Murphy held a seminar for constituents whose stated objective, according to Murphy’s congressional website, was to “help Connecticut residents learn how to go about getting a mortgage they can afford, or, for residents having trouble paying their mortgage, how to get help to allow them keep their home.”

Murphy sat on the panel alongside five people involved in the mortgage industry and real estate.

Murphy’s advisory panel featured Robert Kantor, a community development director at Fannie Mae, Timothy Coppage, vice president of housing development at the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, Julie Fagan, a Connecticut field office director at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Sharon McLaughlin Gowen of the Neighborhood Housing Services of Waterbury and Gregory R. Jones, a foreclosure counselor at McCue Mortgage Company.

“These forums were designed to facilitate a conversation between constituents and experts who could help,” explained Ben Marter, Murphy’s communications director. “Chris did these as a service to constituents during tough times.

A source present at the seminar said that Murphy’s role was to bring his constituents together with experts who could who could educate them on the topic and tell them about the resources available.

The source said the fact that Murphy had been sued for foreclosure did not come up and would not have been relevant.

Murphy is fighting an unexpectedly tough campaign against his Republican rival, former World Wrestling Entertainment executive Linda McMahon. Although Connecticut is a very blue state, recent polls show the two candidates almost tied, with some even showing McMahon leading by several points.

McMahon campaign communications director Todd Abrajano declined to comment directly on the seminar, but pointed to a press release questioning the circumstances surrounding the foreclosure suit, including the fact that he missed payments and was later able to secure a second mortgage at a low interest rate.

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