Wake school board candidate was ordered to pay back debts

kjahner@newsobserver.comOctober 4, 2013 

— Documents that have surfaced just days before the election show Wake County school board candidate Monika Johnson-Hostler was ordered by a court to pay a five-figure credit card debt three years ago.

Wake County District Court Judge Lori Christian ruled in August 2010 that Johnson-Hostler must pay back nearly $14,000 to American Express. Court documents obtained by The News & Observer on Friday included a writ of execution ordering payment of $13,973 in principal, along with interest and court costs that drove the total to nearly $18,000.

Veronica Shingleton, Johnson-Hostler’s campaign manager, acknowledged the judgment but questioned the timing of the information’s release four days before Tuesday’s school board election.

“The recession hit (Johnson-Hostler and her family) hard like it did for a lot of families,” Shingleton said. “To me, it’s interesting that this is coming out days before the election, and it’s disappointing; this had been such a positive race.”

Matt Scruggs, Johnson-Hostler’s opponent, said his campaign did not release the information.

A letter from Johnson-Hostler dated April 2010 said she didn’t know why her monthly payment of $105 from her bank account was no longer being automatically withdrawn. In her letter to the attorney for American Express, she offered to set up a new payment plan.

“They have been working hard to pay their debt,” Shingleton said. “They have been repaying as agreed to with the court on time since the judgment.”

Johnson Hostler, 38, a Democrat, is executive director of the N.C. Coalition Against Sexual Assault. She faces Scruggs, a Republican, for the District 2 seat on the school board. The district stretches from Fuquay-Varina, through Garner and into Southeast Raleigh and Knightdale.

Scruggs, 33, a commercial sales manager at an auto-parts store, said he wasn’t aware of the court judgment until being told by a reporter Friday.

“I don’t know enough about it to be able to comment,” he said.

A similar late release of documents took place in 2011 when The N&O received a copy of a bankruptcy filing for Republican school board candidate Heather Losurdo. Questions about Losurdo’s financial history and her prior work in a New Orleans gentlemen’s club where she said she was a waitress, helped derail her campaign.

Jahner: 919-829-4822; Twitter: @garnercleveland

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