Quantcast

Riddle defends self, slams press for revealing his financial difficulties

Republican Norwalk Mayoral candidate Jonathan Riddle addresses the Republican Town Committee in July, shortly after being endorsed.

The 2021 Election is Nov. 2.

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Republicans’ lead candidate on next week’s ballot, a former finance executive who has never held elected office, was facing two financial lawsuits even before he won the endorsement for Mayor.

Now that the issue is out in the open, Jonathan Riddle claims the press is “politicizing” the information.

“I am personally disgusted that my family matters have become a part of this campaign while the focus should be on the issues Norwalk faces from the failures of the current administration, not personal family history. In the two weeks remaining before election day, I believe it is a great disservice to Norwalk by not focusing on the serious issues facing Norwalk. By doing so the press is shielding Harry from accountability and the failures of the past 8 years,” he wrote in an email to NancyOnNorwalk.

 

Riddle sued for loan default

Riddle was sued for defaulting on a partially paid off $20,000 personal loan in early July, two weeks before the nominating convention in which District D Republican John Romano lauded him for his “extremely strong background in finance.” Riddle was unopposed in seeking the Mayoral slot on the Republican slate.

In his press release, Riddle blames the default partially on his “uphill battle” against U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Greenwich) last fall, in a self-funded campaign.

“I believed in that campaign and mission wholeheartedly, as I took on a personal financial risk and personally guaranteed the loan to fund the start of my campaign,” Riddle wrote. “The campaign fully expected to raise funds in excess of that amount, which would repay the loan. The campaign began to get legs underneath it by January 2020, and before we could even walk the pandemic began, completely changing the game, and severely restricting my ability to fundraise.”

Riddle, who is challenging Democratic incumbent Mayor Harry Rilling, continued:

“As millions of Americans were suffering personally, professionally, and financially due to COVID, I knew firsthand how valuable savings were to keeping current on everyday bills. Unfortunately, as my pay was frozen in April of 2020 upon the issuance of Government Stay at Home orders, and culminating with my position being eliminated in November of 2020, I exhausted my savings to cover my cost of living. I was forced into a position of deciding whether to fall behind on all my bills or default on this loan.

“As a result, I defaulted and rather than working with someone during a financial hardship due to Covid, SoFi immediately hired giant predatory debt collector Zwicker & Associates, of which they have a 1.1 rating on the BBB website. I am resolving the lawsuit through mediation and the debt will be paid in full.”

 

The outstanding amount on Riddle’s personal loan is $17,611, Sofi Lending Corp. states in its July 7 filing. Sofi also seeks court costs.

Documents show the interest rate on the loan is 14.92% and Riddle was obligated to pay $476.41 a month. The last payment was made Oct. 10, 2020, and the loan was charged off in March.

It’s an unsecured loan, which “typically carry an interest rate as low as 10% and as high as 28%,” Riddle wrote.

“Considering my credit score was in the mid-700s at the time, this short-term bridge loan (as they are known) was actually a very good interest rate. I expected to repay this loan within a matter of 6 months to a year,” he wrote.

Riddle hasn’t closed the Congressional campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission website. The campaign ended the year with $11,975.75 on hand and $62,821.69 in debts and obligations, according to the last document submitted by Riddle’s campaign treasurer, his father, Peter Riddle. The documents say Jonathan Riddle made or guaranteed $10,986.47 in loans to the campaign. On the itemized form for debts and obligations, the document states that a $12,000 debt was incurred to Peter Riddle for consulting fees, $21,000 to Robert Moss for consulting fees and $15,000 to Praetorian Strategy Group, also for consulting fees.

Asked Saturday if the campaign is in debt, Jonathan Riddle said he’d have to look into it.

Riddle for Congress has not filed reports this year, although the FEC has sent letters warning that this could lead to civil money penalties, an audit or legal enforcement action, according to information found online.

Peter Riddle is also treasurer for Riddle for Mayor.

 

 

Family troubles led to lawsuit

Riddle is also named as a defendant in a lawsuit against his father, who admitted in court documents that he didn’t pay the rent on his Stamford apartment in 2017 and owes $14,363.06. The senior Riddle said he’d signed his son’s name to the lease without his son’s knowledge, but in May, Judge Walter Michael Spader expressed skepticism about Riddle Jr.’s lack of involvement and held him liable.

Jonathan Riddle, who is representing himself, attempted to appeal the ruling last week. The judge denied the appeal attempt, pointing out that the wrong paperwork had been submitted. “This is not a notice of intent to appeal. See direction at the top of form,” the judge wrote.

Riddle, in his press release said:

“While running for Congress in 2020, my name was canvassed all over Fairfield County, including a heavy representation in Stamford. I was served with this lawsuit at the beginning of November right before the election. Unbeknownst to me, my father had obtained an apartment in 2016 by him signing his name, my name and my sister’s name to the lease agreement and ran a credit report without my knowledge or permission, as well as put the utilities in my name without my knowledge or permission.

“A year prior, I became a first-time homeowner in South Norwalk on December 10, 2015, on Sheridan Street and maintain that residence today. This fact was conveniently left out of the article. The Stamford apartment is a two-bedroom unit on 35 West Broad Street that my sister and father both occupied and the owner knew I was not a tenant, admitted in open court she never spoke, met, had my phone number, emailed, or had any contact with me from the get-go. Further, every single rent statement was billed in my father’s name and my sister’s name.

“For the last 5 years my father has dealt with medical issues while he was traveling to and from his business centers in Stamford and Washington D.C., and was responsible for two rental apartments. Towards the end of the lease in Stamford he fell behind on a few months of rent and agreed to move out of the apartment in September of 2017. I was unaware of his financial troubles until the lawsuit, and he fully expected to pay off the balance owed after he moved out.

“For 3 years, the owner never called or emailed my father with regards to the past due rent until we were both served with the lawsuit in November 2020. Conveniently this was orchestrated right before the 2020 election, and oddly my sister was left out of the lawsuit, even though she was a tenant with my father.

“On first contact with the owner’s attorney, my father immediately agreed to a payment plan if the owner agreed to remove my name, as this was a non-negotiable point for myself and my father. The owner agreed with the payment plan offered, but denied the settlement offer by refusing to take me off the suit. This is the only reason the case went to trial. As I was quoted in The Hour, ‘During the hearing for the motion to dismiss, the Judge reviewing the facts said he would most likely be discharging me from the lawsuit in the final order, but for some reason did not.’

“I am in the process of appealing the ruling and cannot make further comments on the case. I fully expect to clear my name and be discharged from all liability.”

 

Spader, in a decision issued in May, called the protagonists in the lawsuit “credible.” But, he wrote, “When coupled with the utilities also being in Jonathan’s name, it is hard to believe that Jonathan was not aware that he was guaranteeing Peter’s debts. Jonathan can seek legal remedies against his father criminally or civilly if he truly believes his father acted without his consent. He has not done so since ‘learning’ of his being included on the lease when this action was commenced last year.”

Riddle, in the news release, wrote, “I did not persecute my father even though the Court suggested I should have. Where our society today says an eye for an eye, my Christian upbringing tells me to forgive transgressions rather than impose an unnecessary burden of shame and persecution.”

He said, “If in my worst moments, the worst that the press could speak of, I was accountable, humble and forgiving you can be sure that as your mayor I will exhibit the same traits.”

He called the Spader quote “cherry picking.”

In reviewing the case, Spader quotes the landlords as saying they wouldn’t have rented to Peter Riddle without Jonathan Riddle being liable for rent payments. Peter Riddle “was, and is, in debt to the IRS as well as other creditors,” Spader wrote.

 

‘Trivial’

In another matter, NancyOnNorwalk asked about some misinformation on his campaign website.

Although the website stated in October that he was a Director for Altium, Financial Consulting and Wealth Management RIA firm in Purchase, New York, he left the company 11 months earlier, according to a SEC document.

“In setting up my website, my team copied the bio from my 2020 congressional run and forgot to update said bio to remove the ‘currently a director,’” Riddle wrote. He characterized this a “trivial matter” and said, “I hardly think of this as hard-hitting journalism, but I have come to expect this type of attention, as I do not have skeletons in my closet to attack like most politicians.”

Riddle’s campaign website now states, “After graduating {Iona College with a degree in finance}, Jonathan started his career with BNY Mellon in Greenwich working with high net worth families. Shortly thereafter, he left BNY Mellon for Bessemer Trust, where he served as a client advisor for four years in New York City. Jonathan then served as a Vice President and lead advisor for the Private Bank of Bank of America in Westport, Connecticut for two years before joining Altium Wealth Management as a Director in January 2020, a Financial Consulting and Wealth Management RIA firm in Purchase, New York.”

Riddle’s LinkedIn page states that he’s CEO and founder of Deep Value Investments.

Broker Check, a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) tool used to research the license status, qualifications, employment and discipline history of brokers shows that he is no longer active as a broker. As similar tool provided by the SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) shows that he is neither a representative of an investment advisory firm nor himself, an investment advisor.

individual_5852967 (1) (1)

‘Unshakable moral foundation’

Riddle said:

“When you have a platform as strong as mine and an unshakeable moral foundation unafraid to challenge the status quo and call out the failures of this administration, the disgusting state of politics is threatened by me shining a light in the darkness. I am thoroughly disgusted by what passes for local, state, and national political reporting that always seems to misinform voters and twist the facts right before an election. My moral fiber refuses to stoop to the level of personal attacks against my opponent and I will not make family history an issue of this campaign.

“I invite the press to look equally as hard and objectively at Harry Rilling’s record as mayor and the many failures of his administration. Case in point, the monument to his biggest failure in office, the Tyvek Temple on Wall Street.”

NancyOnNorwalk’s reporting on the Tyvek Temple can be found here and here.

Riddle continued:

“My business experience, past hardships, and understanding of the world, make me uniquely qualified to take on the needs and issues facing Norwalk. While our current mayor was sitting at home during the COVID shutdown, receiving a full taxpayer-funded salary, I felt what it was to experience loss of income, job insecurity, and financial hardship due to government intervention and overreach. I know what it means to have to shut down your business, and how vital it is to keep your doors open each and every day. As your Mayor, I will be a fighting force for you, the taxpayer, the business owner, and most importantly, our children’s future.”

 

Rilling did not reply to an email giving him the opportunity to comment. Acting Norwalk Republican Town Committee Chairman Fred Wilms also did not reply to an email.

Sofi v Riddle 21-0717

Dessa v Peter Riddle 21-0523 judge orders

Dessa v Peter Riddle 21-1020 rejection

FEC to Peter Riddle 21-0802 0300122071

Press Release 10.22.21

individual_5852967 (1) (1)

individual_5852967

19 comments

CT-Patriot October 25, 2021 at 6:22 am

Now you should know by now Democrats are going to do whatever it takes to remain in power.

If it means dragging out personal issues or anything for that matter you have to be prepared for this.

That is the Democrats M.O. Not how to solve issues, but USE personal issues to slander and smear closer to election day..or is it now days🙄

Just be sure to have pole watchers on election day.

Tony P October 25, 2021 at 7:38 am

Just to re-cap – the guy running on a platform of financial wisdom and background has , financial issues?

David Muccigrosso October 25, 2021 at 8:29 am

Either way, this is a dumb own-goal for Riddle. Any amateur knows the only way to beat these “trivial” things is to get out ahead of them.

Harry’s machine was already going to win another one because the opposition yet again can’t put together anything better.

Norwalk still needs fundamental electoral reform. Ranked-Choice, multiple members per district (5x would be a good start!), and please please PLEASE let’s abolish these utterly absurd odd-year elections. ANYONE and EVERYONE who’s upset with the failures of one-party rule should endorse the platform of creating a true multiparty system.

BOB GIOLITTO October 25, 2021 at 8:58 am

I won’t comment on Mr. Riddle’s financial issues; I’ll leave that to the courts. Mr. Riddle, however, claims to have “an unshakeable moral foundation unafraid to challenge the status quo.” This is the same Mr. Riddle who, at his nomination, pledged that Critical Race Theory would never be taught in Norwalk schools (this resulted in a standing ovation from the overwhelmingly white male attendees). Critical Race Theory merely tells the complete history of racism in the US; it is verifiable fact and truth, not opinion or conjecture. Mr. Riddle wants to deny our young citizens those truths, while at the same time furthering racist education policies. In addition, as mayor Mr. Riddle would thankfully have no say over what is taught in our schools. At the end of this article Mr. Riddle states: “I will be a fighting force for…our children’s future.” Not children of color, Mr. Riddle, and not white children who deserve the gift of truth.

Al October 25, 2021 at 9:28 am

Could you clarify whether you applied for and took 3 PPP loans totaling $30,000? Have you repaid these or intend to repay them? Were they used for 2020 campaign expenses?

Bobby Lamb October 25, 2021 at 9:50 am

Yikes. This doesn’t seem like unfair muck raking to me. A candidate who is irresponsible with money, racking up debts left and right isn’t someone I want running the city. And if his dad committed fraud by using his name why is he letting his dad be responsible for his campaign money?It’s very relevant to the job he’s running for. Maybe get your own finances in order before you ask to manage ours? I cannot believe the Republicans picked this guy.

Scott Vetare October 25, 2021 at 9:58 am

Just another way Democrats try to win elections. Dirty play by the left! Let’s not forget everyone has skeletons, even the Democrats!

Relevant News Please! October 25, 2021 at 11:56 am

This story is getting too much air time. Norwalk has bigger issues to worry about. A new mayor is needed because 8 years is enough of one leadership style. A personal financial hardship has nothing to do with qualifications to serve as Mayor. New leadership with fresh ideas on how to make Norwalk a safe, prosperous and beautiful city for all is worth a try. Politicians who hold office for too long become stale and corrupt serving a select few rather than the greater good.

CT-Patriot October 25, 2021 at 12:48 pm

CRT or Critical Race Theory is nothing more than a Marxists endocrine used to shame people of their race and position in society.

This local government and it’s BOE cannot use CRT course to children.

I’m glad the candidate took a stand on CRT. There’s no need for Marxist idealogic taught to young children in public school.

DryAsABone October 25, 2021 at 1:11 pm

If you go up against the machine in Corrupticut, you better have your house in order.
Sticking around at Altium might have worked out as they received $605,477 in PPP “loans”.
Mr. Riddle’s PPP loans were at least honest. All three, $11,719, $11,718 and $10,500 claimed ONE job retained. How often do people/banks actually claim that?!!
As for financial troubles, look at Stamford’s Malloy. He failed on a lot of “deals”(it seemed about as often as Donald Trump)and still managed to go on to destroy Connecticut and get paid to do it!
Again, next door in Scamford, the democratic candidate for mayor is married to a real estate “investor” who charges rents I consider usurious while she yaps about affordable housing.
Forget about it Jake. It’s Corrupticut.

DrewT October 25, 2021 at 1:17 pm

@bob Actually you couldn’t be more wrong about CRT. It doesn’t do anything if the sort. What it does and maybe you should do some research is teach racism plain and simple. There was an African American man addressing a school board and stated that CRT teaches us to hate and segregate. He is married to a White Woman and asked is he supposed to hate her and his kids. CRT is wrong on every level! And I’ll be dammed if they try and indoctrinate our children in our schools.

John O'Neill October 25, 2021 at 1:58 pm

To Those that want to preach about CRT, I’m all for it…AS long as it’s the truth. In order for one to completely understand the truth, they need to have a firm grip on World History going back thousands of years. I propose CRT for students who’ve grasped Ancient World History first. Without that understanding it’s a complete farce. Anyone who’s versed on the matter understands that. For instance, who would’ve guessed many religions including Islam and Catholicism were ok with slavery? Should we “out” the 1.9 Billion Muslims and 1.3 Billion Catholics for these issues? Should we unwind the assets of Islam and Catholicism and disperse those funds to those that were caused harm by those ancient religions??
Slavery was and still is ugly in all forms. It’s a nasty part of World History which sadly United States is a subset of that. Heck, I’m Irish – The Irish Genocide of the Mid 1800s was brutal and shocking…The extinction of the Jews in Europe and Soviet Union is another example of the horrors of World History.
Yes, our kids need to learn all of this including CRT. HOWEVER, it needs to be learned in it’s entirety – Not cherry picked for political purposes.

John C Miller Jr October 25, 2021 at 3:21 pm

Mr. Gioletto: Your comment that Critical Race Theory is a factual representation of US history suggests that you are a proponent of the 1619 Project proffered by Nikole Hannah-Jones in the New York Times. This phony, revisions history has been fact checked and debunked. Please see the attached link. Hopefully, this will help bring you back to reality. Secondly, CRT is racist at its core. How can discrimination on the basis of race be eliminated by discriminating on the basis of race and yet this is exactly what CRT does by dividing us into the Bourgeois class (white people) and the Proletariat class (people of color) CRT is Marxist at its core. What ever happened to “E Pluribus Unum?”

https://www.aier.org/article/fact-checking-the-1619-project-and-its-critics/

Mike October 25, 2021 at 9:11 pm

At least the “woe as me” candidate Riddle isn’t holding any intra-party grudges: he’s kept his father on as campaign treasurer after suing him.

James October 25, 2021 at 9:42 pm

Run for public office, yet surprised the press is reporting on your lawsuits during the election. You lost us with your mask article. Cut your campaign losses and pay your bills!

Mitch Adis October 25, 2021 at 10:01 pm

I have to believe Norwalk Republicans want Democrats to run the City. Why else would they keep handing them elections on a silver platter?

Victor Cavallo October 26, 2021 at 12:13 am

It would seem that Harry’s notoriously messy divorces are fair-game for disclosure and discussion this election season yet the Republicans don’t have the stomach to engage in dirt-bag politics like the dems do. That’s a liability IMHO.

Al October 26, 2021 at 1:24 pm

Serious question – Why did nobody from RTC offer to serve as campaign treasurer when they nominated him?

When you’re running on a platform of fiduciary responsibility, seems dumb to hire a guy to manage finances that you’ve just told the court has defrauded you before

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>