Cred­i­tors sue Austin law­maker to re­cover debt from busi­ness

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By Ja­son Em­bry

Cred­i­tors are su­ing state Rep. Dawnna Dukes to set­tle un­paid bal­ances on two credit cards, Dukes said Fri­day.

Dukes, an Austin Demo­crat, said the cards are re­lated to her busi­ness, but she was sued per­son­ally be­cause she is the sole owner.

“My attorneys have been try­ing to ne­go­ti­ate set­tle­ments with them since last year,” she said. “It’s been a dif­fi­cult process for them, and al­though we have gone through the process of re­quest­ing in­for­ma­tion to try to get set­tle­ments, they filed the law­suits any­ways.”

Dukes said the cred­i­tors are ask­ing for about $18,000 on one ac­count and about $13,000 on an­other. Most of that is penal­ties and in­ter­est, she said, not­ing that the cards had $5,000 lim­its.

Dukes’ con­sult­ing com­pany helps con­struc­tion and en­gi­neer­ing firms put to­gether bid pro­pos­als. She said she does not have any clients in Austin.

She said the trou­bles trace back to the mid­dle of the past decade, when she did not have any clients. The busi­ness strug­gled be­cause the Leg­is­la­ture takes up a lot of time and be­cause she is care­ful not to take clients that might cre­ate the ap­pear­ance of a con­flict of in­ter­est, Dukes said.

“We just get ac­cused of so many things,” Dukes said.

She was quick to point out that the salary for serv­ing in the Leg­is­la­ture is $600 per month.

“Folks think that we make big money at the Capi­tol,” she said. “I’m just like ev­ery other per­son who’s hav­ing a hard time in the econ­omy. I’m try­ing to deal with it, but mine be­comes pub­lic.”

This is not the first time credit cards have caused Dukes headaches.

The Texas Ethics Com­mis­sion fined her cam­paign $2,800 in 2008 for fail­ing to dis­close item­ized lists of pur­chases she made with her cam­paign credit card.

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