The disclosure form freshman Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) filed as a candidate indicated assets worth a minimum of $8.1 million and liabilities worth a minimum of $705,000, leaving his minimum net assets at about $7.4 million. His largest single asset was JCF Properties, which he listed as being worth $5 million to $25 million.
Those figures suggested Fleming should have easily won a spot among the 50 richest lawmakers, but his first disclosure form as a Member of Congress reduced the value of JCF Properties to the $1 million to $5 million range. A spokeswoman explained that Fleming had originally over-reported the value of JCF because he was including the shares owned by his grown children and two other shareholders. The new estimate includes only the 39.9 percent held by Fleming, his wife and his dependent child.
As a result, Flemings minimum net worth appears to drop to about $3.2 million.
But the freshman Congressman is probably worth significantly more than that figure would suggest. While the reported value of his assets appears to drop from 2007 to 2008, Fleming still reported income of more than $6.3 million last year.
Fleming was a doctor before coming to the House and also owns 30 Subway sandwich shops and a variety of other real estate investments and business ventures. Louisiana corporate records indicate that at various times over the past decade, Fleming has created a payday loan company, a mini-storage company, a firm called Fleming World Headquarters and a dozen other limited liability companies and partnerships.
His disclosure forms list a complex and interlocking set of family business ventures.
For instance, Fleming lists among his assets a company called Fleming Franchise Development Inc., worth $1 million to $5 million, and another called JCF Management LLC, worth $100,000 to $250,000. According to his candidate disclosure form, both of those companies own portions of JCF Properties.
Roll Call determines minimum net worth by adding the lowest value for all assets and subtracting the lowest value for all liabilities listed; an asset valued at $1 million to $5 million, for example, is calculated at $1 million. If a lawmaker provides exact dollar figures, those valuations are used instead.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.