Politics

Rep. Bobby Rush Faces Wage Garnishment on $1 Million Debt

Judge orders Chicago Dem to forfeit 15 percent of monthly congressional salary

Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., left, speaks with Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., while waiting for President Barack Obama to deliver his final State of the Union address to a Joint Session of Congress in Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Bobby Rush will fork over 15 percent of his congressional salary each month to repay more than $1 million he owes on a delinquent loan for a now-closed church he founded in Chicago.

Rush makes $174,000 a year through his salary in the House of Representatives, where he has served for more than 25 years representing Chicago’s South Side.

Cook County Circuit Judge Alexander White has ordered the wage garnishment of $2,100 a month from Rush’s salary ($14,500 per month), the Chicago Sun-Times reported Wednesday.

Last June, the judge ordered Rush to repay the loan, originally $550,000, that New City Bank granted him and seven other co-signers in 2005. With the money, Rush bought the former Our Redeemer Lutheran Church — a limestone, Gothic-style structure built in the 1920s — in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood and restyled it as the Beloved Community Church of God in Christ.

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Rush and the others ceased making their monthly payments of $3,562 in 2011, the Sun-Times reported. The group of creditors that took over the debt from New City Bank after it folded in 2012 sued Rush’s cohort in 2015.

The creditors eventually dropped Rush’s co-signers from their lawsuit, making Rush solely liable for repayment.

Rush had grand designs for the Beloved Community Church, which he hoped would be the cultural foundation of his plan to rebuild the community in Englewood. He contributed $200,000 from his campaign coffers to the church over the years.

Rush is not the first congressman to have his congressional salary garnished. In 2014, a judge ordered wage garnishments against former Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, who owed more than $1.3 million from a loan for a carwash.

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