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Hartford — U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon and her husband will repay with interest their 1970s debt claims from Connecticut labor unions, expanding the scope of the reimbursement beyond just "private individual creditors."
McMahon's campaign spokesman, Todd Abrajano, said late Friday that union funds listed among the couple's creditors will be paid on Monday at four times the initial amount.
The three union funds on the creditor list are the Connecticut State Building Trades Hospitalization & Insurance Fund (owed $3,231); Connecticut Bricklayers Supplemental Health Fund (owed $389); and a joint claim of $14,000 made by Connecticut Laborers Health & Welfare Fund, Connecticut Laborers Pension Fund and the New England Training Trust Fund.
McMahon, a Republican, announced Thursday the debt reimbursement for individuals in response to The Day's discovery this week of her family's personal bankruptcy records at a national archives site in Massachusetts. The records showed the McMahons facing nearly $1 million in claims in 1976 from 26 creditors.
Connecticut AFL-CIO President John Olsen said prior to McMahon's decision to expand the reimbursement that he feared union funds would be left out.
"We were hoping that she would give the money to the funds because the funds are struggling with all the unemployment," Olsen said, noting reports of how a Utah woman who was a McMahon creditor is expecting tens of thousands of dollars.
"If you're giving money to someone in Utah, why not give money to someone right here?" Olsen asked.
Olsen added he is not sure whether the Connecticut State Building Trades Hospitalization & Insurance Fund still exists.
McMahon's campaign has yet to put a dollar figure on the total expected payout.
Pamela Behn of Park City, Utah, said Friday afternoon she received a call from the McMahon campaign earlier this week offering to make restitution to her and her ex-husband over the sale of their Colchester farm in 1976.
Behn said the McMahons offered to pay them more than the $33,171 that was owed but she declined to say exactly how much they will receive.
"They've been more than fair," she said. "They said they would put a check in the mail the next day. I haven't received it yet but I have no reason to think they won't."
Behn said she and her ex-husband, William Lanan, who she spoke to this week, couldn't remember all the details of the McMahons debt to them. But she said the McMahons and a partner had agreed to buy a farm they owned but never followed through, resulting in the debt.
"It was a long time ago and we were in the midst of a divorce. I can't remember all the details," she said.
Behn said she does not remember Linda McMahon but does recall Vince and his partner.
Behn, who left Colchester in 1976 and has lived in Vermont and Utah since, said she was aware of the McMahons subsequent success with the WWE and Linda McMahon's campaign two years ago. While the debt was a lot of money, she has not dwelled on it over the years.
"I'm happy. This has been a surprise. Thank goodness for politics," Behn said.