Former state GOP chair Tony Sutton, wife, file for personal bankruptcy

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Former state Republican Party chairman Tony Sutton has declared personal bankruptcy, the Star Tribune reports.

The paper calls the Chapter 7 filing "the latest twist in one of the most dramatic political downfalls in recent state history." They described the former GOP head as a "hard-charging" leader who told both DFL and GOP lawmakers to "live within your means."

According to his filing, Sutton and his wife, Bridget Sutton, owe $2.1 million.

The debt includes $70,000 in credit card debt and $20,000 in federal student loans, unpaid state and federal taxes. The Suttons also reportedly owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in unsecured personal loans to cover business expenses.

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings, debtors ask the court to discharge all or most of their unsecured debt.

Bridget Sutton, an Inver Grove Heights school board member and former Republican operative, is currently undergoing divorce proceedings with her estranged husband, the paper says.

Some of the Suttons' debt is to well-known names in Republican circles.

The Star Tribune says at the time of the bankruptcy filing, the Suttons had no life or health insurance.

MinnPost reports that Sutton, who was the CEO of the Baja Sol restaurant chain while serving as party chair from 2009 to 2011, didn't take a salary from the state GOP until July 2011 -- when it was disclosed he'd be paid $100,000 a year.

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