DETROIT - Detroit City Council Pro-Tem George Cushingberry is facing new legal problems.
His law license has been suspended following a traffic stop in which officers reported smelling alcohol. No drunk driving charges were filed.
Now, Cushingberry and his wife are targets of a lawsuit involving foreclosures on two homes.
Local 4 has learned Cushingberry and his wife, Maria, took out a $116,000 mortgage from Public Service Credit Union on a house on Cherrylawn Street in Detroit in 2004.
They defaulted, and the lender received only $43,000 in a sheriff's sale.
The Cushningberrys also got a $242,000 mortgage from the credit union on a house on Marygrove Street. They also defaulted on that home and the lender received only $96,000 in a sheriff's auction.
The credit union is suing the Cushingberrys becauwse both homes had extensive damage. The Cherrylawn home may have fallen victim to vandals and scavengers, but the credit union's suit claims the damage to the Marygrove property was "caused by, or at the direction of the defendants."
Because George Cushingberry filed for personal bankruptcy in 2012, the credit union is seeking more than $81,00 from George and Maria Cushingberry and another $72,000 from Maria alone, for a total of $153,000.
Cushingberry's attorney, Todd Russell Perkins, said the legal and financial challenge will not affect Cushingberry's work on the city council.
"There's no impact that he has as it relates to these legal matters, as it relates to what he is doing on behalf of the citizens of Detroit," Perkins said.
Perkins said he does not believe the credit union has a case.
But lawyers for the credit union said that since much of the property damage happened after George Cushingberry's personal bankruptcy, it could garnish his city council pay.
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