Picture of Emanuel Cleaver

Representative Emanuel Cleaver II (MO-5)

LEE’S SUMMIT, AUGUST 20, 2014 – Interestingly few media sites covered the story back on February 18, 2014 of this year. The lead in the few that did cover it is as follows: “The Jackson County court clerk issued a wage garnishment order against Cleaver’s employer — the U.S. House — on behalf of Bank of America. The order instructs the House to withhold part of Cleaver’s salary to help repay more than $1.3 million he and his wife now owe the bank.”

Emanuel Cleaver’s office issued a statement with regard to his wages being garnished: “As the congressman and Mrs. Cleaver have repeatedly said, for almost two years now, they are working with Bank of America to meet their financial obligations, in a broad spectrum of ways, and that hasn’t changed

How did Congressman Cleaver get to the point where a Congressman has his wages garnished?

Picture of Cleaver Carwash Grandview Missouri

For that answer you have to go back to 2002 when Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver purchased a car wash in Grandview Missouri. The Loan for the Cleaver’s car wash was guaranteed by the Small Business Administration.

In the following years, the car wash management could not turn a profit, sufficient to retire the debt and continue operations. In 2013 the business was sold and the proceeds from the sale went to Bank of America. However, the proceeds were insufficient to retire the debt.

Bank of America brought a law suit against Cleaver that was settled. It left Cleaver with $1.2 million owed to the bank, at the time, but interests continue on the unpaid loan.

As a member of the United States House of Representatives, Congressman Cleaver is paid $174,000 a year. He also receives a pension from Kansas City amounting to $21,976, and an additional $9,664 from the Missouri Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. In total, Congressman Cleaver receives $205,640 plus office, travel and incidental expenses.

Business is difficult. You have to understand the market. You have to know the location. You have to learn from mistakes quickly, adapt even more rapidly, and find a way to attract more customers without more cost. The study of a breakeven point on a car wash is not that difficult. The work has to be done.

In the end, most businesses fail. The fact that the Cleaver’s are not business people is no surprise. Monday morning congressional quarterbacking of business is cheap and good for water cooler discussions. However, when those same people have failed in business, they should seek advice from business people who are successful. A Congressman who cannot succeed in business should work with those who are successful entrepreneurs to figure out what is the best policy for the economy.

The Small Business Administration will likely end up paying the bill for 75% of the outstanding loan amount, or close to one million dollars ($1,000,000): That means the tax payers will have to pay.

Respectfully Submitted
The Lee’s Summit Conservative