Fullilove defends duty despite bankruptcy

MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) – Memphis City Councilwoman Janis Fullilove says her family's financial problems were primarily caused by massive medical bills.

"Within my family we've had a number of critical, serious health issues," said Fullilove in her only TV interview.  "Including myself, my daughter, and now my husband who's recovering from quintet bypass surgery."

A bankruptcy petition was filed Wednesday on Fullilove's behalf and lists more than $104,000 in liabilities.  A lot of money is owed to doctors.  However, some is owed to the city, county, and three area casinos as well.

Despite her personal financial struggles, Fullilove says she's still qualified to help manage the city's money.

"Certainly I am," said Fullilove.  "Because my heart and thoughts are always with the taxpayers and what's right for them and what we can do to help them."

We solicited the opinions of some taxpayers on Twitter.

"I never thought she had the best interest of the city," wrote @MTSDana.

"I don't think any less of her because of this," wrote @isaacsingleton.

"It was a decision that wasn't taken lightly," said Fullilove.

It's a decision Fullilove says thousands of her constituents have also made.

"If they find a way out to help them restructure their lives, they're doing it," she said.  "And that's certainly what my family has done," she added.

The per capita rate of personal bankruptcy filings in Memphis was once the highest in the nation.  Shelby County Commissioners Henri Brooks and Chris Thomas are among the other local elected leaders who have filed.

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