MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Candidate for clerk of the Superior Court of Bibb County, Erica Woodford, owes more than $40,000 to a student loan company.
The company took Woodford to court in 2010 for not paying her debt, but Woodford says, there's more to the story. She says her personal finances, will not reflect how she handles public money if she's elected.
Dianne Brannen has been the clerk of Bibb County Superior Court for 16 years. Every year her office handles millions of dollars.
"A lot of finances that need to be overseen by the clerk," says Brannen.
Woodford says she can handle the financial responsibilities of the clerk. Even though court records show she owes more than $40,000 in student loans, interest, court and attorney fees to The Education Resources Institute.
"In March of 2009 I was in a near fatal car accident where I broke my neck and I broke my leg... When you have a serious medical injury um, financial burdens, and financial difficulty come out of that," says Woodford.
Woodford says that's when she stopped paying her loans. The company filed a complaint against her in the State Court of Bibb County on November 15, 2010. The court ordered her to pay what she owed on October 19, 2012.
"The consent judgement was agreed to by me, and I am ready and willing to pay my student loan debt," says Woodford.
41NBC asked Brannen if the the next clerk of superior court should have their personal finances in order before they take office? Brannen said absolutely.
"If you can't keep track of your personal finances and keep track of what's owed annd make sure that you paid what's owed in a timely manner, I don't know how you could deal with a million dollar budget and ya know, over $6 million dollars worth of income each year," says Brannen.
Brannen says about 25% of the clerk's job deals with handling finances. Woodford wants to assure Bibb County residents, the past is in the past.
Brannen isn't seeking re-election for clerk of superior court. Woodford is running against Republican candidate Linda Tillman in the November election.
According to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission's website,
Woodford owes $250 for not filing campaign documents on time.
Woodford says she's more than happy to speak with any Bibb County residents who are concerned about her personal finances.