Mitt Romney’s great grandfather Miles Romney skipped out on a debt to his best friend 130 years ago, and that friend’s great granddaughter wants Mitt Romney to settle the debt. Author Judith Freeman wants $25,000 from Mitt Romney to clear up a bad debt his ancestor owed. Should Romney pay up?
$25,000 grand is chump change to Mitt Romney equal to just two and a half friendly $10,000 wagers. The statute of limitations has long since run out. Does Mitt have a moral if not a legal obligation to pay up?
The background of the debt centers on the practice of polygamy, which was illegal in the United States in 1880, but was a widely accepted practice in the Mormon Church. Mitt’s Great-grandfather Miles Romney and his friend William Flake were arrested for polygamy. Romney had three wives at the time. He could not make bail, so Mr. Flake paid $1,000 to bail Romney out.
Miles Romney skipped out on his bail and fled to Mexico leaving his friend to lose the $1,000. There was never any attempt by Miles Romney or his family to make it right.
Now, William Flake’s descendant wants Mitt to clear up the situation. She wants $25,000, which is the $2,000 adjusted for inflation. She is willing to waive interest. She even said she will share it with all William Flake’s descendants.
Judith Freeman said:
“I’ve done some calculation, and $1,000 from the 1880s would today be worth about $25,000, not counting interest (and since I’m not a smart enough to figure up the interest, I’m willing to let that part slide). Because William Jordan Flake has about 15,000 descendants living at the moment, I realize I’ll have to divide up the money should Romney do the right thing and write out that check.
However, I want to assure Mitt that I’m more than happy to be the disperser of the funds and I guarantee that all the Flakes of the world will get their fair share the moment he does the right thing.”
Of course, there has been no response from Mitt Romney and no payment has been made.
The question is should Mitt pay the debt just because he is wealthy and can? Why should he be responsible for the debts of his ancestors? Clearly, there is not much precedent for great-grand children being responsible for the debts of ancestors their parents never knew. The only reason one would expect Mitt to do so is because he is running for office. Is that blackmail or just a political statement?
One thing certain is that Republicans do not want anything remind voters that Mitt Romney comes from a family that practiced polygamy while they are at their re-introduce Romney effort in Tampa.
It will be interesting to see where this goes.
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