Brookfield's 1st selectman-elect in bankruptcy - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Brookfield's 1st selectman-elect in bankruptcy

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BROOKFIELD, CT (WFSB) -

Republican First Selectman-elect Bill Tinsley said he initially declared bankruptcy more than a year ago, but it didn't take effect until last month at the same time he was in the height of campaigning for public office in Brookfield.

Tinsley told Eyewitness News just weeks before election day, his Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing became official. Documents show he is about $775,000 in debt.

"My family suffered what I would call the perfect storm. We went through a closure of a business. We went through a death of a son, a personal illness," Tinsley said Monday in an interview with Eyewitness News.

Tinsley is also accused of embezzling about $500 from a Vermont business he worked at part time last year.

"It's a pending case and I'm not going to say anything else other than I'm not guilty of those charges," Tinsley said.

Tinsley claims he never tried to hide from his troubled past and said he talked about it on the campaign trail.

"It was quite public. So to me the fact that it's a surprise is a surprise," Tinsley said.

Some irate residents in Brookfield are calling for the newly-elected official to resign.

"He probably should have been more forthcoming, but it probably would have cost him the election is what he feared," said Greg Dorrell of Brookfield

However, Tinsley insists that he did nothing wrong.

"I'm not going to resign," Tinsley said. "I'm going to take the oath of office and I'm going to be a good first selectman."

When asked if some people questioned his ability to run a town after his business failings, Tinsley said he is confident that he can run Brookfield. 

"I've had quite a lot of experience doing it and I've had billion-dollar budgets before," Tinsley said.

Tinsley told Eyewitness News he is working on rebuilding his family and personal finances.

Tinsley, a Republican, defeated Democrat Howard Lasser by 81 votes on Nov. 5. He officially takes office next month.

Current First Selectman Bill Davidson declined comment.

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