The Republican candidate for State Auditor has had a rocky campaign due to some past legal and financial troubles. Saundra McDowell tells Missourinet affiliate KSSZ in Columbia that she went to court over a house she and her husband leased in Springfield.
“The furniture was included in that contract,” McDowell says. “We tacked on, I think, almost $50,000 for the furniture of the house. After we moved in about two months in, we found out that the owners didn’t have good title to the furniture.”
McDowell says they tried to renegotiate the contract. According to McDowell, the owners assured her they had good title to the furniture.
“We could see in the case that was filed by the person that said that they had title to it, there was a lien put on the furniture that they had title to it. We asked them to produce documents and they couldn’t do it,” she says.
McDowell and her husband, who have both practiced law, lost their case.
“I think that was a terrible decision by the judge. We had babies at the time all in diapers. It was just very stressful to go through that whole ordeal. So, we decided just to pay the debt and not appeal it,” she says.
After losing the court battle, McDowell says she offered a lump sum payment but is required to instead have her wages garnished with interest.
“It was a case that we lost based on a real estate contract,” she says. “As I’ve been talking to so many people across this state, I’ve realized how many people have had real estate issues that are similar to this. I understand. I believe I’ve been defrauded. As a victim of fraud, I can understand how the people feel.”
Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway, who is running against McDowell, has said McDowell cannot manage her own money, let alone audit the state’s finances. Galloway was appointed in 2015 to replace the late Republican Auditor Tom Schweich.
McDowell’s residency status has also been questioned. Missouri law requires the Auditor to be a resident of the state for at least 10 years. Based on her research of Missouri case law, she contends she would win on “intent”.
“I placed my foot in Missouri more than ten years before the election,” she says. “We got engaged, we got married, we took the Missouri bar, everything in Missouri. We got married at Washington University Chapel and then moved back to Missouri.”
She cites other residency challenges, including former Governor and State Auditor Kit Bond and former State Auditor James Antonio. Both Bond and Antonio won their cases.
Missouri’s midterm election is November 6.
Listen to the entire interview below:
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