W-B Councilwoman Gilbert Sued For Failing To Pay Debt
WILKES-BARRE — Financial troubles continue to mount for city Councilwoman Beth Gilbert.
Gilbert, a freshman councilwoman who held a re-election campaign kickoff Tuesday, was targeted this week in a small-claims lawsuit alleging she failed to pay $1,876 in debt to Discover Bank.
The matter is set for a hearing before Magisterial District Judge Rick Cronauer on May 6.
Reached for comment Thursday, Gilbert — who has a reputation for taking Mayor Tony George’s administration to task for its spending — declined to comment on the action, saying she wants to focus on continuing “to fight for the residents of the city.”
“I’m not giving any more time to this private matter because that is not the focus of my council position or campaign for re-election,” Gilbert said.
On her Facebook page, Gilbert acknowledged she struggled financially during college but said she is now working to pay off her debts.
“I worked my way through college and used credit cards as a way to help get me through college,” Gilbert wrote. “It got to a point where I couldn’t afford to pay my credit card bills. I had to decide between my utilities and groceries, or my credit card bills. I could not afford both.”
The post said she hired attorneys to help settle her debt and that she has been paying down her credit card debt on a weekly basis. She also said she did not consider it hypocritical to advocate for fiscal responsibility in light of her financial troubles.
“I know what it is like to struggle, which is why I continuously vote against fee and tax increases for residents,” Gilbert wrote. “I have been there, and I will continue to advocate for the public as long as I am your councilwoman.”
It is the third time since last year Gilbert has been sued in small-claims court for failing to pay her bills.
In October, Synchrony Bank filed a $4,694 claim against Gilbert. Following a hearing in November, Cronauer ruled in the bank’s favor and ordered Gilbert to pay $4,866, including a $172 filing fee.
Last March, Gilbert’s ex-boyfriend Kyle Kocher sued her for $1,500 and later won a $336 judgment. Gilbert was ordered to pay $336, including the filing fee. Court records show Kocher filed a certified judgment at the Court of Common Pleas in February, a move that allows him to seek order of execution on the judgment.
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