Norwalk mayoral candidate involved in two financial lawsuits

Photo of Abigail Brone
Riddle

Riddle

/ Contributed photo /

NORWALK — Republican mayoral candidate Jonathan Riddle is embroiled in two financial lawsuits filed earlier this year, including one that stemmed from defaulting on a personal loan after losing his job during the pandemic.

Riddle, a South Norwalk homeowner and former congressional candidate, was sued earlier this year by a loan servicing company over a defaulted loan and added onto a separate lawsuit with his father over unpaid rent, according to court documents.

SoFi Lending Corporation sued Riddle after he defaulted on a $20,000 loan, according to court records.

Riddle received the loan in July 2019 and was scheduled to pay 60 installments of $476.41, the documents show. The lawsuit was filed in July 2021.

As recompense, SoFi requested Riddle pay the balance of the loan, amounting to $17,211.18, according to the documents.

“That was an unsecured loan. I tried to negotiate with SoFi. I lost my job during the pandemic and couldn’t pay,” Riddle said. “They wouldn’t budge, so I had to let it go into default and couldn’t afford it. It was an unfortunate circumstance of COVID.”

There are no court appearances scheduled for the defaulted loan.

In another lawsuit that began in November 2020, the owner of a West Broad Street home in Stamford sued Riddle and his father, Peter Riddle, for a joint total of $14,363.06 in unpaid rent and utilities, according to court documents.

The initial lawsuit was between the property owner and Peter Riddle, but Jonathan Riddle was added in January of this year.

Ultimately, Judge Walter Michael Spader Jr. found both Peter and Jonathan Riddle liable for the unpaid rent and fees, according to the documents. However, Peter Riddle admitted to misusing his son Jonathan’s social security number and forged Jonathan Riddle’s signature to secure the lease.

“The plaintiff advised that Peter Riddle’s credit was insufficient to make them consider renting the apartment to him. He was, and is, in debt to the IRS as well as other creditors,” Spader wrote in his decision. “Peter alleges at that point, he used his son’s social security number to essentially steal his son’s financial identity to acquire the lease. He provided the plaintiff with an electronic transfer of his son’s Experian credit report and advised his son would also be a tenant. When the lease was drawn up including Jonathan’s name, Peter forged his son’s signature on the lease.”

The plaintiff’s manager admitted to never having seen Jonathan Riddle at the residence before and did not give him keys. Jonathan Riddle, representing himself, requested to dismiss the case against him as he had no knowledge his name and social security number were used for the lease, according to the documents.

“The apartment in question is a two-bedroom apartment that my father and my older sister lived in together. Oddly, my sister was left out of the lawsuit, even though the rental statements were in my father’s name and my sister’s name,” Jonathan Riddle told Hearst Connecticut Media this week.

Spader found it unlikely that Jonathan Riddle was unaware of his father’s financial woes, according to the documents.

In Spader’s final decision, the father and son were ordered to pay the landlord $11,113.06, according to court documents. The funds include $12,925 in unpaid back rent, $538.06 in unpaid utilities, the security deposit balance of $2,350 and $1,350 in legal fees.

“All the documents are public records and I have nothing to hide,” Jonathan Riddle said. “During the hearing for the motion to dismiss, the judge reviewing the facts said he would most likely be discharging me from the lawsuit in the final order, but for some reason did not. The assumptions he makes in the final order are not based in reality nor factual in nature, as well as ignoring the factual statements of the landlord and the rent statements.”

Democratic mayoral candidate and incumbent Mayor Harry Rilling is not part of any existing lawsuits as of Thursday, according to the state judicial database.

abigail.brone@hearstmediact.com