Democratic 3rd Congressional District candidate John Wolfe says he will meet with a Georgia man who claims Wolfe owes him about $700 for a bill that's 13 years old.
Larry Reed said that in 1998 he gave Wolfe, an attorney, a bill for $295. Reed was in the video depositions business at the time and videotaped a deposition for one of Wolfe's clients in a child custody case.
While Wolfe's client paid $50 toward the bill, months and years went by without further payment, and now Reed figures Wolfe owes him more than $700 after factoring in interest.
Reed said he is a Democrat and said he has not donated money to Wolfe's GOP rival, Chuck Fleischmann. He said he's contacted media about the issue because Wolfe's campaign annoys him.
"I don't have a dog in this hunt," Reed said. "He said he wanted to restore integrity to government. My point is the man's got no personal integrity. The man won't pay his bills, won't return his phone calls."
Reed provided letters and invoices to back up his claim. The Chattanooga Times Free Press will not publish them to protect the identity of Wolfe's client.
Wolfe was the Democratic 3rd District nominee in 2002 and 2004. He lost to Republican Rep. Zach Wamp, who this year made an unsuccessful gubernatorial bid.
After a phone call from the Times Free Press, Wolfe contacted Reed and said he will try to resolve the claim. Reed said Wednesday that Wolfe had called him and tried to work things out.
"He said he'd call me and come down and try to resolve it," Reed said. "If he wants to pay me half of what he owes or part of it, it might resolve it. Otherwise, I'll let him sweat."
Wolfe said would rather be discussing what he sees as the political shortcomings of Fleischmann.
"He's to the right of (Zach) Wamp and (George) Bush," Wolfe said. "This is a serious move people are going to make if they elect this guy."
Jordan Powell, a spokesman for the Fleischmann campaign, declined to comment on Wolfe's statement.
"There will be a time and a place to talk about our differences with Mr. Wolfe," Powell said.
Dr. Richard Wilson, a professor of political science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said incidents like these can hurt a candidate. But he said the biggest challenge for Wolfe will be running in the Republican-leaning 3rd District.
"I think the structure of the race is the dominant factor at this point," he said. "It's a heavily Republican district."