Elected officials have the solemn responsibility of managing our tax dollars. When politicians can’t handle their own personal finances, it’s a red flag about their fitness to handle public finances. State Representative Tony Tinderholt (R – Tarrant County) has a disastrous history of managing his own money and has no business managing ours.

Reform Austin has previously reported on Tinderholt’s shady campaign finance reporting and his votes to raise our property taxes, but Tinderholt’s failed business and subsequent bankruptcy filing raise questions about his fiscal management skills, and whether he has the judgment to participate in policy discussions affecting our economy or state spending.

Tinderholt and his first ex-wife co-owned a child daycare business. His wife and business partner were found to be embezzling cash from the business, which they used to buy illegal drugs, including cocaine, crack, acid, and marijuana.

According to court-ordered testimony, Tinderholt knew his then-wife and business partner were abusing illegal drugs, but allowed them to continue operating the daycare business, potentially endangering children, but ultimately, their embezzlement led the business to fail.

Tony Tinderholt later filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in San Angelo, Texas to release him from debts he incurred from this failed business and to allow him to repay his creditors, but Tinderholt never paid them. On May 1, 1997 his bankruptcy was discharged, allowing him to avoid any responsibility for his debt.

Separately, Tinderholt was named in a civil lawsuit where he allowed an underage employee to drink while working at a bar managed by Tinderholt.  The employee was then allowed to drive home and sustained serious injuries in a single-car accident.

Tony Tinderholt has shown a disturbing pattern of mismanagement and financial irresponsibility, both as a private citizen and as a member of the Texas House. How can we continue to trust Tinderholt with our precious tax dollars?

The last thing we need in Austin are politicians with a proven record of wasting money. We need leaders who are transparent and who will be responsible with our money. We need to Reform Austin.