Erica Woodford, a candidate for clerk of Bibb County Superior Court, was found in default last week of an earlier judgment ordering her to pay about $40,000 in student loans, interest, attorneys fees and court costs.
Documents show that Woodford, a Macon attorney running as a Democrat, had a judgment levied against her in Bibb County State Court in February in an action brought by The Education Resources Institute, a national, not-for-profit corporation. After Woodford apparently failed to make the arranged payments set out in the judgment, the institute sought and got a writ of fi fa, a document that allows liens to be placed against a debtors property to satisfy the debt.
The judgment shows Woodford owes more than $32,000 in principal, almost $5,000 in attorneys fees and $2,700 in interest.
Woodford says the judgment against her stems from financial troubles following a near-fatal 2009 car wreck. She previously told The Telegraph that she broke her neck and legs and missed work for several months.
"When I broke my neck, I suffered a lot," Woodford said Saturday. "I had some financial burdens. The consent judgment was an outcome of that."
Bibb County Superior Court records show Woodfords home went into foreclosure in 2010, the Internal Revenue Service filed for a tax lien against a separate home in 2005, and the Georgia Department of Labor filed two writs demanding unemployment contributions in 2003.
"Like other Americans, when you suffer a life-altering, near-fatal injury, you suffer financial burdens," Woodford said. "I am almost 100 percent healed, and I am 100 percent ready to serve the people as Superior Court clerk."
She blamed the tax lien and writs on errors by her accountant.
Woodford is also listed on the website for Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission (formerly the State Ethics Commission) as owing $250 for either not filing campaign information or filing late.
Woodford is running against Republican Linda Tillman to replace retiring Superior Court Clerk Dianne Brannen. Tillman, who is the courts chief deputy clerk, said she is not making an issue of Woodfords legal problems.
Ive had a lot of people approach me with things, Tillman said, but like Ive told everybody, I want to do my campaigning on qualifications and experience.
To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.