- Associated Press - Friday, July 11, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A Republican state senator faced with more than $900,000 in debt has filed for bankruptcy.

Sen. Sean Nienow, of Cambridge, and his wife, Cynthia, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last month, according to court records. The Nienows will sell off their nonessential assets, putting the money toward about $931,000 in debts.

Much of that debt comes from a small business loan from the federal government for a business that later failed. The Nienows signed for a $613,000 loan from the Small Business Administration in 2009 for the National Camp Association Inc., which aimed to help parents find camps for their children.

The SBA sued the couple in January, seeking about $750,000. Court documents indicated they hadn’t made a payment in many months.

Nienow did not return calls to his cell or home phones. In April, Nienow told the AP he hadn’t ruled out filing for personal bankruptcy to settle the unpaid loan.

The Nienows’ bankruptcy filing listed total assets of almost $122,000. They listed a Cambridge home, four guns, a broken boat and a Nintendo Gamecube system as exempt assets.

Nienow is considered a fiscal conservative in Minnesota’s Legislature. After first winning his Senate seat in 2002, he lost re-election in 2006 but won again in 2010.

The bankruptcy was first reported by Minnesota Public Radio News.

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