Debts mounting: Credit card company files complaint against WB council’s Gilbert

By Jerry Lynott - [email protected]
Wilkes-Barre City Councilwoman Beth Gilbert was hit with another complaint from a credit card company for an unpaid debt, the third civil claim against her in the past year, court records show. Times Leader file photo Wilkes-Barre City Councilwoman Beth Gilbert was hit with another complaint from a credit card company for an unpaid debt, the third civil claim against her in the past year, court records show. - Times Leader file photo

WILKES-BARRE — Unpaid debts continue to mount for Beth Gilbert, a city councilwoman who’s advocated for fiscal responsibility and made it a priority in her re-election campaign.

Discover Bank, through an attorney, filed a civil complaint Wednesday claiming she owes $1,875. Two judgments for unpaid debts were entered against her last year for a total of roughly $5,200.

Gilbert, 24, said she is in the process of settling the debts that she incurred as a college student.

“It just became too much,” Gilbert said of paying the bills while she was in school at Wilkes University. She acknowledged that she’s “suffering the consequences from it in a very public manner.”

Gilbert has opposed every budget Mayor Tony George proposed since taking office in 2016. Last December, she was the only one of the five council members to vote against the $50.4 million balanced budget that did not contain a property tax increase for 2019.

In February, the Democrat announced her intention to seek a second, four-year term. She will be challenged in the May 21 primary by fellow Democrats Jeff Thomas and Linda Rowe. Among the priorities Gilbert listed for the final year of her first term and her next term was, “Continue to exercise fiscal responsibility. I will continue to vote against every tax increase and fee increase that comes before me. There are ways we can increase revenue and cut expenses without putting more burden on the residents of this city.”

But Gilbert disagreed it was hypocritical of her to have said one thing publicly and done the opposite privately. To the contrary, she said, her free-spending ways of the past have “really opened my eyes” to the importance of being fiscally responsible.

Other claims

In addition to the Discover Bank claim filed at the office of District Judge Rick Cronauer in Wilkes-Barre, two other complaints were filed last year against Gilbert.

Synchrony Bank’s claim in October 2018 resulted in a plaintiff’s judgment in the amount of $4,683 and $171 in fees.

Kyle Kocher, who Gilbert said was an ex-boyfriend, filed a claim of $1,500 in March 2018. Cronauer entered a judgment for Kocher in May 2018 in the amount of $225 plus $110 in filing fees. After receiving only a partial payment, Kocher moved the case to Luzerne County Court on Feb. 11 for enforcement by the Sheriff’s Office.

Kocher, of Wilkes-Barre, said he received one payment from Gilbert of $20 in August.

“I had a letter from her saying that it would be monthly. In February, I filed the complaint because I was not receiving additional payment,” Kocher said. “Then today I got a payment for $80 via PayPal at 1:01 p.m.”

A reporter spoke to Gilbert at 12:36 p.m. about the Kocher judgment.

Wilkes-Barre City Councilwoman Beth Gilbert was hit with another complaint from a credit card company for an unpaid debt, the third civil claim against her in the past year, court records show.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/web1_citycouncil01-1-.jpgWilkes-Barre City Councilwoman Beth Gilbert was hit with another complaint from a credit card company for an unpaid debt, the third civil claim against her in the past year, court records show. Times Leader file photo

By Jerry Lynott

[email protected]

Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott.

Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott.