Former MN GOP Leader Sutton Files For Bankruptcy

Court filings list $2.1 million in liabilities, describing them as “primarily business debts”; in addition to leading the state’s Republican Party, Tony Sutton co-owned the Baja Sol restaurant chain.

Tony Sutton, former chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota, and his wife Bridget filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on August 23 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Paul.

Court filings detail assets of about $296,000 and liabilities of more than $2.1 million. According to the filing: “Debts are primarily business debts.” The primary listed asset is the couple’s home in Inver Grove Heights.

The Suttons were previously part owners of Baja Sol, a fast-casual chain of Mexican restaurants in the Twin Cities, but they exited the venture in 2011. TCF Financial Corporation CEO Bill Cooper led an investor group, which included the Suttons, that acquired the restaurant chain in 2006.

Neither Tony Sutton nor his attorney could immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday.

The largest listed liability is a personally guaranteed business debt to Columbus, Ohio-based Cooper State Bank, listed at more than $464,000. A claim of nearly $320,000 is listed to McKinney, Texas-based Landmark Equipment, and $290,000 is owed to Indianhead Food Service of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, according to court filings.

For some of the debts, the filings note “current amount of liability unknown.”

Other creditors include: Woodbury-based Blackburn Blaine LLC (more than $304,000), Blaine-based Sysco Minnesota ($93,000), and Home and Federal Bank of Sioux Falls, South Dakota ($86,000).

Sutton served as chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota from 2009 until 2011, when he resigned amid questions about his financial management and the mounting debt for the state party.

The recent bankruptcy filings list Sutton as a “self-employed consultant” for Winning Strategies LLC.