A note from Nathan Deal’s daughter: ‘Now it’s personal’

A Republican friend has passed along a long missive from Katie Deal, daughter of the former congressman, defending her family in the wake of revelations about its difficult finances.

The 31-year-old actor is the youngest of four siblings.

The Nathan Deal campaign confirmed the authenticity of the letter, but it’s obvious from the content that this didn’t originate with the candidate’s organization. In part:

Yesterday I was attacked on YouTube. Today I read a blogger’s comment that “the whole Deal clan are a bunch of shysters and charlatans” and was labeled “Deal and his crooked family” by another blogger. Up until recently it was just politics. Now it’s personal….

Katie Deal, daughter of Nathan Deal

Katie Deal, daughter of Nathan Deal

I didn’t realize the severity of the financial situation that my parents are in until recently. Now before you attack me on this, the reason for that is because it was never my business until the paper made it my business. What my parents choose to spend their hard-earned money on is their business, not mine and definitely not the media’s. I personally feel that this situation should have never been made public[. H]owever, the irreparable damage has been done.

One blogger on the AJC questioned how the other siblings felt about this mess. So to answer the question I’ve been asking myself of where does this leave me financially[.] I can only say that I don’t know. I have struggled the past several days with my feelings on the topic and have concluded that it just doesn’t matter.

What matters to me is surviving this political nightmare with my family intact, despite the media’s attempts to make sure that doesn’t happen. While I’m not pleased with what has happened in my family’s business dealings, I am more displeased at the attempts to turn the issue into an attack on my dad’s morals and ethics. Someone please explain to me how guaranteeing your lifelong earnings to support your daughter’s valiant attempts at a business, survive or fail, is an ethical wrongdoing?!

…. I will agree with all you naysayers that this venture goes way beyond what I can even contemplate in my tiny income-earning mind, so it does seem huge.

However, my parents made this decision together to invest in my sister’s business. It was not and is still not anyone’s decision but theirs. I believe that no one is entitled to tell anyone else what to do, where to live, who to be, or how to spend their money…not me, not you, not anyone. As the responsible adult that my parents raised me to be, I’m a little bruised from all of this but I can and will take care of myself. I have faith that if there is remaining debt after all is said and done, my family will work together to repay every penny.

In a small way, this news has brought a large change in me. I have grown complacent, as we often do, and have stopped dreaming. This shake-up has required me to wake-up and try a little harder to make something of myself. This is, surprisingly, a wonderful realization. Regardless of what happens with my parents’ financial situation and regardless of what happens with my sister’s situation, I love them. I respect their decisions, even when it deeply cuts me, because none of these decisions were mine to make and they weren’t ever about me.

So, where does this situation leave my parents and the rest of the family? Well, my sister is heartbroken and has been ripped to shreds, thanks to the media. She has been living in limbo and her own personal hell for a long time now. She has beaten herself up enough for all of us, so please, back off, people.

As for my parents, they say that they will be fine and they will be. They are responsible people who don’t take bailouts and who would never have someone sweep their mess under the rug for them. If that’s what you think about them, you should really meet them and give them a chance. The first time my husband drove up to Gainesville to meet my parents, he was intimidated by their beautiful house (that my grandparents had lived in with them) and thought, “Oh please, don’t let them be those people.”

When he met them, he was put right at ease because my dad was watching a football game and my mom was making cornbread and chili. They are normal, caring people who just happen to be called into politics. Anyone who knows me knows that what you see is what you get. I learned that from my parents. There is no “sleazy” side or ulterior motive behind my parents’ choices. They are honest, hard-working, trusting people who have raised one hell of a great family, warts and all. I will not allow anyone to rip that away from me and I will not tolerate personal attacks on my family….

Read the entire message here.

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160 comments Add your comment

John K

September 22nd, 2010
8:50 am

I agree, it must be tough to be in the public eye and scrutinized at every turn.

That said; yes, your father’s ethics do need to be investigated, and yes, the media can look into his finances.

Your father knew this going in, this is the bed he made for all of you, and know you need to sleep in it.

John K

September 22nd, 2010
8:50 am

That’s “now” not “know”

666

September 22nd, 2010
8:55 am

The devil made him do it.

SpaceyG

September 22nd, 2010
8:56 am

I know how she feels. Often, the only way I too have of knowing about family finances are in the SC papers. I just Google if I need to know something. They’re Southerners after all, and they haven’t yet learned to talk about money. Let alone use the *Share* tools.

green green

September 22nd, 2010
8:59 am

If the senior Deals make poor investments with their own money, how can I expect Mr. Deal to make good decisions with the state’s money? Did the Deal daughter present to her father a business plan, market research, industry experience? Or did the Deals just say “Oh, we know her, that’s fine!” It’s irresponsible to make financial decisions based on “knowing” a person when you’re Gov.

RobbieC

September 22nd, 2010
9:00 am

Mr. Deal’s willingness to help his daughter should be lauded. That being said, his business acumen should be studied as it appears he “threw good money after bad.”

green green

September 22nd, 2010
9:04 am

PS, think the AJC is tough guys? Please, read the British press. British reporters think we’re absolute whimps, softies, practically hand-in-glove with the powers that be. Bring a good London investigative reporter over here and even your trash isn’t safe.

Jack

September 22nd, 2010
9:08 am

Although I was a very strong Handel supporter in the primary, I swallowed by pride and got in line to be a good republican and support our nominee. If the election were today, I would not do so.

It now appears the Deal campaign did all it could to keep his finanical wrong doings covered up at least through the primary. In other words, republican voters made their decision in the primary based on a cover up.

I greatly resent this and am certain that, if the true story of Nathan Deal and his cover up had seen the light of day prior to the primary, Karen Handel would be the party’s nominee today.

Since I am certain the both houses of the General Assembly will be controlled by a healthy republican majority that will keep Roy Barnes in check, I will either leave the gubernatorial line blank on my ballot or vote for Roy Barnes.

Nathan Deal does not deserve to be rewarded for this deceit.

deegee

September 22nd, 2010
9:08 am

Deal made the decision to jump into the governor’s race while carrying a lot of financial baggage. He tried to hide the baggage and he couldn’t. Now it’s all out in the open and no one is to blame but Nathan Deal. Suck it up, sweetie.

HollyJ

September 22nd, 2010
9:08 am

@JohnK Totally agree with you. People do need to look into this guy’s finances along with everyone else who wants to run for public office. What kind of family is this that she titles it,”Now its personal”. Lady, its been personal all along. Furloughed teachers, soup lines, layoffs. All that stuff is personal. Sorry that you family who used to be millionaires is now facing the same problems that regular Americans have been facing for years now. Nobody feels sorry for you or your family.

gm

September 22nd, 2010
9:09 am

Parent dont take bailouts? Oh, like the one George Bush first initiated to the American people.

Deal said he would consider the bailout given to Georgia by the Governement, consrvatives are a bunch of hypocrites.

Far-Right Conservative

September 22nd, 2010
9:09 am

Wow – she makes me want to vote for him. I was planning to leave the governor choice blank in November.

SpaceyG

September 22nd, 2010
9:10 am

Katie Deal (why was she not named at the top of this blog post, Jim?) has a lot of, shall we say, intellectual growth ahead of her if she’s still blaming *The Media* for exposing *issues* in the background of a person (of course her dad in this case which makes it painful but not necessarily fair game) running for the state’s highest political office.

But her laments about family financial ignorance are extremely valid. When one person fails financially, they hardly just take only themselves down with ‘em. A lot of associated family and friends get to suffer alongside too in times of financial disaster.

lmno

September 22nd, 2010
9:10 am

Your father’s ethics aren’t in question over the loan he cosigned. They are in question because of his dealings with the state over his car salvage business. If you want to know more about that, you can read the CBOE report.

Your father’s cosigning the loan your brother-in-law and sister took, is important because it is part of your Father’s investment history. People look at that and wonder how he will do with a state budget.

As far as your father’s hard earned money being all that was spent, that remains to be seen. So far, a bank loaned money to your sister, your sister has failed to pay it back. Your father is on the hook. Time will tell if he can pay it back, but so far, it wasn’t his money that has been spent.

Maybe you are right and he will pay it back with his own dime. However, if he has to declare bankrupcy, there is irony in his voting record in making it tougher for people to do so.

I hope your family does survive intact. I also hope your father is not elected to any public office again.

Sick&Tired

September 22nd, 2010
9:12 am

Katie – if your dad was not running for the Governor of Georgia; I would not care about his financial dealings. However, I live in this great state and believe that our governor should be a financially sound individual. That’s clearly not the case.

Also, the media is not to blame for this situation; they are only doing their job. I would be disappointed if they had not published the story about your fathers financial situation. They would be doing the people of Georgia a disservice. And WE THE PEOPLE; should know first hand about your fathers business dealings and financial responsibility.

Last, your letter has only put more attention on your families situation. If you can’t stand the heat; stay out of the political kitchen.

SpaceyG

September 22nd, 2010
9:17 am

N’mind. I see the name of the woman is now associated with this copy/paste of a *letter.*

Huh? A letter? Who writers letters anymore with Facebook and blogging at one’s finger tips? And WHO gave it to the AJC?

If someone did that to a *letter* I had written using real pen and paper, without my permission, I’d sue the crap out of ‘em!

GeorgiaPride

September 22nd, 2010
9:17 am

Shame on all of you. And shame on you if you don’t help your children in time of need. It’s unfortunate how all of their debts are now falling on Mr. Deal but, if possible, you too would back your children and their business ventures.

Leave his kids alone and quite frankly, Mr. Deal’s money is his own, not yours; the outcome of this investment was just one of many failures from the poor economy. I’m not sure how this can be turned into an ethics issue but again, leave his family out of it, especially the kids.

If Mr. Deal can rise up from this, he will be stronger and better for it. Georgians now know they have a real person running for governor that truly does represent them and isn’t living a life of glitz, glam, and glory. He is the real deal. A real person with a real family and real issues.

The Cynical White Boy

September 22nd, 2010
9:21 am

One attack might have been ignored, but this daily smearing by the King Roy media pawns will surely draw counter-fire from the Repubs. Maybe the National Repubs, since the State Repubs may not have the “go for the throat” mentality of the Bobby Kahn-King Roy campaign machine.

King Roy’s own household had best be in order, less some unseemly details come out about his money and family members – not that the AJC would print it, but news travels in this internet age.

This is exactly the kind of slash and burn arrogance that got King Roy and his Cup-Bearer Bobby Kahn defeated the first time around.

no way

September 22nd, 2010
9:21 am

Katie “the actress” seems to think one can go public yet stay private. Much like acting, a politician’s life is out there for the world to tear apart. She may realize that if and when she actually becomes an actress.

YourDaddyWasRight

September 22nd, 2010
9:22 am

———–It’s too bad that this young lady and her siblings feel attacked. It’s not fair, but it is the reality of the public life her Daddy chose. Her Daddy also chose to conduct his personal, financal business in such a way that, as an elected official, he was correctly subject to criticism. She ought not blame the media for reporting what he has done wrong and what he has failed to do. You don’t forget that you have a $2.85 Million debt that has to be reported in both federal and state camopaign disclosure and ethics documents. How does someone forget that? If he’s THAT forgetful, there is something seriously wrong. But the public doesn’t buy that explanation — one “inadvertant-failure-to-disclose” after another. The public also doesn’t buy his supposed lack of knowledge about his son in-law’s earlier bankruptcy. I thought this family communicated so well. At least that’;s according tio Deal himself. If that’s true, then it begs the question of what kind of son in-law does he REALLY have? Did his daughter share her husband’s prior bankruptcy with her Daddy or did she just choose not to bring it up? If so, there’s a likelihood that a fraud was perpetrated on the bank and its shareholders for failing to disclose such information. Somebody lied. The only question is who lied? I guess the question really is, “Who woukld have benefitted from the lie?” I think you can check the box that reads “all of the above.”

[...] Political Insider’s Jim Galloway has obtained a letter by Katie Deal , the youngest daughter of GOP gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal, in which she acknowledges she, too, was surprised by the amount of debt her parents face but was also angry about what she called attempts to smear her family as a “bunch of shysters and charlatans.” What matters to me is surviving this political nightmare with my family intact, despite the media’s attempts to make sure that doesn’t happen. While I’m not pleased with what has happened in my family’s business dealings, I am more displeased at the attempts to turn the issue into an attack on my dad’s morals and ethics. Someone please explain to me how guaranteeing your lifelong earnings to support your daughter’s valiant attempts at a business, survive or fail, is an ethical wrongdoing?! [...]

KJ

September 22nd, 2010
9:24 am

It is your father’s right to do as he pleases with his money. It is not his right not to completely disclose his financial affairs as required by law. He, like so many of other politicians when caught, is quick to claim a clerical oversight or beg for forgiveness. A $2.5MM loan is not an oversight but smells like someone hiding the facts. The finances of your sister and brother-in-law are not of concern to me (although the vultures in the media are stuffing themselves on it). It is more about your father’s inability to comply with the law.

Big Deal

September 22nd, 2010
9:26 am

A nice attempt by a daughter to defend her father. However, when Deal conducted business with the state and used his influence to continue that business at a time when cash was clearly critical to his personal finances, ran for and was elected to Congress and now is running for Governor – he gave up much of his financial privacy. Such was part of the basis for the congressional investigation where he had to report certain financial information and failed to. If he wanted privacy and to protect his family from this media storm, he should have retired from Congress and not chose to run for Governor. Under the circumstances, it might have been the prudent thing to do.

Light on Policy

September 22nd, 2010
9:26 am

These appear to be some heartfelt words from Katie that are laced with pure and understandable emotions but light on facts…

With that being said Katie, you can’t knock the “media” for highlighting what appears to be an unethical business dealing. You are cursing the weather man for reporting the weather.

Let me take a moment to shed some light on how commercial finance works. First, the amount of debt necessary to support a business is dictated soley on the amount of projected revenue that the business is able to produce. Personal guarantees occur all the time for business loans and are rarely called when the debt is in default. The underlying asset will typically be enough to payoff the loan that is encumbering the tangible assets of the business.Typically, banks, as an FDIC-insured institution, will use a formula where they lend only 30-50% of total asset value and set their terms/risk based on projected cash flows. Their lending practices as an FDIC-insured institution are consistently reviewed in order to protect shareholders and the confidence of account holders.

The fact that your father took out large loans for a business in a short period of time, that was obviously failing, raises serious questions as this falls outside of traditional commericial underwriting. That’s why a greater level of investigation is required to see if your father used his influence, as some are projecting he did, to funnel money to your family’s business or if this was simply over-agressive projections and financial modeling on the banks behalf.

Unfortunately, it appears that if journalists continue to dig deeper we may very well find that there are some ethical questions raised as the lending certainly falls outside of what is customary for lending.

lmno

September 22nd, 2010
9:26 am

Georgiapride, here is the problem with your argument. You write he was helping his children in a time of need. You also assert that the business failure was a result of the poor economy.

They built a 12,000 Sq Ft. sporting goods store in Habersham County. My kid needs a lot. He doesn’t need a 12,000 Sq. Ft. Sporting Goods Store in a rural county.

In the most of robust of economic times, I can’t imagine this being a good idea.

professional skeptic

September 22nd, 2010
9:27 am

Thank you, Ms. Deal, for your honest feedback. The vast majority of us, in spite of our comments, don’t wish ill will on your family. Most of us can relate to financial hardship, having experienced it in one form or another ourselves. We do not enjoy watching other families struggle.

At issue here, though, is who we want to elect as our next Governor. It comes with the territory: all politicians must be able to withstand harsh scrutiny. In Mr. Deal’s case, this scrutiny has given rise to a lot of serious, unanswered questions regarding his business practices and business decisions. As a result, we must ask ourselves whether someone in his situation should be placed in charge of our state. You’ve heard all the questions, so I won’t repeat them here.

We wish you well as your family works through these issues. From a “human” standpoint I regret that you have to do so under the spotlight of the media. Thanks again for addressing the matter.

dagny

September 22nd, 2010
9:28 am

Where did all the money go? The building only accounts for $700k of it. Dela put in $2 million of his own money up front and then after a series of bank loans they had another $2.8 million? So they had close to $5 million in a mini Bass Pro Shop?
If it went to inventory, then wasn’t that sold? Was that money used to pay back Deal? or the bank at all?

YourDaddyWasRight

September 22nd, 2010
9:30 am

———-Tell it like it is, IMNO!

Truth Hurts

September 22nd, 2010
9:31 am

The gubernatorial campaign has not been conducted on the basis of issues. Barnes has run it as a smear campaign and has laumched the personal attacks against Deal. It is truly sad that this political campaign has hurt Deal’s family. I have read some pretty hateful stuff on these blogs. I, for one (and maybe the only one), am sorry that Deal’s family has been hurt. Some of you should be very ashamed of yourselves. I doubt that you are, but know that those guilty of the unnecessary attacks on Deal’s family will pay for it in kind. Everything you give is always returned to you – with interest.

deegee

September 22nd, 2010
9:31 am

“Georgians now know they have a real person running for governor that truly does represent them and isn’t living a life of glitz, glam, and glory.”

Excuse me, he lives in a $985K mansion and owns a “cabin” worth $700K.

YourDaddyWasRight

September 22nd, 2010
9:33 am

———-GeorgiaPride: Repeat after me: He violated state and probably federal laws for failing to report information HE IS REQUIRED BY LAW TO DISCLOSE. Is he above the law or excused from it because his kids love him???? NO!

Confused

September 22nd, 2010
9:35 am

Will he attempt suicide too? I wish him the best, for he is mortal and subject to mortal frailty. That being said, that man is a lot more dirt that will be exposed in due time.

N Fulton Guy

September 22nd, 2010
9:41 am

Um… no one is attacking the family. We’re attacking someone who lacks the common sense to pour millions upon millions of dollars into a shaky investment. Especially when said individual wants to be in charge of our tax dollars.

People are calling him shady, because he (and his daughter) helped to cover up the bankruptcy in order to get him through the primary unscathed.

Katie, people will back off if your dad grows the balls necessary to admit he made a mistake. You can’t blame the big bad media for everything. Playing the victim isn’t leadership, its cowardice.

Rebelboy

September 22nd, 2010
9:41 am

Katie,

When you wrote this, did you know that it wasn’t “your sister’s business”? Do you know that your Dad had, to use his OWN WORDS, “50% ownership” in the business? That he bought that 50% stake for $2 million, that got pissed away? Read your Dad’s disclosures, for God’s sake! Whether you like it or not, this was your Dad’s business that failed, and he went to great lengths to avoid anyone knowing that. He won’t even say so today. He stuck a lot of people, including a lot of his neighbors, with unpaid bills from his business. That’s just a fact.

green green

September 22nd, 2010
9:46 am

A conservative value is teaching your kids money responsibility (like Katie is taking) not enabling them with big loan guarantees.

professional skeptic

September 22nd, 2010
9:46 am

GeorgiaPride
September 22nd, 2010
9:17 am

Mr. Deal’s money is his own, not yours…

Given that Nathan Deal ran a salvage business that derived its income from a taxpayer-funded, no-bid contract with the state, I beg to differ.

Plus, there’s the matter of us taxpayers being on the hook for the failed bank that lent Mr. Deal millions, which he now seemingly cannot repay in full.

Taxpayers will always be concerned about “their” money, and to whom and for what it’s going.

Another Dad

September 22nd, 2010
9:47 am

I’m sure Nathan’s daughter loves her dad, but what he’s done seems to have “enabled” her to not take her financial obligations as seriously as she should. She sounds spoiled to me. I hope besides the family value of loving her dad, she also learns the “conservative” value of fiscal responsibility from here on out. As for Nathan, he looks like a politician who thinks he deserves special consideration.

Deal me out

September 22nd, 2010
9:53 am

I agree with RebelBoy: Deal and Family stuck their neighbors, other small & large businesses, and the taxpayers (via FDIC) with their bad debt.

“Three companies sued the Wilders in Habersham County Superior Court. For instance, The North Face, a manufacturer of outdoor clothing, sought repayment of $43,690 in unpaid bills, along with $2,089 in interest and $4,603 in attorneys’ fees, court records show.

Like the others that sued, the company won a judgment against the Wilders – but collected no money.”

Is that a good, conservative business value? Is that “Christian?” Is that how he will run our state?

BillinGA

September 22nd, 2010
9:57 am

Dear girl. How old are you? Politics always has been and always will be PERSONAL. When someone runs for office, every part of that person’s life is under scrutiny and open to attack. And in this country, the media is the public’s watchdog. That’s why, when most people run for office, they first examine their qualifications, next their dirty laundry and third, they discuss the decision with their family and make sure that they all understand all of the ramifications a run for political office entails. Obviously daddy didn’t do a few of these important things.

RB

September 22nd, 2010
9:59 am

All politcians are liars; my vote goes to the one that lies the least! What has Roy Barnes lied about???

gm

September 22nd, 2010
10:00 am

Georgia Pride: Your comments is why most people think Georgia has a bunch of Hicks”’

This is a joke around the world, this proves what a bunch of hypocrites some conservatves are, why to you think this man would not disclose his records?

Congrats Georgia you have officially passed Miss, Ala with some of the dumbest hicks of the south.

RB

September 22nd, 2010
10:02 am

Hey GM, you’re not in Kansas any longer! Get used to Hick Town USA!

DMB

September 22nd, 2010
10:03 am

GOP “Ethics” – what a joke. It’s OK as long as we’re doing it, but if you try to do it, we’ll vote and pray and curse you ’til Jesus comes back. Georgia is a mess.

RB

September 22nd, 2010
10:05 am

That’s USE not used; sorry, this hick can’t pronunciation so well!

Dianna

September 22nd, 2010
10:06 am

I believe the ethics charge is coming from the way he handled the information, not the fact he used his money to help his daughter. He violated state and probably federal laws for failing to report information he is required to report.He is not above the law or excused from it because his kids love him. She is really confused and it apprears to me she is trying to get us away from the real issue. And she is rambling…she mentions the question about how her siblings feel but never addresses it directly! I think she is standing up for her parents, which she should but I think she would have been better off not to have said anything publicly. I think Deal is making a big mistake by allowing his daughter to post this letter. Grow up…both of you!

RB

September 22nd, 2010
10:06 am

DMB, this nation is a mess!

Doug

September 22nd, 2010
10:07 am

What part of “your father is running for governor and wants to be able to spend my money” do you not understand, and hasn’t your hardworking father been living off public funds most of his adult life? Get a brain.

Rational Citizen

September 22nd, 2010
10:07 am

“What my parents choose to spend their hard-earned money on is their business.”

“Someone please explain to me how guaranteeing your lifelong earnings to support your daughter’s valiant attempts at a business, survive or fail, is an ethical wrongdoing?!”

Because: a) it wasn’t only your parents’ hard-earned money, but the banks’ and the banks’ shareholders’ money; and b) had Mr. Deal ONLY gambled with his lifelong earnings it wouldn’t be a big deal, but he took out one loan after another with money THAT WASN’T HIS to support his daughter’s valiant attempts at a business.

The fact is, this man cannot manage his own personal or business finances, and yet he wants the citizens of Georgia to trust him with their livelihoods?! The man may be an honorable family man, but he is unfit to lead this state at a time when we face serious challenges that require a leader who has proven he knows how to run a business and manage risk.

findog

September 22nd, 2010
10:07 am

It’s never the issue itself it’s the coverup.

DMB

September 22nd, 2010
10:08 am

@RB – Sad, but true. Both sides of our political process have failed us.