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Local Newspaper Investigates Curt Clawson's Spotty Business Record

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A local newspaper carefully scrutinized Republican Congressional candidate Curt Clawson’s business record last week.

The Naples Daily News sifted through public documents related to Curt Clawson’s time spent as the CEO and president of Hayes Lemmerz –a major supplier of wheels and brakes to auto companies.

Clawson, a political newcomer, is currently running to fill the congressional seat vacated by Trey Radel.

The retired businessman is largely running on his record as a quote “turn-around specialist.” Clawson claimed he helped the automotive company weather the economic recession.

Daily News reporter Matt Dixon, who co-wrote the story with Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, said during Clawson’s tenure in the company there were about 1,300 layoffs and 7 plant closures.

“It’s an element of his record that really hadn’t been articulated in campaign material or during public appearances or during commercials and things like that,” he said. “But we just felt it was important that as he touting his business credentials to make sure that both sides were out there for voters to take a look at.”

Also during Clawson’s time as CEO, Dixon said the company filed for bankruptcy twice.

The Naples Daily News also noted that Hayes Lemmerz relied on hundreds of millions of federal dollars to pay for employee pensions and health care while Clawson was at the helm—right before it was sold to a Brazilian company in 2011.

Clawson, whose salary during that time ranged from $1 million to $12 million, has been using his personal wealth to buy pricey political ads during the ongoing congressional race.

However, former executives at Hayes Lemmerz have defended Clawson.

Former CFO of Hayes Lemmerz, Mark Brebberman, said in a statement through the Clawson campaign that “Clawson was brought in to fix a problem he didn’t create.” He also said Clawson “made the tough decisions to save hundreds of good paying American jobs.”

Clawson is running against state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and former state lawmaker Paige Kreegel in the April 22nd primary.  

Here is the complete statement from the former CFO of Hayes Lemmerz, Mark Brebberman:

“It is an utter shame that the article failed to take into account that Curt Clawson was brought in to fix a problem he didn’t create.  When he took over there was already $2.2 billion in debt and already safety problems at the company.  He made the tough decisions to save hundreds of good paying American jobs and safety was world class when he left.  This is an American success story and he deserves a tremendous amount of credit.”

Ashley Lopez is a reporter forWGCUNews. A native of Miami, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree.