Exclusive: Cushingberry’s expensive tastes, 4 homes pushed him into bankruptcy

George Cushingberry Jr.
George Cushingberry Jr.

George Cushingberry Jr., who collects an annual $50,000 tax-funded pension and is a practicing attorney, managed to bury himself into debt with unpaid taxes, credit card bills and mortgages on two homes in Detroit, one in Lansing and another at a resort in Orlando, Fla., according to bankruptcy records obtained by the Motor City Muckraker.

The former state lawmaker and pastor exited personal bankruptcy just five days before he won the Aug. 6 primary election for a seat on the Detroit City Council this year. He owed more than $530,000 to about three dozen creditors, including the IRS.

The Cush, as he calls himself, claimed in his October 2011 bankruptcy filing that he was unable to pay his debts, which included $5,750 in monthly mortgage payments for homes at 18201 Cherrylawn and 8625 Marygrove in Detroit, 3200 Hepfer in Lansing and Westgate Resorts in Orland, Fla.

The filing came just 10 months after he served his last term in the state House in 2010, where he was making $79,600 a year.

When Cushingberry, now 61, filed for bankruptcy, he declared he was only making $25,000 annually as an attorney and $50,000 from his pension as a legislator. He didn’t claim any pension income from serving on the Wayne County Board of Commissioners from 1983-99.

Cushingberry stated his only money was $3,500 in cash. His assets included $600 in guns, $2,000 in fishing equipment and $1,000 in clothes.

He also was accused of “knowingly or fraudulently” failing to declare three cars, according to bankruptcy records.

Cushingberry, who was 21 when he became the youngest elected state representative in Michigan history in 1974, didn’t respond to requests for an interview.

In his second week in office, Cushingberry has caused quite the stir. He’s accused of trying to flee police after leaving a bar Tuesday – just hours after he – or now he says a staffer – told the Detroit News to “go to hell” for writing a critical editorial about his ability to lead.

In the state Legislature, Cushingberry was a trailblazer for civil rights and other social justice causes. He sponsored legislation to ban bullying, expand early voting and offer new opportunities for felons.

But a review of his voting record shows he often had the worst attendance in the House. He failed to vote on numerous controversial bills, such as several smoking bans, a prohibition on late-term abortion, a second bridge to Canada and public school reform.When he held the powerful post of chair of the House Appropriations Committee in 2009, Cushingberry missed 114 votes.

Cushingberry’s time as an attorney also was marked with trouble. In 2000, then-Attorney General Jennifer Granholm fired him from a Wayne County post that involved handling the estates of people without a family or will. Granholm’s office accused Cushingberry of mishandling hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Attorney Discipline Board reprimanded Cushingberry in 2002 and 2005 for unprofessional conduct.

In 2005, the next attorney general, Mike Cox, filed criminal charges against Cushingberry for alleged campaign finance violations, but the charges were later dismissed.

Outside of politics, Cushingberry is an assistant pastor with the Northwest Unity Baptist Church, where he’ll be preaching at 11 a.m. today.

“Church is where I find my strength,” Cushingberry said Saturday on 1440 AM.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • Greg Thrasher

    This is classic media model….Create a negro/colored/Black target that dares to offend the ruling class/white/suburbs/ bandwidth….Demonize the target with sleazy tabloid driven media feeding frenzy…Soon Black apologists will emerge seeking to burn Cush at a bonfire probably in Hart Plaza.. Motor City MuckRaker will be there doing ground breaking interviews..

    • pat odoyle

      Create a target. He sounds like an old fool, he has been screwing around for 40 years doing nothing, playing the race game, and most people are just hearing of him.

      He was not created, he kicked down the door, said he was rick james/dolemite/james brown/kwame junior and fuck all yall crackas.

      He was not created.

  • Dust Buster

    im waiting for a bloodshot eyed george to be videoed in a snowbank outside a club at 4:00am telling the camera THEY AINT NO SHAME IN MY GAME
    CUSH BE MINES NAME
    AXE ME AGAIN ILL TELL YA THE SAME
    WHITE POLICE TRY TO FRAME
    ITS ALL PART OF THE GAME
    IM A SAVIOR LIKE GEEBUS
    I LIKE TO EAT REESES

    SMOKE MY WEED DRINK MY RUM
    DRIVE CRAZY FAST TILL THE POLICE COME
    LIKE MC HAMMER THEY CANT TOUCH ME
    TOO MANY DIED TO FREE ME

    I SEE RACIST AROUND EVERY CORNER
    THUMB UP MY BUTT LIKE LITTLE JACK HORNER
    SMOKE WEED IN THE COLEMAN BUILDING ALL DAY LONG
    AT NIGHT I DROOL ON LADIES IN THEY THONGS

    I TALK REAL SLOGANS GET NOTHIN DONE
    I LIKE PULLED PORK IN MARIJUANA BAKED BUN
    RACE PIMPIN AND DRUNK DRIVIN AINT EASY IN MOST CITIES
    DOIN IT IN THE D IS EASY AS BREATHIN

  • Roberta Robson

    Does he have any children? Seems like a prime candidate for delinquent support.

  • Dust Buster

    nothin but a pseudo-ghetto-fabulous hoodrat keepin it real. what a trifecta. attorney, race-pimp and politician. been lying stealing and cheating legally and illegally for about 4 decades and nothing to show for it but an orange suit. old car and a trail of people he has screwed……..stand up detroit !!!

  • DIRK DIRKOVSKI

    WOW… Who the hell elected this MORON ?

    • Gary

      The people of Detroit

  • triumph_2012

    If only voters had known.

  • bebow

    He didn’t look good on Flashpoint this morning.

  • How did the Freep ever let you go. good job!

  • John Golembiewski

    To sum it all up he has a lot of flash, no cash and has not done the job!

  • Pay_It_Forward

    There is no end to his BS, LM@O !*!

  • A Chami

    Good info. But a little late, no?