Woodland candidate pays debt owed on home rental

Election motivated payment, owner of property says

By Ray Legendre, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 

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Two days after an Oregon couple publicly blasted him for not following a judge’s order to reimburse them unpaid rent, Woodland City Council candidate Anthony Brentin wrote them a check for more than $4,800, erasing the debt.

Brentin’s check came three months after a Cowlitz County Superior Court judge ordered him to pay Brandan and Shana Stroh for rent, utilities and other unpaid costs associated with the two months Brentin and his wife lived in their home. Judge Gary Bashor also compelled Brentin to pay more than $1,400 in attorney’s fees.

Brentin’s timing in fulfilling his debt obligation did nothing to endear him to the Strohs.

“It’s obvious the only reason he is paying it is, he doesn’t want to lose face before the election,” Brandan Stroh said.

Brentin, a former Woodland fire chief, is running against retired aircraft mechanic Marshall Allen in the Nov. 8 general election. Allen tallied one more vote than Brentin in the primary election. They are fighting for a seat vacated by former Councilman Aaron Christopherson.

Brentin denied that his decision to pay the Strohs on Thursday had anything to do with his political race.

“That’s not the case,” Brentin said. “I had been working on getting them paid off for a while.”

Without warning Thursday morning, Brentin dropped off a check for $4,817.24 at The SunWorld Group’s office on Northeast 99th Street in Vancouver, said Paul Van Baalen, a property manager for the business.

Brentin and his wife, Shari, were evicted from the three-bedroom home in January for failing to make $1,400 monthly rent payments in successive months. Brentin attributed this failure to a “personal financial situation” that prevented him from paying the money.

Asked how he paid the debt, Brentin replied he had “money saved up” and “side arrangements.” He declined to explain what those side arrangements were.

Van Baalen will receive 8.5 percent of the money Brentin paid, as part of his arrangement with the Strohs. He said he had doubted the couple, who are part of the Oregon Air National Guard, would see their money.

Van Baalen, like Brandan Stroh, questioned Brentin’s timing.

“For somebody who didn’t pay a dime on the judgment and then all of a sudden he comes up with the money after it becomes public … it’s a little strange,” Van Baalen said.