A Republican candidate running for Washington County Treasurer in Tuesday’s primary previously said he defaulted on car loan payments and fended off attempts to boost his pay after his wife died during the COVID-19 pandemic had lost her job.
However, court records related to Mam Malick Thiam’s loan date back to 2010, when MCT Federal Credit Union of Rockville, Maryland, attempted to recover $20,753 from him, Washington County District Court records show.
The other Republican nominee for the county’s chief tax collector is Robert M. Breeding, who previously answered questions about a suspension he faced in 1994 while he was a Maryland State Police soldier and charges he was once involved in exposed to other matters.
Absent a third candidate’s enlistment campaign in the Nov. 8 general election, it’s becoming clear that one of the Republicans will be the next Treasurer since no Democrats have run for the primary.
Thiam, 72, of Hagerstown, is a residential/support manager for CSAAC, which provides services to autistic children and adults. The organization has 60 homes across Maryland and a school in Montgomery County, said Thiam, who works with prosecutors Del. Brenda Thiam, R-Washington, is married.
Thiam said in a recent interview with Herald-Mail Media that he took out a loan to buy a $27,000 vehicle, mostly for his job.
When his wife lost her job about two years ago just before the COVID-19 pandemic began, Thiam said it was up to him to keep the couple’s bills paid. He defaulted on loan payments for a period of six months.
Thiam said a lawyer from the bank that granted the loan tried to garnish his wages. A judge dismissed the attachment attempt, and a settlement was reached to pay an outstanding balance of $5,000, Thiam said.
On May 31, the Washington County District Court records listed the matter as “settled.”
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How did the trial against Thiam come about?
In late 2010, according to district court records, Thiam was issued a subpoena to appear in Washington County District Court for an upcoming trial on the matter. MCT Federal Credit Union claimed Thiam defaulted on a contract and the credit union demanded $20,753 from Thiam and his wife.
“Requests for payment were made and declined,” the filing said.
On July 7, 2016, MCT Federal Credit Union petitioned the court to vacate a termination order in this case. The credit union said in court filings that Thiam filed a settlement plan in which he would pay $200 a month. But the credit union claimed he didn’t make the payments as agreed.
Earlier this year, Thiam filed a letter with the court asking for leniency over a garnishment on his bank account. Thiam said in the letter that he is doing his best to pay his monthly bills, but sometimes he faces financial challenges.
Contacted by phone last week, Thiam said the legal challenges stemmed from a difficult time in his life when he was trying to provide for his family and meet his financial obligations.
He emigrated from Guinea in West Africa in 2000 and alternated between different jobs. He recalled that when he arrived in the US, he “only had $50 in his pocket.”
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“It was a difficult time for me”
Thiam said he started teaching college and eventually made $5.60 an hour as a consultant.
“You can imagine how much you can bring home at $5.60 an hour.” said Thiam. “It was a difficult time for me.”
He stressed that the loan had been paid off and that he was now ready for new challenges.
“Now I feel like I can do something (positive),” said Thiam.
What Breeding said about the police suspension, unrelated charges
Breeding, 63, was suspended from his job as a state police officer in 1994 after he was accused of going into a Baltimore County nursing home, showing his badge and announcing that he was investigating reports of Alzheimer’s patients being forced to vote according to a report on November 13. 1994, article in the Washington Post.
It came during a close gubernatorial race between GOP nominee Ellen R. Sauerbrey and Democrat Parris N. Glendening. In his free time, the Republican candidate worked in breeding.
A state police spokesman said at the time that soldiers were not allowed to act on behalf of a campaign while posing as state police officers.
Breeding said the allegations were unfounded and he was reinstated with pay. He denied conducting such an investigation, saying the allegations came from a person he knew at the home, who identified him as a soldier when he entered the facility.
According to a December 26, 2008 report in the Cumberland Times-News, Breeding was accused of breaking into his estranged wife’s home in Cumberland, Maryland on Christmas Eve. He was reportedly charged with burglary, trespassing, theft and resisting arrest.
Breeding said the charges were dropped, and he attributed them to allegations that “got out of hand” in a divorce.
He also admitted that he was charged with two counts of perjury in 2008 for allegedly making false statements in a divorce proceeding. He said there was no conviction, adding that anyone can go to court and make an allegation, no matter how specific. That’s when the “truth comes out in court,” Breeding said.
In a recent question and answer session in the Herald-Mail, candidates cited experience or education as preparation for the post of district treasurer.
Breeding said he has managed over 200 employees in a four-state region and is well qualified to run a small office. He also has experience with budgets in excess of $75 million and believes he has a broad knowledge of government technology information management and processing systems.
Thiam said he has a bachelor’s degree from University Polytechnic Gamal Abdel Nasser, Guinea; a Master’s degree from CUL Belgium in Political Science and Management; and an MBA from Strayer University. He said he studied a professional computer accounting program at Ashworth University in Atlanta. He worked for 25 years as Superintendent at ALCOA, a Halco subsidiary in Guinea.