One of the three finalists for the vacant Natrona County Commission seat owes thousands of dollars in federal income taxes, has been sued repeatedly and incurred default judgments from local businesses, and has filed for bankruptcy twice in the past decade, according to county, federal and state court records.

Michelle Sabrosky of Bar Nunn was chosen by the Natrona County Republican Party's central committee Wednesday evening. The party also chose Paul Bertoglio and Morgan DeWitt for the seat vacated by Commissioner Steve Schlager on May 5.

The county commission will interview them at the old courthouse, 200 N. Center St., at 1 p.m. Friday, enter executive session to discuss the candidates, and reconvene to vote for the new commissioner.

Sabrosky is president of her family's business M&D Project Management, Inc., which also does business as M&D Construction.

According to her Facebook page, she describes herself as "Christian. Constitutionalist. Homeschool Mom." She also is the membership coordinator for Wyoming Gun Owners.

Over the past dozen years, the Sabroskys have been the object of numerous lawsuits:

  • In Natrona County Circuit Court, Michelle Sabrosky and M&D have been sued by Bloedorn Lumber; Recovery Systems, Inc.; Collectioncenter of Wyoming; Tri-State Equipment; the Wyoming Department of Employment; Account Information Management; and Unifund, CCR, LLC.
  • In Natrona County District Court, they have been sued by Homax Oil Sales, Inc.; JTL Group, Inc.; Wyoming Machinery Co.; Rocky Mountain Recovery (for Homax); TBF Financial, LLC; GMAC; and Caterpillar Financial Services, Corp.
  • In Wyoming U.S. District Court, STC Development sued the Sabroskys and M&D (then a Nevada corporation) in March 2006 for its work on a condominium development called the Village at Sage Creek.

STC alleged the Sabroskys and their company failed to protect potential lien claims that cost STC $133,000, and they used inferior materials causing damage to the project. STC also alleged they committed fraud by claiming they had paid all materialmen and workers in full when they had not. STC had paid M&D $829,547.39 for the materialmen and subcontractors.

In March 2008, the Natrona County District Attorney's Office charged Michelle Sabrosky with a felony for knowing she had not applied money from STC to pay M&D's materialmen and subcontractors. Assistant District Attorney Dan Itzen asked the court to send the case to circuit court. The case was dismissed after she paid full restitution, according to district court records.

Some of the court documents state Michelle Sabrosky and M&D often did not respond to summons about legal actions. That lead to District Court judges issuing default judgments for some of those businesses for more than $100,000, according to documents filed in the County Clerk's Office.

In another case, McMurry Ready-Mix Co., received nearly $58,000 for unpaid work from Sabrosky after a foreclosure sale of three of her properties in Bar Nunn.

The Sabroskys and M&D have filed for bankruptcy in Wyoming Bankruptcy Court twice in the past decade.

In December 2007, M&D filed for Chapter 11 (business reorganization) bankruptcy protection in Wyoming. Creditors in Wyoming included 71 Construction; Bank of Casper; BID Center; Gillette Contractor's Supply; McMurry Ready Mix; Menter Sand and Gravel; Teton Steel Co.; Worthington, Lenhart and Carpenter; Wyoming Machinery Co.; and Wyoming Rents.

In June 2009, the Bankruptcy Court dismissed the case because M&D failed to pay its quarterly fees.

On Jan. 27, 2014, the Sabroskys filed Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy protection. They claimed $311,555 in assets (mostly their house in Bar Nunn) and $407,149 in liabilities. The bankruptcy was discharged on May 29, 2014. The bankruptcy filing stopped legal actions by several creditors including another action by Wyoming Machinery.

The Sabroskys also have had issues in paying their taxes.

In recent years, the Internal Revenue Service has filed notices of federal tax liens for unpaid taxes dating back to 2005. The three most recent liens filed in January and May of 2015 totaled more than $221,000. There have not been any releases of those liens filed in the County Clerk's Office to indicate these taxes have been paid.

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In light of these business dealings, lawsuits and bankruptcies, Michelle Sabrosky responded to questions from K2Radio.com about their effect on her ability to serve if the Natrona County Commission chooses her:

How will these legal actions, many from local businesses, affect your ability to serve as a commissioner?  The commission deals with zoning change requests about businesses you may have dealt with. The commission also signs contracts for county work by local businesses that may harbor concerns about your past business dealings.

Our business went through some hard times, in a boom and bust economy small businesses sometimes suffer. I believe the experience our business went through gives me an opportunity to relate to many citizens and small businesses in Natrona County that have fallen on hard times as well.  
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The commission develops and oversees a budget. The public may wonder how you will be able to make decisions about managing the county's money when the legal actions suggest you have had sometimes sizable problems on a personal level. How will you respond to the public's concerns?

 
Again, I am in a unique position, as I can relate to those citizens and businesses in our County that have fallen on hard times.  We have been working hard to rebuild our lives after the hard times we fell on, hard times that resulted in the closure of our business and nearly resulted in the loss of our home. We are continuing to press forward, and I hope that would be encouraging to others who have been through similar situations. 

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One of the hallmarks of conservatism is the importance of personal responsibility. How do square these business dealings and the bankruptcies with the conservative values of personal and financial responsibility?
 
Owning a business comes with an element of risk, there is not a guarantee that everything will work out, and when the business falls on hard times, that burden falls on the business owner. Capitalism is a beautiful thing, I appreciate the free market, but that doesn't mean that it is always going to work to the benefit of every business.  Most people understand that not every business is going to succeed, the market drives the price, and sometimes the price just isn't enough to sustain a business. Again, owning a business in a boom and bust economy is a risk. 
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Do your supporters know of these legal and business problems?  If so, how have you explained the problems to your supporters?

I honestly do not know who knows and who does not know about these business issues, but if you write this piece, I suppose they will know when they read it.  If anyone asks, I am very candid and open.  I am blessed that God is a forgiving God and a God of second chances, I use my past mistakes not only as learning opportunities, but as a way to share what God has done in my life, and how He has helped me and my family in troubled times. I want to give people hope that even though we fall on hard times, bad things happen, or we make mistakes, God is still Sovereign, He is still merciful, He is still gracious, and He will pull you through if you allow Him to work in your life. 
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Likewise, does the Natrona County Republican Party know about the business and legal problems?
 
Disclosing past problems is not a prerequisite for being involved with the Natrona County Republican Party. And again, those who didn't know before, will most likely know after reading your story.
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How will you explain these issues to the county commissioners tomorrow?
 
Should this come up tomorrow, I will answer honestly. A person cannot hide from their past mistakes or the lemons that life has thrown their way. I believe in transparency and openness, so I have no problem owning my mistakes and anything that resulted from the troubles our business went through, and subsequently what we went through personally.