Green Bay state legislator was sued at least four times for outstanding debt

State Sen. Eric Wimberger, who graduated from Marquette Law School in 2005, eventually satisfied the debt to the National Collegiate Student Loan Trust.


State Sen. Eric Wimberger, a Republican and attorney from Green Bay, was sued multiple times for failing to pay student loan debts, according to court documents. He settled the litigation in 2022 and 2023.

An attorney who earned his law degree from Marquette University in 2005, Wimberger was sued at least three times by the National Collegiate Student Loan Trust, an organization that buys and manages student loans. The trust claimed Wimberger owed it more than $36,000.

First elected to the state Senate in 2020, Wimberger sits on the legislature’s powerful Joint Committee on Finance, which wrote the proposal for the state’s 2-year budget that is expected to come to a vote soon.

The trust also sued Wimberger’s father, who took out some of the loans. The elder Wimberger died last year.

In response to questions from The Badger Project,  Wimberger said he lacked “family financial support” and took on student loan debt to help pay for law school. Wimberger also earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Cloud State in 2001.

Members of the 2023 Wisconsin State Legislature make an annual salary of $57,408.

“Continuing family medical and legal issues with my father starting approximately 12 years ago significantly impacted my ability to earn income and satisfy the loan obligation,” he wrote in an email. “My practice was also focused on defending the indigent, and unlike the stereotype, not all lawyers are wealthy. I never applied for assistance or sought loan forgiveness, as those problems are my personal problems and no one else’s. To date, I’ve paid the entire outstanding debt and it’s discharged.”

Loan forgiveness only applies to federal loans, not private loans, said Sarah Orr, a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School and director of its Consumer Law Clinic.

Orr looked over the court documents of the debt lawsuits for The Badger Project. She noted that Wimberger reached a repayment agreement with the trust in 2018.

In 2021, the trust filed affidavits of noncompliance, meaning he wasn’t paying. Eventually, Wimberger’s wages from the state were garnished to cover the debt and he paid off the loans in 2022 and 2023.

Sarah Orr is a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School and the director of its Consumer Law Clinic. Photo courtesy of UW Law School and Beth Skogen Photography.

Also an attorney, Orr has worked on cases in which the National Collegiate Student Loan Trust sued student loan holders.

“The interest rates are not controlled the way they are with federal loans,” she noted of the private loans. “People can get into pretty deep water pretty quickly with these student loans.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency that implements and enforces federal consumer financial law, is suing the National Collegiate Student Loan Trust, accusing it of making false or misleading claims against defendants.

Wimberger was sued a fourth time by another organization in March of 2022. Crown Asset Management, a debt collection agency, filed suit in small claims court seeking $1,850.96 from Wimberger, according to court documents.

“The Account agreement required Defendant to make minimum, periodic payments, but Defendant(s) defaulted on the Account by failing to make said payments,” the complaint states.

After the lawsuit was filed, Wimberger submitted a credit card statement showing he paid it a few days later, according to court documents.

The state senator also owes $25,000 on a family lake house in Oconto County. Wimberger told The Badger Project his father had fallen into debt on the home before he died last year, and the state legislator said he is now trying to save the property from foreclosure.

Wimberger’s 4-year state Senate term is up for reelection next year.

The Badger Project is a nonpartisan, citizen-supported journalism nonprofit in Wisconsin.

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