Simply ask the U.S. Senate candidate exactly how many residences he owns. Just like U.S. Sen. John McCain, Thompson has a hard time keeping track.Perhaps Thompson, who has been notoriously grouchy and intractable about releasing his tax returns, is just overly defensive about his newfound wealth.
"Three," the veteran Republican responded last week at a campaign event.
Thompson has three houses? Isn't there another one?
"No," he answered without hesitation.
OK, everybody knows about the farm in his hometown of Elroy and the house in Madison. There's also his family's relatively new 10,889-square-foot home on the outskirts of the Walt Disney World Resort in Kissimmee, Fla. A Thompson family trust bought that edifice—and its "top of the line everything," an online ad says—for $675,000 last year after the bank-owned property was marked down from its original $1.4 million asking price. [...]
Thompson—who is running against Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin—had forgotten his condo off Lake Wisconsin in Sauk County. The property is currently assessed at more than $1.3 million.
Four houses for the former four-term governor.
Or maybe he just has a really hard time keeping track of all of his residents. Back when he was living in D.C. as a part of the Bush administration, Thompson got into the house-flipping craze, but with a twist. He bought and sold nine townhouses in the D.C. area over the past decade, cleverly avoiding financial disclosure.
Why? Because properties used only as private dwellings are deemed exempt from disclosure, and Thompson lived in all the units, moving from place to place every few months as he saw a bigger, better townhouse, his spokesman, Tony Jewell, said yesterday.He only "lived" in one of those townhouses for two weeks before turning it around. In all, he made over half a million in turning these townhouses around, just a drop in the bucket of his personal worth, which is at least $13 million. Again, he's refused to share his tax returns, so that's an informed guess.
Too many houses to keep track of is not a problem that most Wisconsin voters can relate to. And that, in turn, has got to make voters wonder whether Thompson can relate to theirs.