Some debts never die, at least, according to California novelist Judith Freeman, who in her latest work traces her family genealogy back to a group of polygamist families living in the northern Arizona wilderness.
In "The Mormon Chronicles: A Meditation In Four Parts," Freeman says her great-grandfather, William Jordan Flake, and Mitt Romney’s great-grandfather, Miles P. Romney, were patriarchs of adjoining Mormon communities back in the mid-19th century. Miles P. Romney, it turns out, was indebted to Freeman's ancestor, and now Freeman's taken her argument for repayment to the public.
The story begins when federal marshalls targeted the prominent Mormons, eventually arresting both under strict anti-polygamy laws. Romney skated on the co-habitation charge by sending two of his three wives into hiding, but another charge -- relating to land dispute claims -- stuck.
"Now we come to the matter I’d like to bring up with Mitt," Freeman writes in the "Los Angeles Review of Books."
Flake had more money than Romney and ended up posting bail -- set at $1,000 each -- for both men. But Romney allegedly skipped town and fled to Mexico with his wives and their children. "He left my great-grandfather Flake holding the bag," Freeman writes.
Now, about 130 years later, the author estimates the debt to be worth about $25,000. (She's willing to let the interest on the bill slide.)
"It's never too late to make a situation right, and since Mitt Romney seems to have sufficient funds now to cover his ancestor's old debt, I'd like to call upon him to do so," Freeman writes.
The presidential candidate's fortune is hard to pin down, with his assets generally thought to be worth anywhere between $85 million and $264 million, according to CNN.
Either way, the former Massachusetts governor can probably afford the bill.
After all, the Romneys declared a loss of $77,000 on their 2010 tax returns for their share in the care and feeding of their top dressage horse, Rafalca, according to The New York Times.
If Romney does decide to honor his ancestor's bond loan, Freeman said he can be assured the money will be distributed fairly and equally among William Jordan Flake's approximately 15,000 living descendants.
This is not the first time details of the Romney family saga have come to light. The prominent Mormon's family history has been examined carefully during his many years in public office, and in January a new biography titled "The Real Romney" was released by publishing house HarperCollins.
Written by a pair of veteran Boston Globe reporters, the investigative book included several details of Miles P. Romney's life. However, according to this account, the elder Romney had five wives, more than 30 children and was ordered to flee to Mexico by church officials, the Washington Post notes.
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Car dealerships are one place where price negotiations are expected. While sales staff like to focus on monthly payments, it's smarter to negotiate the overall price, <a href="http://moneyland.time.com/2012/08/13/12-things-you-should-always-haggle-over/#1-cars" target="_hplink">according to <em>Time</em></a>. If you're buying a used car, always be sure to look up the vehicle's actual Blue Book value. Have the car inspected and haggle for a lower price if it needs servicing.
The <a href="http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/homes/rea09.shtm" target="_hplink">FTC advises consumers</a> to shop around and negotiate all mortgage rates and fees, and doing so can save thousands of dollars. Those with good credit scores can often negotiate for a lower APR, while everyone should discuss lowering or eliminating certain <a href="http://www.lender411.com/five-mortgage-closing-costs-you-can-negotiate-lower/" target="_hplink">closing fees</a> and processing charges.
Monthly rent rates are totally negotiable, especially when you're renewing a lease. "If you pay on time every month, it'll be worth it for your landlord to offer you a better rate than to take a gamble with a new tenant," says HuffPost Money Editor Emily Cohn.
Customers often get caught by surprise when their monthly service charges skyrocket due to expired promotional rates. "Generally, keep track of what competitors are currently charging new customers, and indicate to your current provider that you are considering switching. Tell them the deal you saw, and ask them to match or beat," Edgar Dworsky, founder of ConsumerWorld.org <a href="http://moneyland.time.com/2012/08/13/12-things-you-should-always-haggle-over/#11-phone-tv-and-internet-service" target="_hplink">told <em>Time</em></a>.
Credit Card Fees
While not everyone is capable of haggling for a lower interest rate, you may have luck negotiating out of penalty fees, especially if you're generally a good customer. If you're looking into opening a new card, be sure to <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0711/7-Fees-That-You-Should-Always-Negotiate.aspx#axzz24lTQxmHG" target="_hplink">mention competitors' offers and rates</a> to the company representative.
Customers can often negotiate the elimination of annual fees or registration costs when beginning or renewing memberships. Often, the <a href="http://moneyland.time.com/2012/08/13/12-things-you-should-always-haggle-over/#12-subscriptions-and-memberships" target="_hplink">threat that you may take your business elsewhere</a> is enough to bend a customer-service rep into giving you a deal, according to <em>Time</em>.
Home And Yard Maintenance
With the home <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/06/june-jobs-report-unemployment-rate_n_1653579.html" target="_hplink">construction industry still struggling</a>, maintenance workers are more willing to negotiate prices for services. Discuss <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/pf_article_111978.html" target="_hplink">opting for lower-cost materials</a> and discounts on labor, advises Yahoo Finance.
Be sure to inspect clothes off the rack before bringing them to the checkout counter. If you find a pull or a small stain, pointing it out to a salesperson might snag you a discount on the item.
If you're going to haggle on anything, it should be on used goods. You should take the price tag at a garage sale or antique shop as a suggestion.
Much like credit card companies, travel sites compete with each other for customers, so make sure to shop around before booking a vacation. If you're using a travel agent, don't be afraid to reference deals you find online. If a travel site or agent won't <a href="http://moneyland.time.com/2012/08/13/12-things-you-should-always-haggle-over/#8-vacation-lodging" target="_hplink">budge on the per-night rate</a>, they may offer a deal on transportation or throw in a perk, like a spa service.