The couple at the heart of the ethics scandal involving Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., have defaulted on their Summerlin home and could lose it at a public auction .
Reconstruct Company, the Texas-based collection agency serving as the property’s trustee, has informed Doug and Cindy Hampton that it will sell the two-story house, which sits on a quarter-acre lot, at auction on Oct. 12 unless they take action to save it.
In a "notice of trustee’s sale," Reconstruct Company announced that the unpaid balance on the 2004 Slow Wind St. house, plus interest, expenses and other costs, totals more than $1.3 million.
Records show the Hamptons bought the 4,360-square-foot house, which has five bedrooms and a pool, in August 2006.
Doug Hampton has said he had trouble finding work after he publicly exposed Ensign’s affair with his wife.
His lawyer, Dan Albregts, declined to comment.
Ensign has been asking for contributions to a defense fund he created in May to help pay his mounting legal bills.
The Senate Ethics Committee and the Justice Department are running concurrent investigations into Ensign’s relationship with the Hamptons, who were family friends and had worked for him until May 2008.
Doug Hampton was Ensign’s administrative assistant, a top post in his Washington office, while Cindy Hampton was a paid treasurer on Ensign’s two political fundraising committees
Ensign acknowledged in June 2009 that he had an affair with Cindy Hampton over nine months in 2007 and 2008, and later said his parents gave the Hamptons $96,000 as a gift around the time they left his employ.
Investigators reportedly are looking into the circumstances of the check. They also are determining whether Ensign may have violated federal law in helping Doug Hampton obtain lobbying clients as a way to smooth his departure, and whether he directed his staff to help Hampton and his new bosses. A statute forbids senior aides from lobbying the Senate for a year after they leave.
Ensign has said he helped Hampton get a job but has denied doing anything illegal or improper in the process. The senator also maintains he has repaired his relationship with his wife and family, and is attempting to do the same with Nevada constituents.
Ensign spokeswoman Jennifer Cooper did not return calls seeking comment.