O'Donnell was also having trouble paying her mortgage, according to the lawsuit filed by the mortgage holder on March 5, 2008. The mortgage company secured a default judgment against O'Donnell for $90,421.31 on May 13, 2008.
A sheriff's sale date was set for Aug. 1, 2008, in the heat of O'Donnell's campaign against Biden, who was about to join Obama's presidential ticket.
But a month before the sheriff's auction, O'Donnell sold the house at 518 N. Lincoln Street for $135,000 to Brent Vasher, who was working as legal counsel for her Senate campaign.
O'Donnell said she sold it to Vasher, who was her boyfriend at the time, with the intention of buying it back.
"I had every intention of buying it back, eventually, even as of this fall I wanted to buy it back," she said. "I chose to run for office instead."
Vasher, an attorney at SEI Financial in Oaks, Pa., declined to comment for this article.
O'Donnell said she was not aware of the mortgage company lawsuit and that she never received a notice of foreclosure.
She said she used the money raised by selling the house to pay off a home equity loan.
"I sold the house to Brent," she said. "I got out of debt so I could financially run for office and that's why I chose not to buy it again this fall."
Continues to rent
O'Donnell continued to live in the Lincoln town house until the summer of 2009, paying rent to Vasher, she said.
Next-door neighbor Kathleen Benedetto, 51, said O'Donnell arrived at the house one day last summer and couldn't get in. Benedetto said the locks had been changed. Neither O'Donnell nor Vasher would confirm why O'Donnell moved out.
"I told her she was a day late and a dollar short," Benedetto said.
Benedetto said it was miserable living next door to O'Donnell for five years. She said Vasher gutted the home, removing piles of trash after taking possession.
Wilmington city records detail several complaints about the upkeep of the house while O'Donnell lived there.
In September 2008, she was ticketed for high grass and weeds, according to city records. The ticket was appealed and later paid. The ticket was a result of a complaint that the high grass was providing a breeding ground for opossums, according to Wilmington spokesman John Rago.
O'Donnell said the ticket was issued in the middle of the campaign season while she was busy running for office.
Benedetto said the opossums were getting into her own backyard and that the high grass also coincided with a mice infestation in several row homes. She said her house cat killed about a dozen mice that summer.
O'Donnell blamed neighbors for feeding the opossums, but refused to say which neighbors.
During the summer of 2009, O'Donnell moved out of the Lincoln residence and in with a friend, O'Donnell said. Three months later, she moved to Greenville Place. She said she consulted an attorney about using campaign money to help pay the rent.
"If there is anything questionable, it is not our intent to break a law," O'Donnell said. "I do try to do what's right."