The loans from a pair of banks were made to Deal and his business partner, Kenneth Cronan, in 2009, but were not included on the financial disclosure Deal filed with the state Ethics Commission for that period. Deal is the Republican nominee for governor.
Asked about the missing loans on Thursday, Deal said he would amend his state form to include them.
"I think it was an oversight," the former congressman from Gainesville said.
By early afternoon, the Deal camp had filed a new form with the state that listed the loans - $2.5 million from the Gainesville office of Branch Banking and Trust Co. and $350,000 from Winder-based Verity Bank - as contingent liabilities, meaning his liability is uncertain and as such they do not count against his net worth. It also listed a separate $750,000 line of credit from the Branch Banking and Trust Co. on the form, but said that during that calendar year the credit line had not been tapped.
The media discovered the loans after reviewing property and security deed records as well as Deal's financial disclosure form.
Candidates are required under state ethics law to disclose financial liabilities, including personal loans and mortgages. Deal says the loans are all business loans, and State Ethics Commission Executive Secretary Stacey Kalberman could not immediately say whether such loans were required by the state.
Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said there were conflicting views within the campaign about whether business loans had to be disclosed.
"We decided to go with transparency. We want to make it right," Robinson said.
The disclosure snafu is more financial bad news for Deal who acknowledged he is facing economic turmoil from a bad investment in his daughter's failed sporting good business. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported on Wednesday that Deal faces a Feb. 1 deadline to pay back a $2.3 million bank loan for the venture. His daughter and son-in-law declared bankruptcy. Deal and his wife, Sandra, are trying to sell their Gainesville home to help satisfy the debt.
Deal on Wednesday ruled out a bankruptcy filing and said he will make good on the financial obligations, even though the debt exceeds the total value of his assets.
The loans disclosed on Thursday suggest that Deal's debt is even deeper.
He listed a net worth of $2 million. Taken together the debts total over $5 million.
"The two loans should definitely have been part of the state disclosure," Bill Bozarth, head of the Georgia chapter of Common Cause said. "The size of these loans added to what we know about the loans supporting his daughter's business means Deal's total indebtedness is much greater than originally thought."
The Deal camp, however, insisted that the newly-disclosed debts are for Deal's Gainesville auto salvage business and are secured by the $5 million value of the assets there.
Georgia security deed records reviewed by The Associated Press list Deal and Cronan - not the Gainesville business - as guarantors and say they executed the promissory notes. The Deal camp did not immediately provide underlying loan documents to back their claim that they were business loans.
Scott MacDonald, chief executive of the SW Graduate School of Banking at Southern Mississippi University, said the only way to be certain about the nature of the loan was to see the underlying loan documents.
But Robinson said the loans were taken out to expand the business to South Georgia.
"This was about job creation and business expansion," Robinson said.
Deal's Democratic opponent Roy Barnes, said Georgia voters deserve full transparency and suggested Deal was not providing it.
"You should have full disclosure," Barnes said. He called on Deal to release his full income tax returns as he has done. And he suggested Deal's financial troubles could be a distraction.
"We need somebody that makes sure they can give full attention to the state at this very critical time," Barnes said.