The new pawn shop payday lending magnate Chuck Brennan talked up in his Christmas card is now in the news. Brennan gets that Sioux Falls paper to promote his new Badlands Pawn, scheduled to open next Thanksgiving.

Brennan tells Jodi Schwan that he plans to spend $15 million to open not just a pawn shop but a 40,000-square-foot entertainment complex across from the new Sanford Premier Center as a response to what seems to be Brennan's gut feeling that plain old capitalism is a drag:

Somewhere [the pawn business] got to the point where it started to become a financial transaction and the showroom started losing its fun and people were just pawning stuff because they needed money, and they weren’t going for the pawnshop experience [Chuck Brennan, quoted in Jodi Schwan, "Entertainment Complex Coming near Events Center," that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.12.25].

Brennan's right: capitalism has no soul!

To make business more fun, the "Largest Pawn shop in the Midwest" will include a gold foundry, a gun shop, a shooting range (free for cops!), its own FM radio station with live DJs simulcasting on 30+ stations, a house band led by Metal Cowboy Ron Keel and auditioning professional players and back-up singers now, a tattoo shop offering free Badlands Pawn ink, and a ticket broker providing all your scalping needs in one convenient location within easy walking distance of Sioux Falls' new concert venue. Brennan promises to fly the largest American flag on the largest flagpole (yes, that's phallic) in South Dakota. Brennan also plans to hire nearly 100 workers.

I don't know if Pawn of America will "restructure the tourism routes in the Midwest," but Brennan's pawn shop does sound like fun. And since Brennan is diversifying his portfolio into entertainment, he'll feel even less pain when we cap interest rates in 2016 and drive him out of the usury business. Everybody wins!

111 comments

You folks think I go too far in razzing folks in the public eye for their Christmas cards? Check out Rep. Rev. Steve Hickey's take on the Christmas card Dollar Loan Center boss Chuck Brennan is sending:

Rep. Rev. Hickey says the recipient of this card reported that Brennan included $100 with this card. The recipient donated that $100 to South Dakotans for Responsible Lending, the group Rep. Rev. Hickey has formed with Sioux Falls restaurateur Steve Hildebrand to place on the 2016 ballot an initiative to cap interest rates at 36% and put Brennan and other payday lenders out of business.

Brennan shows his true values by featuring on the cover of his Christmas card not his family but a glowing glamour shot of his new house in Newport Beach, California. Zillow lists the May 2014 sale price of this 6,600-square-foot mansion as $9,000,000, with an estimated monthly mortgage payment larger than the annual paychecks of two-thirds of Brennan's customers.

Further tackiness ensues as Brennan mentions that his dog "doesn't really do a whole hell of a lot," language even this secular materialist would never consider using in a Christmas card. Brennan then closes by spending as much time talking up his business ventures as his family... because that's what Christmas is all about: business and the accumulation of material wealth (and, Gaia help us, a TV show about his upcoming pawn shop).

Brennan probably just whipped this Christmas card up himself. For the fight against the interest-rate-cap initiative, the payday loan magnate will surely hire much more skilled message-meisters to persuade South Dakotans not to interfere with Brennan's exploitation of South Dakota's working poor. After all, South Dakotans need those triple-digit-interest loans... and his fourth-grade son needs those summer sailing lessons.

30 comments

Last weekend, usury boss Chuck Brennan warned that we'd be party-poopers if we dared to pass an initiative to cap lending rates at 36% and effectively put him and other payday lenders out of business.

It turns out that was just a political head fake. Brennan announced yesterday he's having to postpone "Chuck's Kegger," his proposed Ribfest-challenging chili-and-music festival, not because of political pressure, but because he couldn't get his groups in a hoop:

Brennan said the inaugural Chuck's Kegger would be delayed and attributed the delay to scheduling problems with performers.

"Everyone is on board with the project but artists' schedules are hard to predict and the stars have not quite aligned yet," Brennan wrote in a statement posted Thursday on the event's website. "We appreciate the avalanche of support that we have gotten on the kegger and I'm sure there will be more news to come."

Planning for the event had been underway for around six months and included a website, logo, ticket prices and informational packets.

It's unclear when Chuck's Kegger will now occur, if ever.

Brennan did not return a call for comment Thursday [David Montgomery, "Week After Announcement, Rock Festival Delayed," that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.12.19].

Oh, yeah, announce your music festival before you ink the musicians—brilliant.

Poof goes one empty threat from the nervous usury industry. Keep your eyes open for more as the interest-rate initiative gets rolling in 2015.

Tangentially related update (12:57 CST): No kegger, but more Keg: Keg Chicken is returning to Sioux Falls.

4 comments

The payday lending industry is so worried about the Hickey-Hildebrand initiative to cap interest rates, they are threatening to take away our beer and ribs. In David Montgomery's last Sunday report, Dollar Loan Center founder and alpha shark Chuck Brennan warns of the profound cultural impact of shutting down his usury industry:

That includes "Chuck's Kegger," a new summer rock-and-roll festival starting next year in Sioux Falls. When he announced Chuck's Kegger this week, Brennan said he'd made a long-term commitment to the festival — but would change in a heartbeat if voters approve a rate cap in 2016.

"The event would end there," Brennan said. "If it isn't for the money coming in from Dollar Loan Center, there aren't these big concerts and donations. We donate every penny we get from the state of South Dakota" [David Montgomery, "Payday Loans Could Cease in South Dakota," that Sioux Falls online content experience, 2014.12.14].

(What? The state of South Dakota is giving payday lenders money? Let's knock that off right away!)

Rep. Rev. Steve Hickey knows the Bible is much clearer on the sinfulness of usury than the ills of missing out on one more kegger. Rep. Rev. Hickey responds to Brennan's empty threat appropriately:

"We will survive one less rib/keg-fest," Hickey said. "I care a lot more that that money is coming from people who can't afford chicken on their table at night. If he wants to say he's going to pull his big party away from here, I'm sorry" [Montgomery, 2014.12.14].

Heck, if South Dakota passes their initiative, I'll bet Pastor Hickey's Church at the Gate would be more than happy to have everyone over for potato soup supper and fellowship.

32 comments

Support Your Local Blogger!

  • Click the Tip Jar to send your donation to the Madville Times via PayPal, and support local alternative news and commentary!

South Dakota Political Blogs

Greater SD Blogosphere

SD Mostly Political Mix

Greater SD Blogosphere

Madville Monthly

Meta