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Merry New House! Holiday Card Shows Payday Lender’s Values

Last updated on 2014.12.23

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.


  1. Jenny 2014.12.22

    Looks like the doughboy needs to lose a few if he wants to be able to get on a surfboard. They're ain't nuthin' wrong with makin' a good livin and bein' good at it, but I reckon the Pastor's bill won't hurt him but a tiny tiny bit.

  2. Jenny 2014.12.22

    There aint' nuthin wrong (I meant)

  3. Rorschach 2014.12.22

    Like the Brennans, I've spent many summers in Newport Beach. It was definitely a highlight of the year every year. But if Mr. Brennan wants to surf he's better off at Huntington Beach. Nice looking family. Nice house. Merry Christmas.

    And it was nice of Mr. Brennan to send Rep./Rev. Hickey a c-note. Just a shot across the bow no doubt.

  4. larry kurtz 2014.12.22

    LOL. Chuck's blood pressure must be hell to treat!

  5. JeniW 2014.12.22

    Cory, are you sure that Mr. Brennan has that much artistic creativity?

    More likely it was out together by his marketing team.

  6. john tsitrian 2014.12.22

    lol, Rorschach. It would be a trip to watch that guy thrashing around in the wedge.

  7. Jaka 2014.12.22

    Seriously, none of us who read this blog would come close to wanting to trade places with the likes of him--even if his dog don't do much.. I feel a little sorry for those that envy and lust for money and then showing it off seem to degrade themselves and their families in the process.

  8. Sam @ 2014.12.22

    Nice to see someone is willing to try a stop this type of scam.. I am sure we will see this card in many ads as Election Day approaches. I wonder if he is friends with Denny Sanford?

  9. JeniW 2014.12.22

    Sam, I certainly hope that Denny Sanford is wiser than that. LOL

  10. Roger Elgersma 2014.12.22

    Payday loans did not have a necessary niche in the market to exist until we had legal gambling. One bad brings another bad. But we get low taxes that way. Not responsible govmint for the people.

  11. Sam 2 2014.12.22


    Study how Premier Banks got into the credit card business. You will see my point

  12. JeniW 2014.12.22

    The State of SD condones and encourages gambling in it various legal forms because, like condoning and encouraging alcohol use, it generates funding.

    That is why I do not think Steve H. and Steve H. will succeed in their efforts to try to get the legislators to stop the payday loan businesses.

    If the Steves really want to help people who get caught in the payday loan system, and all the social/emotional problems that go with it, they need to advocate for additional funding to provide financial counseling before a payday loan can be approved.

    Banning alcohol did not prevent the financial, social, and emotional problems connected with consuming alcohol, so banning payday loan businesses is not going to prevent the financial, social, and emotional problems connected with gambling.

    Skin cancer is not effectively dealt with by covering up a cancerous sore with a band-aid.

  13. Patrick Duffy 2014.12.22

    This isn't an attempt to get the legislature to cap the usury rate, it's an Initiated Measure. That means the law will begin with the people at the polling booth, not with legislative action.

    Alcohol and interest rates are apples to oranges. If you ban alcohol, folks who want to drink will get ahold of it. If you ban loans which carry a rate of over 36%, nobody will get a loan with a rate above that amount.

    To ban the former creates a black market, to ban the latter is to extinguish it. Skin cancer seems to me best treated by never getting it in the first place.

  14. Moses 2014.12.22

    Will be casting my vote with Hickey on this one,Dont't agree on most issue I wonder if he is going to put THE BIG OTHER ONE TO A VOTE ALSO.

  15. John Hess 2014.12.22

    There's one person there who refuses to smile.

  16. scott 2014.12.22

    If the pawn shop was supposed to open Thanksgiving day, where is it? The website doesn't even say where. Perhaps there is a connection between no pawn shop and the cancelation of the Brennan beer blast.

  17. JeniW 2014.12.22

    Patrick, prevention is good, but it can still happen. People who have never smoked get lung cancer or other lung diseases.

    My mistake about the Initiated Measure.

    Banning the payday loan, will mean going to illegal loan sharks. Loan sharks have been around for years before the payday loan businesses started.

    I still say that the Steves need to advocate counseling for those who want a payday loan.

    People who want to gamble will do so, and use the black market loan sharks to get the money to gamble with. Gambling did not start when the payday loans went into business.

    Gambling, to me, is like flushing money down the toilet, but for others it is a form of entertainment, and for some it is their only hope of becoming financially rich.

    I doubt that the Steves, and their supporters will be successful in getting voters to ban the payday loan business.

    But let's say that the Steves are successful; how will the state make up for the lost revenue? Income tax?

  18. jerry 2014.12.22

    There are a couple of ways to eliminate payday loans with those high rates. Democrats were successful in getting the minimum wage increase so that should help folks by them having more money to stretch between the checks. The other thing would be video lottery, how many meager paychecks have been squandered by a little to much to drink and the whispers of those machines.

  19. Patrick Duffy 2014.12.22

    God bless Rev. Steve Hickey who, from the death penalty to payday lending, has had the courage to transcend politics and political labels and move forcefully into the arena where the ugly combat of politics is really fought.

    I first met him in Pierre when we testified against the death penalty. Love him, hate him, agree with him, disagree with him, the strength of his political fiber is both impressive and largely beyond debate.

    An entire congregation infused with his political courage and unleashed in a direction that can only be called "progressive" in the Teddy Roosevelt (quoted below) sense of the word will reap a harvest a wonder to behold.

    A congregation like that will move mountains.

    It takes real courage in a State like South Dakota to challenge the status quo, to really demand that things really change, more courage than those who've never done it can possibly imagine.

    Talk is cheap.

    Action counts.

    "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

    As a Democrat and a one-time boxing champion, I applaud the courage of the man in the ring.

  20. JeniW 2014.12.22

    I do respect Steve Hickey's effort, and I told him to his face that I appreciated his change of opinion regarding the death penalty.

    There are a lot of social ugliness, including with the glorification, condoning, and encouraging the use of alcohol. There are people who have died from their use of alcohol, and there are victims of alcohol users, yet no one is making the effort to put stores, bars, and other businesses that sell alcohol out of business.

    If both Steves and their supporters would make at least as much effort in dealing with the ugly impact of alcohol consumption/business as they are for the payday loans, I (and others,) would greatly appreciate it.

  21. Patrick Duffy 2014.12.22

    Kudos to Steve Hildebrand, as well; my omission of him in my last post was an unintended one.

  22. Rorschach 2014.12.22

    Where's the pawn shop gonna be Scott? We know you're not Scott Hoy because you wouldn't be asking that question. Scott Hoy's law firm is moving into the Dollar Loan building, and the pawn shop is going into the old Scott Hoy law office building on Russell Street across from the Arena/Convention Center/T. Denny Sanford Event Center. The pawn shop won't be confined to just that one building though. It will be bigger.

  23. bearcreekbat 2014.12.23

    I wonder if anyone has noticed the hypocrisy of the State of Nebraska's recent lawsuit against Colorado. Apparently Nebraska is upset because Colorado's liberal marijuana laws have created a market for illegal marijuana to be transported from Colorado to Nebraska. Can anyone in Nebraska say "White Clay" and "alcohol" and "Pine Ridge?" Please explain, if at all possible, the difference.

  24. Bill Fleming 2014.12.23

    As I suspected, one may to consult the dictionary of street slang to discern the proper connotative meaning of the latter pejorative term.

    Surprising to me, as far as insults go, the terms 'douche' and 'douchebag' appear not to be interchangeable, although I suppose it's possible for one to be considered both (or neither), depending on context, and the relative familiarity between the insulter, the insulted and the degree to which those witnessing the verbal exchange are familiar with the nuanced meaning of the two colloquialisms.

    Not wishing to overgeneralize, I'll leave it to Mr. Evans to clarify what he meant, even as i acknowledge his wish to retract and erase the whole piece of business. As Mr. Duffy notes, it is unlikely he will be allowed to un-ring that bell, so he might just wish to clarify it.

    I suspect he meant the term in the 'street' sense, and not the clinical one having to do with any type of hygiene.

  25. Bill Fleming 2014.12.23

    My post above was originally intended to go on the Kurt Evans thread and not here. Sorry. I will note however, that the term under discussion might also apply to Mr. Brennan, (if one were so inclined as to level such epithets at those perhaps worthy of them and run the risk of the word's meaning being misconstrued ;-)

  26. JeniW 2014.12.23

    Bearcat, Nebraska just wants a piece of that financial pie that Colorado is enjoying at the moment.

    The shoe will fall in Colorado in regards to marijuana. How and where I do not know, but there has to be people who want, and will get some of that wealth.

  27. This Guy 2014.12.23


    It is supposed to open Thanksgiving of 2015.

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