When the Drug Enforcement Agency goes prospecting for new agents in the Midwest, who do they send out as the face of the organization?
A man who is best known for perpetrating an infamous road-rage incident and subsequent beating of a Kansas City, Kansas, man, one that cost local and federal governments thousands of dollars.
Tim McCue about a year ago was reassigned from the Kansas City-area DEA office to St. Louis, where he now works for the agency as a recruiter.
McCue was an on-duty DEA agent in Kansas City, Kansas, on July 10, 2003, driving an agency car that afternoon. He got in an accident with a KCK man named Barron Bowling, who was driving to pick up a prescription. Both cars collided when they were headed the same direction on a narrow road in KCK. McCue was passing Bowling on the right, triggering the accident.
If Scientology was doing renovation work at 1801 Grand recently, then they did so without noticing this broken window for days.
The Church of Scientology has told Jackson County over the years that it's working hard at renovating the building at 1801 Grand that it purchased in 2007. But city permit records indicate that local Scientologists are hardly working.
In the current edition of The Pitch, which hit the streets on Wednesday, we examined how scant work appears to have been done on the stately downtown Kansas City building since Scientology bought it in 2007 for a shade more than $5 million.
The apparent inactivity begged the question: Does Scientology deserve to have a property-tax exemption at a piece of real-estate valued at $3.5 million if it's not doing much of anything with it?
908 Baltimore, former home to LTS Management and other onlline payday-lending operations controlled by Kimball and Furseth.
In April 2014, an entity called NorthRock LLC filed suit in Jackson County court against Del Kimball, Sam Furseth and several of the online payday-lending companies they owned and operated. According to the suit, NorthRock was formed for the purpose of providing loans to intermediary entities — primarily KSQ Management, owned by Joel Tucker — that in turn lent money to Kimball and Furseth’s online lending companies. In 2013, Kimball and Furseth stopped paying back the loans. NorthRock alleges that the loans it made were guaranteed and is seeking from Kimball and Furseth the full amount: $35 million.
In January of this year, an agreement was reached whereby Kimball and Furseth would pay monthly $50,000 installments to NorthRock — a fraction of the monthly payments due under the original note agreement, according to NorthRock — for a one-year period, until Kimball and Furseth could figure out a way to pay off the $35 million principal NorthRock alleges it is owed.
So far, three payments have come due. NorthRock hasn’t seen a penny.
In 2013, I drove two and a half hours west from Kansas City, to the Salina, Kansas, headquarters of Quality Record Pressing. Along with Acoustic Sounds (a retailer and distributor of new and used records), Analogue Productions (a record label), and Blue Heaven Studios (a recording studio), QRP is part of a music empire helmed by an eccentric audiophile named Chad Kassem. When I visited, Kassem had been pressing vinyl for only two years, but he was quietly gaining a reputation in the industry for producing some of the cleanest, highest-fidelity records in the United States.
Although vinyl sales continue to rise — 9.2 million units were sold in 2014, the most since 1991 and a 52 percent increase over 2013 — production is running behind. That's because there's a dearth of new pressing equipment available. After CDs were introduced, manufacturers assumed that the record presses and plating tools required to make vinyl records would become obsolete, and they stopped producing them. So part of the challenge for people like Kassem is to locate old presses (QRP's have come from Sweden, South Korea, London and various U.S. locations) and refurbish them in order to meet the demands of an increasingly vinyl-hungry public.
Yesterday, QRP announced that it has acquired 13 vintage presses, which will bring its total count up to 27 presses, doubling its production capabilities.
Ever since 2000, the Hilton Garden Inn hotel in downtown Kansas City, Kansas, has been a money loser.
Because it's half-owned by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, the hotel requires public subsidy to stay afloat.
The UG is now thinking about offloading that liability.
A spokesman for UG confirms today that City Hall is looking for a real-estate broker to help evaluate a possible sale of the hotel.
"The UG has released a notice of need for a firm to provide brokerage services for the potential sale of the Hilton Garden Inn," writes UG spokesman Edwin Birch in an e-mail. "However, we are still in the process of evaluating the responses to the notice of need and have nothing else to share at this time."
In September, the Federal Trade Commission shut down CWB Services, an online payday-lending operation in Mission, Kansas, allegedly controlled by Tim Coppinger. The feds also froze all Coppinger's bank accounts and assets, in order to preserve the possibility of relief for consumers whom his operations had allegedly taken advantage of. Coppinger is accused of conning consumers out of tens of millions of dollars by "trapping them into loans they never authorized and then using the supposed 'loans' as a pretext to take money from their bank accounts," according to the FTC.
The civil case has been ongoing for about four months now. Federal Judge Dean Whipple has kept Coppinger's asset freeze pretty cold. Coppinger has been ordered by the court to downgrade his vehicle and sell his house at Lake Lotawana. Whipple has also denied Coppinger's requests to unfreeze nearly $18,000 to pay taxes owed to the IRS, and to free up $800 for "children's clothing" in the months of November and December.
AMG Services, the Overland Park-based online payday-lending giant controlled by race-car driver Scott Tucker, entered into a settlement agreement with the Federal Trade Commission on Friday. The company will pay $21 million to the FTC and forgive $285 million worth of outstanding loans and fees owed by borrowers.
The $21 million settlement is the largest ever by the FTC in a payday-lending case.
“The settlement requires these companies to turn over millions of dollars that they took from financially-distressed consumers, and waive hundreds of millions in other charges,” Jessica Rich, director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. “It should be self-evident that payday lenders may not describe their loans as having a certain cost and then turn around and charge consumers substantially more.”
An appraisal firm hired by the Johnson County Commission last year to study the market for the King Louie building at 8788 Metcalf decided that it would make sense to hear from a broker who once listed the property for sale.
Audrey Navarro, a broker for Kessinger Hunter, told Valbridge Property Advisors that the old bowling alley and ice rink was a tough sell to interested buyers such as churches, indoor sports companies and ice rink operators. They suggested to her that it made more financial sense to tear down the structure and build something new along the Metcalf thoroughfare rather than try to convert the existing building into something usable.
Navarro added, according to the appraisal report, that when King Louie sold to Johnson County for $1.95 million in 2011, the property sold above market and that the building itself couldn't fetch $10 a square foot, or $761,260, if it went back on the market today.
Mounting legal troubles for the former owners of LTS Management.
LTS Management, an online payday lending operation located at 908 Baltimore in downtown Kansas City, more or less went poof last year, following the U.S. government's crackdown on its business model.
A tremendous amount of money is at stake in such operations, which is why everybody involved in them is scrambling to conjure up new ways to replace the unrealistic profit margins that businesses like LTS Management once enjoyed. One way to do that is to go international — to find countries where the laws are looser regarding predatory lending. Del Kimball, owner of LTS Management, has been attempting to build up payday operations in Russia since at least 2012, according to documents obtained by The Pitch. A new lawsuit, filed by a lobbying firm last month in federal court in Colorado, offers some interesting details about Kimball's efforts.
More than 4,600 New Yorkers are eligible for refunds from National Credit Adjusters.
Consumer lending at interest rates exceeding 16 percent constitutes usury in New York, making payday loans — which often carry interest rates of several hundred percent — illegal in the state. It is also illegal for debt collectors to attempt to collect on payday loans in New York. “Studies clearly show that payday loans are not a solution for people with low incomes, but rather a high cost debt trap," Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned debt collectors last year. "That’s why they are illegal in New York, and the State will continue to protect consumers from these misleading loans.”
The cockroach operations that populate the predatory online-lending industry (which often try to skirt these laws by merging with American Indian tribes and incorporating offshore shell companies; more here) have occasionally insisted that these laws don't apply to them because they are lending over the Internet and are not technically based in New York. That argument does not hold much water in New York, which has been especially aggressive in snuffing out predatory short-term lenders.
Still, many operations continue to make and collect on payday loans in New York (and Arkansas and several other states that have outlawed payday loans), believing that the profit upside outweighs the fines they may incur.
One such business, based in Hutchinson, Kansas, just tested that theory again.