Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jumping the Shark

When I posted about Jeffrey Brincat's fiesta fundraiser for Robert Dold, I had no idea that my post would produce such intense interest in the blogosphere. Neither did I realize the depth of anger I still felt over the Brincat family's subprime lending company Mercury Finance Co. which collapsed in 1997 taking my personal finances with it. Brincat was a top executive of that company.

The last 10-K before the company's collapse in January 1997, as a result of accounting fraud for which Brincat's father John went to federal prison in 2007, shows that Jeffrey Brincat was an executive officer of Mercury.

Mercury's operating subsidiaries commenced operations in February 1984 for the purpose of penetrating the market for small dollar amount consumer loans (average of $3,000 or less). The initial focus was toward small, short term, direct installment loans made to U.S. military servicemen.
Mercury Finance Company
FORM 10-K, December 31, 1996
Jeffrey Brincat now runs Consumer Financial Services Corp., a high-rate loan business not unlike Mercury Finance. Mercury set up shop mostly near military bases and lent money to GIs and other low-income borrowers at shamelessly high interest rates. Words like risk-return ratios were bandied about, but these were vulnerable soldiers we were taking advantage of. We the owners of Mercury were loan sharks, pure and simple. And I paid for my greed: I lost a lot of money, along with thousands of other shareholders, when Mercury collapsed. Shareholders lost $2 billion all told. John Brincat, too, Jeffrey's father, also paid and continues to pay with loss of freedom. But John never paid the shareholders a dime and his family still owns a mansion in Lake Forest.

When I learned that Brincat had lent his mansion in Lake Forest to Robert Dold this past weekend for a fundraiser, I wanted to shine some light on the connection between Dold and this end of the consumer lending business, particularly as it involves loans to military personnel. Particularly since Robert Dold professes to be such a big supporter of the military and, if elected, would have a say in financial services reform before Congress. High-interest lenders are fighting tooth and nail against any sort of reform of their industry, including caps on interest that can be charged.

I had expected this issue to be ignored, as most blog posts are. But the intensity of the reaction and several comments on my previous post led me to do a little more research on Jeffery Brincat, Consumer Financial Services, and the local candidates financially supported by them. Turns out Brincat and his wife have given $7200 to Robert Dold this cycle, according to OpenSecrets.org. (This is all publicly available information.) Executives and employees at Brincat's subsidiary companies in far-away Aurora, Berwyn and Chicago donated $3000 more, to a candidate who couldn't possibly have attracted their attention without Brincat's encouragement.


In addition to supporting Robert Dold, the Brincats donated more than $25,000 to Mark Kirk and other Illinois Congressmen in previous cycles.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Over on Team America, that blogger is defending this shark, saying he's a hard working veteran. TA actually censored a comment, claiming it defamed this big money Kirk and Dold fundraiser. Funny, but by my count TA has 4 articles about Alexi contributors, and over 55 comments regarding people that have contributed to his campaign. The 'double standard' is alive and well for the GOP in Lake County. For them, the law is but a tool, a means to an end, and not a way of life. To them, the tax payer and the everyday consumer is merely another source of profit, and not the source of all an elected officials authority. Moreover, whilst waiving that libel flag, TA forgets that TRUTH is a defense. Brincat is a slimeball who preys on servicemen and Kirk and Dold stink from their association with him.