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Payday Lenders Sue Attorney General to Delay Rate-Cap Initiative

Attack of the Payday Lenders: Erin Ageton, VP Select Management Resources
Attack of the Payday Lenders: Erin Ageton, VP Select Management Resources

Erin Ageton, vice-president of operations for predatory short-term title lender Select Management Resources, filed suit on June 5 in Sixth Circuit Court to delay circulation of the payday-lending rate-cap initiative petitions. Specifically, Ageton accuses Attorney General Marty Jackley of writing a faulty explanation of the initiative and asks the court to order Jackley to rewrite that explanation. Initiative petitions must include the Attorney General’s explanation; this lawsuit thus delays the Secretary of State’s approval of the petition for circulation for at least fifteen days.

This lawsuit pits Republican AG Jackley against Ageton’s prominent Republican lawyer Sara Frankenstein. Mmmm… this should be more fun than the lawyer-on-lawyer violence of the Bosworth trial!

Let’s look at the vital documents and passages first; then I’ll explain why Ageton is wrong.

Nuts and Bolts

The rate cap initiative proposed by Steve Hickey and Steve Hildebrand includes this key provision:

However, no licensee may contract for or receive finance charges in excess of an annual rate of thrity-six percent, including all charges for any ancillary product or service and any other charge or fee incident to the extension of credit [ballot initiative, included in Attorney General’s submission to Secretary of State Shantel Krebs, 2015.05.27].

South Dakota Codified Law 12-13-25.1 requires the Attorney General to prepare the following information for every ballot initiative:

…The attorney general shall prepare an attorney general’s statement which consists of a title and explanation. The title shall be a concise statement of the subject of the proposed initiative or initiated amendment to the Constitution. The explanation shall be an objective, clear, and simple summary to educate the voters of the purpose and effect of the proposed initiated measure or initiated amendment to the Constitution. The attorney general shall include a description of the legal consequences of the proposed amendment or initiated measure, including the likely exposure of the state to liability if the proposed amendment or initiated measure is adopted. The explanation may not exceed two hundred words in length… [SDCL 12-13-25.1].

To fulfill this statutory obligation to educate the voters, AG Jackley delivered the following explanation to the Secretary of State on May 27:

Title: An initiated measure to set a maximum finance charge for certain licensed money lenders

Explanation: The initiated measure prohibits certain State-licensed money lenders from making a loan that imposes total interest, fees and charges at an annual percentage rate greater than 36%. The measure also prohibits these money lenders from evading this rate limitation by indirect means. A violation of this measure is a misdemeanor crime. In addition, a loan made in violation of this measure is void, and any principal, fee, interest, or charge is uncollectable.

The measure’s prohibitions apply to all money lenders licensed under South Dakota Codified Laws chapter 54-4. These licensed lenders make commercial and personal loans, including installment, automobile, short-term consumer, payday, and title loans. The measure does not apply to state and national banks, bank holding companies, other federally insured financial institutions, and state chartered trust companies. The measure also does not apply to businesses that provide financing for goods and services they sell [Attorney General Marty Jackley, ballot explanation, submitted to Secretary of State Shantel Krebs, 2015.05.27].

According to Ageton’s application for writ of certiorari, the Attorney General left a key fact out of his explanation:

Although Respondent’s Statement accurately repeated certain parts of the Measure, the Statement fails entirely to mention the purpose, effect, and legal consequences of the Measure: to eliminate the short-term lending marketplace, and to eliminate a key source of short-term credit, in South Dakota [Erin Ageton, Application for Writ of Certiorari, 2015.06.05].

Ageton contends, with the supporting documentation in her affidavit, that putting short-term lenders out of business and forcing South Dakota borrowers to “turn to other less desirable markets” [Ageton App, p.9] are the certain and inevitable “purpose, effect, and legal consequences” of the initiated measure. AG Jackley must include this statement in his explanation to properly educate the voters.

Why Ageton Is Wrong

Folks in business or politics tend to confuse educate with propagandize. Ageton is asking the court to force the Attorney General to go beyond his statutory duty to explain the text of the law itself (which he does, objectively, clearly, and simply) and favor opponents of the initiative by promoting the political arguments and economic speculation they dress up as fact.

1. Ageton wants Jackley to tell voters that the rate cap will eliminate short-term lending. Ageton adorns that claim with math [App, pp. 10–11] demonstrating that revenue from 36% interest would not cover the cost of making such loans. Maybe Ageton cannot or does not want to operate under a 36% rate cap, but that’s a business choice, not an inevitable outcome of law. Ageton ignores the possibility that other, braver, more clever entrepreneurs could streamline, innovate, and offer short-term loans more cost-effectively.

2. Ageton wants Jackley to tell voters that the rate cap will force consumers to seek loans on “less desirable markets” [App, p.9]. Ageton says the banks and other institutions exempted from the rate cap “are not likely to provide credit opportunities to replace those lost when short-term lenders are forced to close their doors” [App, p. 13]. Ageton’s own words—”not likely”—and the words of her cited expert paid by payday lending opponents to prepare research against a rate cap proposal in Missouri in 2011—”almost assuredly” [App, p. 12]—fail her “certain” test. Her argument rests on the assumption of current market forces, in which predatory payday lenders take advantage of consumers; cull the predators, and other more desirable actors may be able to move into that part of the lending ecosphere.

Asserting that reputable financial institutions won’t fill the gap, Ageton wants Jackley to step beyond objectivity and stamp onto the petition and our ballots her opinion that other markets for consumers’ lending appetites are “less desirable” (an opinion we should expect of any business person trying to keep market share away from competitors). Even if there are less desirable options than predatory payday lenders, there is no certainty that consumers will turn to them.

The Montana experience refutes both prongs of Ageton’s flimsy fork:

The experience of Montana offers a mixed narrative—in the wake of regulations on payday lending, some borrowers have turned to credit unions, but it’s unclear what has happened to others. “Montana has zero licensed payday lenders since the passage of the rate cap in 2010,” Hall noted. Jacobson rejected the industry’s claims that the ban had hurt customers. “We didn’t see any of that,” he said. “We didn’t see a spike in bankruptcies, or even in pawn shops.”

Instead, Montana Credit Unions for Community Development’s small loan program “grew 25 percent in the third quarter of 2010,” Claudia Clifford, the Advocacy Director of AARP told me. The Montana Credit Union Network also ran a small-dollar loan campaign with 14 participating credit unions. Over 18 months, they issued 3,808 small loans worth $2.2 million, with an average loan of $575 [Sean McElwee, “The Odd Couple Fighting Against Predatory Payday Lending,” The Atlantic, 2015.03.19].

No payday lenders, but no bankruptcy boom, no pawn shop pick-up, credit unions making more small loans… Ageton’s claims don’t sound certain at all.

3. Ageton asks for an exhaustive explanation that contradicts Legislative intent. Suppose Ageton weren’t asking Jackley to play economist fortuneteller. Suppose she were talking about absolutely certain impacts of the rate cap and that those certain impacts met the definition of “purpose”, “effect”, and “legal consequences” (which Ageton argues are mostly identical and include almost anything—see App, pp. 6–7).

A law can have multiple purposes, effects, and legal consequences. If the Legislature had intended for the Attorney General to list every certain outcome of a law, not to mention Ageton’s Rube-Goldberg machine of possible impacts (law caps interest rates, we payday lenders quit, innovation fails to happen, banks don’t step up, consumers all pawn their titanium hips…), the Legislature would not have limited the Attorney General’s explanation to 200 words. While the Legislature’s recently added mandate of a statement on legal liability to the state biases the ballot against ballot measures, the word limit and the directive words “objective, clear, and simple” in SDCL 12-13-25.1 make clear the Legislature’s intent that the Attorney General stick to the legal facts and leave further analysis and argument to the press and the campaigns.

But hey, if Ageton really wants AG Jackley to lay it all out for us in his explanation of the rate-cap initiative, maybe she’d prefer the AG write that the purpose of this ballot measure is “to put these usurious SOBs out of business.” Payday lending is certainly usury, and I’ll bet we could find numerous customers who would say their payday lenders are SOBs with at least as much certainty as Ageton puts into her arguments. Yet those statements would violate the AG’s charge to write an “objective, clear, and simple” explanation as surely as the propaganda Ageton would write onto our ballot.

4. Ageton says her fiction is fact while fact is fiction. In a remarkable bit of projection, Ageton says the AG errs in stating that the initiative caps interest rates at 36%. Ageton calls the 36% rate cap “arbitrary”, “fanciful… artifice” [App, p. 14]. She proposes an alternative explanation—”The initiated measure, if adopted, will eliminate short-term loans in South Dakota”—and says the AG should remove the reference to the 36% cap:

This statement removes the proponents’ artificial reference to the 36% “maximum finance charge” as if this were the true purpose, effect, or consequence of the Measure. It leaves proponents and opponents of the Measure free—with no distorting influence from an inaccurate state-provided Statement—to debate the merits or demerits of eliminating short-term lending in South Dakota. The Measure’s proponents are, of course, still free to claim that they only seek to “cap” rates, but this should be their political argument—not the position of the constitutional officers of the South Dakota [App., p. 15].

Read that carefully: the clearest, simplest, most objective fact of this initiative, the 36% interest rate cap, is a distortion, a political argument, but the doom for lenders and consumers that Ageton imputes to the rate-cap initiative is certain fact that demands the AG’s stamp and a place on our ballot.

*   *   *

The payday lenders have already formed their ballot committee to campaign against this popular effort to rein in usury. Ageton’s lawsuit is the opening legal salvo in what will surely turn into a full assault on the Hickey-Hildebrand initiative. Once AG Jackley deftly whacks this litigious mole in Hughes County court on Monday, more payday flacks will pop up, clogging the courts, screaming over circulators’ shoulders, filing threatening letters, and otherwise trying to block South Dakotans from having their say on Election Day. Let’s not fall for it. Judge, toss Ageton’s bogus attempt to politicize the official ballot question explanation. Lenders, let the circulators do their business. And then let’s have an honest discussion and an honest vote about how we want lenders to conduct business in South Dakota.


  1. Steve Hickey 2015-06-11

    Good coverage, Cory. Thanks. They will lose Monday in Hughes County. We can expect them to appeal to the Supreme Court – it would be put on an expedited schedule. They will lose there too but it’s all about slowing us down.

    If your readers want to support us, at this point they can click like on our Facebook page – South Dakotans for Responsible Lending. We can begin the petition drive when these legal challenges are put to rest. Our website will be up shortly and donations are needed.

  2. Daniel Buresh 2015-06-11

    Mr Hickey, What is your plan for short term lending when this is all done with? Since we are attacking a solution to the problem, I am just wondering what the solution will now be? When people are in a pinch, how do you want them to attain funds?

  3. Bill Dithmer 2015-06-11

    Daniel your absolutely right. By fixing this lending problem, you will then have a whole new set of problems when it comes to short term loans. Suddenly, the amount of money that you could have gotten paying high interest rates will be cut drastically. Without the incentive of a high return on investment, nobody will get the same amount of money they got before for the same calateral.

    There will never be a low interest payday loan. If you were in that business you would go broke.

    The Blindman

  4. Steve Hickey 2015-06-11

    Daniel- what did the poor do before we had predatory lenders? There aren’t a whole new set of problems when we cap the rate because predatory lending isn’t presently solving the problems for the poor. We aren’t finding people who are getting out of debt, improving their credit or using these loans short term. Payday lenders would not be in business if their loans were as marketed: short-term loans until the next payday. Their annual reports say profitability kicks in at loan five. The average flip is 8 times and the AVERAGE payday loan in SD is 300 days. The AVERAGE interest rate is 574% in our state.

    It’s baloney the sky falls when we cap the rate.

    The bottom line, some people should not be lent money. A person with 5 or 7 loans shouldn’t be given loans 8 or 9. That’s irresponsible lending. They are only paying off loans with loans made by the unregulated money store across the street. A person on a $1500 fixed income does not have $300 on payday to pay off their two week loan.

    All that aside, there are responsible lending models in the sixteen states where the sharks have been driven out. Credit unions are doing short term small dollar loans. Cities like Dallas have figured out how to loan $1000 at 18% to the poor. Employers are giving payday advance loans at zero percent interest. Churches and non-profits are offering loans. If our goal is helping people we can figure it out.

  5. Rorschach 2015-06-11

    I wonder if payday lenders accept the excuse that people either just didn’t read or didn’t understand what they were signing? Or maybe they just didn’t remember. Wouldn’t the world just be a better place if those excuses worked for everyone?

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-11

    Dan, that’s a separate policy issue. Do you think the Attorney General is obliged to include his ideas for alternative credit options in his official explanation of the ballot measure?

  7. Bernie 2015-06-11

    I could tell you a couple of payday loan horror stories from some hard-working folks who fell into the trap here. As for what happens when such shops close — my community banking friends assure me that they realize they have a responsibility to take care of these needs but that somehow the “drive by loan” shops just appeal to folks — it’s so easy to drive right up to the colorful banner, like getting a fast food meal. The official banks somehow seem too imposing, too rigid. But community banks – and yes, churches, neighbors, non-profits AND employers — will need to fill a void.

  8. Lynn 2015-06-11

    Rep. Hickey do you know if these Pay Day Loan joints report a customer’s payment history to the credit bureau if they were able to make the payments and/or pay off the loan? If not, that would be another strike against them that their customers should be educated with prior to accepting a loan.

    Some of the customers I used to help were credit challenged and there were a number of smaller lending institutions small town banks and a few credit unions and not necessarily the payday loan/pawn shop model that did not report to the credit bureau. You would end up with some customers who worked hard and made timely payments but according to the credit bureau they had no history!

  9. Nathan 2015-06-11

    No doubt that some people ALLOW THEMSELVES to be taken advantage by these places, but let me be a voice for those of us who have used these places a couple of times RESPONSIBLY. In the past, when I made less, did not have my current financial sense, and did not have any other credit lines to cover me in a pinch, I used these places a couple of times. I did not feel that I was ripped off, they offered a service that I needed and I took advantage of said service. I never kept my loans for more than a couple weeks, and based on that the fees were ok. 400%APR is not a bad thing if you are borrowing money for a couple weeks, and they are right that there is no way they could operate at 36% on short term loans. There is also the fact that they have to cover their butts from those who do default, I suspect those numbers are fairly high. I will never use one again, but I don’t feel that they should be shut down.

    I oppose limiting these businesses, and in general I oppose making laws that take things away from people just because some feel the need to protect people from their own stupidity.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-11

    Nathan, if some people allow themselves to be taken advantage of by drug dealers and pimps, do we have any business limiting those businesses to protect people from their own stupidity?

  11. Daniel Buresh 2015-06-11

    Mr. Hickey,
    I would assume they used pawn shops, collateral based loans, and other non-traditional lines. I’d rather see stricter regulation on the length and number of loans. I think capping the rate is just an easy way to get rid of options for high risk customers entirely without acknowledging that the problem of needing short term loans is not going away.

    “Do you think the Attorney General is obliged to include his ideas for alternative credit options in his official explanation of the ballot measure?”

    Not the attorney general who is under specific guidelines on how he must explain ballot measures, but a local representative who is pushing new legislation to essentially push an entire industry out of the financial sector should be willing to address any consequences of those changes. Might be time to invest in a pawn shop…oh wait.

  12. Steve Hickey 2015-06-11

    Lynn – No, payday and title loans are not reported to a credit bureau. Amazing, isn’t it? It’s legal in SD for a person to have 15 of these loans at the same time – Lutheran Social Services Consumer Credit Counseling reports to us they see people regularly with 10-15 different loans. What responsible lender would lend someone a loan who has so many they can’t pay back? These people aren’t solving problems for the poor, they are exacerbating the problems they already have. These places leave people worse off than before.

    Nathan, if you were normal customer for these loan shops they would be out of business. They can’t exist only charging you $30 on your $100 loan. We have an employee training manual which in diagram form show how to turn one loan into multiple in short order. It is a lie that these places exist to provide a valuable service for a one time short term financial crisis.

  13. Nathan 2015-06-11

    CH, good point…

    Steve, I find this “fact” that if I was a normal customer they would not survive to be a bit far fetched. Any business that can’t make it with profit on a 30% markup on their product is being mismanaged. Employee training manual – That sounds like a real solid piece of literature to cite when trying to fully understand the finances behind a business.

    But it is funny that you will point out that they can not survive with existing interest rates with normal clients, yet you think a ~30% cap is reasonable.

    I agree with Daniel that maybe some other methods of regulating the industry would make more sense, maybe some sort of underwriting requirements would be useful (even if loose, like not giving people their 10th payday loan) … If used as a short term loan (as they should be) the high interest rate is not a big deal.

    I can’t help but feel that you are throwing the baby out with the bath water with a bill like this.

  14. Nathan 2015-06-11

    Even better, it’s 30% profit on a product they get returned!

    They would survive just fine with short term clients…

  15. Bill Dithmer 2015-06-11

    ” The bottom line, some people should not be lent money. A person with 5 or 7 loans shouldn’t be given loans 8 or 9. That’s irresponsible lending. They are only paying off loans with loans made by the unregulated money store across the street. A person on a $1500 fixed income does not have $300 on payday to pay off their two week loan.”

    And a bank is going to help in some way?

    What your saying is that we need to protect some people from hurting themselves? Look around, that sure is working now isnt it? Unless your willing to follow all these lost souls around and stop them from doing dumb things it wont make any difference. Your trying to say that the problems are caused by the lender, not the person taking the loan. Then why are they there in the first place?

    In a perfect world interest rates would all be the same. Unfortunately not everyone carries the same amount of risk. Thats why there are different rates for different people. As long as people use money, people will use and abuse people, its the nature of the beast.

    The Blindman

  16. mike from iowa 2015-06-11

    What other business is there that the gubmint works to ensure make massive profits at the expense of citizens? Drug dealers and pimps can’t use the law to force patments at exhorbitant interest rates.

  17. Donald Pay 2015-06-11

    Cory, I think you have really missed the point. All your arguments and all their arguments aren’t what this is about.

    I’ve been warning in other posts about how all the Republican tinkering with the initiative process (this AG explanation, etc.) was designed to kill the initiative without actually repealing it. Well, here you go. The real issue is not what the AG writes. It’s that he’s even involved in the process at all, especially at this point. The whole process gives the opponents of the initiative the legal right to kill it before it even gets off the ground.

    The legal attack here has to be to the entire bureaucratic process set up by the Legislature, and that the AG and the opponents have no constitutional right to be involved. The whole rotten nonsense of what the Republicans did is a complete and total violation of the constitution.

    This is the end of the initiative if the courts don’t that the entire process the Republicans set up is unconstitutional. All opponents have to do to beat any initiative proposal is to drag out a lawsuit to such an extent that this initiative is dead. Don’t kids yourself that any of the opponents give one shit about what the AG says, and really they could care less if they win the argument. All they have to do is drag this out using any and all sorts of legal subterfuge. This is just a ploy to use the legal levers to make the initiative go away.

  18. Troy 2015-06-11

    While I oppose this Initiative Measure, I agree the AG’s job is to explain the legal ramifications (no loans over 36%) and not state the practical ramifications (these people will have no legitimate and legal recourse for short-term loans, long-term loans or anywhere else to repair their credit rating).

    Further, I think the industry is making a political mistake to pursue this avenue. They should just prepare to take their arguments to the people.

    Finally, to answer Steve Hickey’s question, these people will go without any credit and short-term capital, resort to the mob or crime. There is nobody who can profitably make loans with durations to people with these credit ratings. Hickey said it as much when he said his intent was to eliminate this portion of the lending industry.

  19. grudznick 2015-06-11

    Indeed, Mr. Pay. Indeed. Like what the tree huggers do to keep miners from digging in the dirt in the southern Hills. To find stuff, not bury garbage in some nuclear mine dump to irradiate the world like a magic nugget.

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-11

    Obviously, Troy and I agree on strictly limiting the role of the Attorney General in explaining ballot measures. The “education” function Ageton says SDCL 12-13-25.1 demands of the AG is actually taken care of by SDCL 12-13-23, which requires the Secretary of State to solicit statements from proponents and opponents and distribute them to the public.

    But that assumes we take the law as if for the purposes of the lawsuit before us, as the courts must. What of Donald’s point, that there is a whole nother argument to be made that the involvement of the AG is entirely unconstitutional and part of a larger design to stifle initiatives?

    Donald’s point alarms me: if he is correct, then this lawsuit will be argued by attorneys (Sara Frankenstein, for Pete’s sake!) utterly in cahoots with the anti-initiative SDGOP. Neither side wants to defend the initiative in general. Neither side will offer the advocacy Donald wants.

    Practically speaking, Donald, how would we test your argument in court? Could we join this lawsuit? Or do we have to wait for our chance to challenge the next ballot question explanation Jackley issues? Do we sue on the same grounds as Ageton, claim that the AG’s explanation biases the vote, but argue for no explanation rather than the political rewrite we want? Or do we have to wait for the AG’s 60 days to fatally delay, say, a initiative?

    Or could we create our own test case: whip up a quick initiative (extend journalistic shield law to bloggers? mandate two years of foreign language for graduation? corporate income tax for education?), submit on September 1, receive explanation from Jackley on October 31, collect 250 signatures a day for each of the ten days remaining before the deadline, then sue, saying that if the AG’s 60 days had not delayed our circulation, we could have gathered enough signatures to get on the ballot?

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-11

    Daniel, Nathan, the points you’re raising are fine… but do we agree that those points don’t belong in the AG’s legally mandated explanation and that Ageton’s lawsuit is without merit?

    Steve, I look forward to seeing that employee training manual on your campaign blog… or on this blog, if you care to share!

  22. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-11

    (You know, if I hadn’t blocked Tara, she’d be here saying I’m siding with Steve, Steve, and Marty over Erin and Sara because I hate women and because Steve, Steve, and Marty all threw stuff at Bosworth.)

  23. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-06-11

    Many of these abusive types of businesses take advantage of people less well equipped to comprehend the ramifications of interest rates, compounding, etc. I’m talking about my less intelligent clients and those more impaired by their mental illnesses and/or medications.

    Also, people who are desperate to keep a roof over their heads or their children fed struggle to analyze the issues. In that kind of stress, brains function less efficiently and they are more easily taken advantage of.

    Money is not a god that excuses taking heartless advantage of those most vulnerable. According to the Right Wing bible, communities of Christians ought to be taking over any government function to compassionately help. So those of you opposing this law, shut up and step up!

  24. Nathan 2015-06-12

    I’m not sure how I feel about how the wording should be on the ballet. I think it is obvious what this bill does without having to spell it out, but a lot of voters don’t bother educating themselves. I think requiring a ballet to spell out specific consequences in this way could become difficult with some issues and opens the door to all kinds of challenges.

    As far as what this challenge does to the process, I think that the process is broken when challenges like this prevent the collection of signatures. I think there is enough information present to allow the collection of signatures even if the final ballet wording is changed, it’s not like the people signing this are making a decision one way or another on the issue as presented on the ballet, they are just saying that this topic is something worth bringing to a public vote.

  25. Donald Pay 2015-06-12

    The initiative sponsors have to be willing to try to intervene, and bring the arguments forward. Bringing the argument probably vastly complicates the lawsuit, so they might have to kiss it goodbye to make the broader point. The courts could be asked to allow the initiative go forward while the legal questions are argued.

  26. larry kurtz 2015-06-12

    Troy ignores the obvious: that when quickie loans, D & Cs and cannabis are outlawed only outlaws will get quickie loans, D & Cs and cannabis.

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-12

    Unsurprisingly, Mr. Powers ignores Troy’s sensibility and seems to be o.k. with politicizing the official explanation to favor his preferred political view. Pat’s article on the topic ignores the legal questions raised here and diverts readers to the argument about the merits of the initiative itself, like Dan above. That’s a fine debate to have, but that debate does not answer the question of whether the AG should be taking a side in that debate with his ballot explanation.

  28. Troy 2015-06-12


    It is not whether the AG should take a side as you seem to assert. It is whether the explanation should include the practical consequences in addition to legal consequences. You and I agree it should just be legal. That doesn’t mean those who disagree have nefarious motives.

  29. Troy 2015-06-12

    P.S. The use of that picture which appears to be a picture from Facebook is a cheap shot.

  30. Dave 2015-06-12

    Wow, after reading all of the comments about this issue here, I went over to War College to get their take on it. The amount of turd polishing conservatives like Troy do to try to make pay day loan centers appear to be a godsend to society is incredible … and appalling. It’s sad how the same group of people that scream about the size of the federal deficit and the need to balance budgets think it’s fine and dandy for individuals, mainly the poor, to become trapped in a constant state of debt, paying ridiculous interest rates, to make a few of their Republican friends rich. I guess that’s all that really matters to them.

  31. leslie 2015-06-13

    linkedin photo is there for a purpose. and erin, get a REAL job.

    isn’t a business plan committed to 10 turnovers and 564% interest via requiring employees to make such quotas by the “contract” of the employee handbook, patently nefarious? yes. except in a red state….

  32. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-13

    Troy, the picture is from Ageton’s LinkedIn profile, which has since been deleted. It seems to be one of the only online traces of the complainant.

  33. Troy 2015-06-15

    CH, I apologize for the comment. If you put it on Linked-in (business Facebook), it wasn’t a cheap shot. Hope all is well.

  34. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-15

    Thanks, Troy! All is well. And really, when’s the last time I took a cheap shot? (I’m asking for it with that question!)

    As it stands, that photo appears to be the only online publicly available photo of the plaintiff in this lawsuit. Payday lenders have to keep their heads down, I guess.

  35. Troy 2015-06-15

    No problem. It looked like an attempt to make her look like a bimbo (or as Tom Selleck’s girlfriend in “Mr. Baseball” said, “Bambie.”

  36. leslie 2015-06-15

    jesus troy quit whining. you were wrong. you showed us who you really are. she looks just like she wanted us to see her look like. she may be bright, educated, principled, and have a brilliant future in the financial services infrastructure NSU protects for the world (eg EB5), or she may be a republican bimbo, or shill, if you wanna get all PC.

  37. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-15

    Leslie, I don’t take Troy’s response as whining. He takes back his comment. He explains where it came from.

    I try not to trade on looks, and I hope my critique of the argument above makes that clear.

  38. leslie 2015-06-15

    totally agree w/ u except that troy whines. ONE apology is fine. to continue on in that vein is just a waste of time, which is pretty much what troy does here. pretty much every post. on and on. i am certain that wastage charge can be leveled at me.

  39. Troy 2015-06-15


    Hmm. I post agreeing with Cory’s primary premise (AG should restrict ballot explanation to legal ramifications and not practical ramifications), agree with Cory’s send implied premise that filing the lawsuit is a political mistake, and I apologize for presuming Cory pulled a Facebook picture when is was from Linkedin.

    And, you respond with whatever that is above? You seem to have a rather unbalanced obsession with me such you can’t even read. You also have an unbalanced need to link everything to NSU/NBP/EB5. There is treatments for compulsive disorders.

  40. larry kurtz 2015-06-15

    Cory’s use of that image was clearly meant to put a slant on the piece.

  41. leslie 2015-06-15

    Les is the republican poster here. you couldn’t shine larry’s shoes. you dont understand that EB5 is the model for all partisan business in SD? Yet u don’t stand up to it?? instead u whine when a pretty schill gets identified for her likely criminal or at least unethical business model. look up fraud.

  42. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-15

    Oh, we were all about to get along so well. Y’all better get it out of your systems before the blog picnic at my house later this summer!

  43. leslie 2015-06-15

    i wouldnt leave the black hills for east river in the summer for all the tea in china. we wait for 7-8 mos a year for this precious summer weather. :) no offense brother

    am just having fun with a blind republican on a democratic blog

  44. leslie 2015-06-15

    so troy, yahthink mercer’s EB5 article today is obsessive? am sure your jr. senator buddy does. :)

    ps-i think mercer is a closet liberal in a bright red state.

  45. Jana 2015-06-15

    Let’d go easy on Troy’s apology…except where he infers that the young woman is a “Bimbo.”

  46. Troy 2015-06-15


    I didn’t infer she was a bimbo (I agree with her position). I did however accuse Cory used this picture to infer she was a bimbo, especially in the non-complimentary way she is referenced above. And, I apologized as Cory pulled the picture from Linkedin. You should better develop your reading skills or at least read all my comments in context before passing judgment.


    I’ve known Bob for 30 years and I’m not sure what his politics is. But, here is what I do know- If Democrats were in power to any degree, you’d think he was a closet conservative.

  47. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-15

    To be clear, I’ve accepted Troy’s apology. No harm, no foul, simply error. But I’m curious, Troy: did I use any words that made you think I was portraying Ageton as a bimbo? If such language slipped from my keyboard, I’d like to be aware of it.

  48. Troy 2015-06-15


    Maybe a picture tells a thousand words. I re-read what you wrote without the subconscious impression of her told by the picture. You did fine (even though I disagree with your position). Total apology.

    I can’t leave this unsaid: This bill will eliminate all legal and regulated sources of borrowing for people currently using pay day lenders.

    Current Situation: Person needs $500 to fix car or some other emergency. Two weeks later (principal of a “payday loan”) they have to pay back $570 (360% annual interest). For many of these people, when compared with potential problems getting to work, kids transported, and lost work time, this $70 can get eaten up in a lot of other ways like cabs and lost wages (plus the risk to losing their job).

    With this law: Person still needs $500 but now the lender can only get paid $507 (36% annual interest). Who do you think can take the risk associated with these borrowers, pay salary and office expense, and do it for less than $7?

    Or, instead of expecting repayment, the lender takes payments over a year @ 36% interest. Total interest paid during the year is $102. Assuming such a lender will exist (I doubt it), you are forcing the borrower to pay almost 50% more interest over the year.

    I’m sure most of the supporters of this change are well motivated out of concern for the poor. However, ignoring the consequences of eliminating their only recourse for emergency money or pretending another source will rise up from the ashes is unreasonable.

  49. Troy 2015-06-15

    Correction: I forgot to put in “in two weeks”

    “Or, instead of expecting repayment IN TWO WEEKS”

  50. larry kurtz 2015-06-15

    Troy, Pat Powers is a frequent user of fringe banking: why would you lecture us about who uses these services when you, the god of finance, should be asking the addict?

  51. mike from iowa 2015-06-15

    Heap of doin’s over a cow dab.

  52. grudznick 2015-06-15

    I think the young woman has a fine picture. Just fine. Why do you all get so upset about it?

    The mosquitoes will be as big as one of Mr. PP’s meaty finger nails when Mr. H has his picnic in Aberdeen.

  53. Jana 2015-06-15

    Troy, I actually READ Cory’s words. You are the one that referenced the young woman as a bimbo…no one else. You were the one that thought this was a casual glam shot for friends on Facebook and not in reality a photo that she used to promote herself professionally.

    Is there something wrong with an attractive woman with a casual picture? Was it the off the shoulder thing Troy? Looking at her picture, while I don’t agree with her politics, she comes across as a confident woman (wish I had her teeth and smile) just wondering what you are seeing Troy?

  54. Jana 2015-06-15

    As a matter of fact Troy, I think you owe her an apology. Pig.

  55. larry kurtz 2015-06-15

    Jana: +1.

  56. Jana 2015-06-15

    Troy, so if you agree with her she can’t be a bimbo…your words!?

    But if this woman was on the other side, given the logic you present, she would be a bimbo?

    For God’s sake, and your own, how did you even think that using the word “Bimbo” was appropriate?

  57. Troy 2015-06-15


    Linkedin is a business network site. Not Facebook. Profile pictures in business attire is appropriate, normal and customary. I don’t apologize for finding that picture inappropriate and presenting her in an unprofessional manner and showing bad judgment on her part. That is my opinion.

  58. larry kurtz 2015-06-15

    a spinner of any other name could smell so sweet: right, troy?

  59. Jana 2015-06-15

    Oh Troy…at first you thought it was a Facebook pic. Now you are judging her on her professional pic? But since she agrees with you while she may be inappropriate and unprofessional?

    Nice double standards Troy! Of course, being a cafeteria Christian who thinks God’s word against usury was just a suggestion.

    Just as a test, what sexually derogatory term do you use for men who do not have an “appropriate” picture on their social media profiles?

    You chose ‘bimbo’ for a woman…


  60. Jana 2015-06-15

    That’s what I thought…you don’t have one. Right?

  61. grudznick 2015-06-15

    Well said, Lar.

  62. larry kurtz 2015-06-15

    gfy, grud.

  63. Troy 2015-06-15


    You sure have a visceral reaction and judge mental reaction to anything from me.

    But to answer your question and apologize for not being able to respond within two minutes of your question. I was watching my grandson play baseball and my granddaughter play softball.

    Bimbo applies to both male and female is not an inherently with sexual connotations and I had no such intent for such an inference. However, my daughter says she uses tool when referring to a male who is intellectually vacuous and excessively concerned with their physical appearance.

  64. Anne 2015-06-15

    From The Free Dictionary:
    bim·bo (bĭm′bō)
    n. pl. bim·bos Slang
    A person, typically a woman, regarded as being intellectually vacuous and having an inordinate interest in appearing sexually seductive.

  65. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-15

    I’m still accepting Troy’s apology and calling no further foul. He thought I was trying bimboize the plaintiff. He now recognizes I was not.

    Now that the matter has been called to my attention, I agree with Troy: I would not wear that red top for my LinkedIn photo.

  66. Jana 2015-06-15

    Don’t flatter yourself Troy, I have a visceral reaction to pomposity and hypocrisy.

    The best part is your grandchildren hopefully didn’t watch you play “Dodgeball” with the Bimbo comment. Man up and admit it. You chose an inappropriate word and projected it on to Cory’s intentions. The slur bimbo is yours and yours alone.

    Cory, I would have given you heck too if you would have used the word bimbo. Bimbo is a sexist slur and Troy, in spite of his non-apology, should not be excused.

    Heck, Troy couldn’t even come up with a similar sexist term for a male who has a photo that Troy sees as inappropriate. To have his daughter answer that for him is disingenuous at best.

    But back on topic.

    Troy is advocating usury and enthusiastically turning his back on the teachings of Jesus and the church…because…business. So much for “Thou shall have no other gods.”

  67. Troy 2015-06-15


    Wasn’t today the day of the hearing? Any ruling?


    You will believe as you want. Frankly I find you an insipid choplogic. Take care.

  68. Jana 2015-06-15

    Seriously Troy…choplogic? See pompous above.

    As far as hypocrisy, your support of usury should surely cause you conflict with your faith.

    Hey aren’t you the champion of disdain for ad hominem attacks? See hypocrisy above.

  69. Troy 2015-06-15


    I am not attacking you as a means to dismiss your ideas (which is what the logic fallacy ad hominem is). I am just telling you I don’t find you nor your visceral inclination to attack me personally every time I choose to comment on one of Cory’s posts very interesting. You seem to have anger issues or are very unhappy.

  70. Jana 2015-06-15

    Sorry Troy. Sorry that you can’t admit it when you are wrong and then deflect your insecurity onto the people you diminish with such pseudo intellectual joy!

    Trust me and don’t flatter yourself again. I do not attack you personally every time you comment, look it up yourself.

    I’m actually an extremely happy person who rarely says anything negative about or to anyone. But when someone, say you, says crap that is wrong…well, let’s just say that I do enjoy calling them out on their BS.

  71. Jana 2015-06-15

    Back on topic Troy, what does your faith teach you about usury?

  72. Jana 2015-06-15

    Troy, true or false. Who introduced the term “Bimbo” into this conversation? Who didn’t apologize to the person that term was projected upon?

    Answer: Troy Jones!

    You need to apologize publicly to Erin Ageton.

    But you won’t because…???

  73. Jana 2015-06-16

    Good night Troy!

  74. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-16

    Troy’s introduction of the term into the debate does not require an apology. Attacking Troy for using the term to question the propriety of my writing acceptable given his initial understanding; he corrected and withdrew that usage when I explained that his initial understanding was wrong. Beating him further over the issue smells of Kathy Scott’s obsessive efforts to slander South Dakota bloggers as sexist for reporting Annette Bosworth’s conviction and, like Scott’s efforts, distract us from the issue at hand, which in this case is the flimsy legal argument offered by party who happens to be a woman.

  75. larry kurtz 2015-06-16

    We’re not allowed to dissent or even comment at Troy’s blog so how is his input relevant to anything that happens here?

  76. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-16

    His input is relevant here because (a) he has intelligent things to say that help us understand the issues and (b) we are better than Dakota War College.

  77. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-06-16

    Judging from the leaked draft of Pope Francis’s encyclical, and pretty much everything else he’s said and written, I doubt that he would be supportive of the usury payday lenders employ.

    This reminds me of Rep. Paul (?) from Wisconsin, who wrote the Republican budget a couple years ago. He said he based it on his Roman Catholic faith. Vatican leadership said Nope. That’s not orthodoxy. Apparently it really was the representative’s own, personal version of Roman Catholicism.

    Many pseudo Roman Catholics are sounding the same now. Those people who swore heartfelt allegiance to the pope when his name was Polish (JP2) or Ratzinger (B16), are now disagreeing with Pope Francis. What changed? Pope Francis and the Bible don’t agree with their politics of greed and exclusion.

    The only religion that supports usury is Joel Osteen’s Prosperity Gospel and Hubbard’s Scientology cult. Neither are Christian.

  78. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-06-16

    Yes, that Cory. I’ve read more from other sources too. Greedy Roman Catholics hate it. The rest have a variety of reactions.

    Osteen can’t be excommunicated because he made up his own religion from bits and pieces here and there, plus his greedy imagination.

    I’m always very careful of people who found their own church because there are no safeguards to help them if they stray from biblical principles. Of course, some denominations are no help, having gone far astray as an institution.

  79. Troy 2015-06-17

    I love and follow all my Popes with the same fidelity. If they gave us a hard teaching, I work especially hard to understand it and integrate it into my life.

    Any Catholic who follows one Pope differently than another has some self-examination to do.

    Like all encyclicals, I am looking forward with joy and anticipation for Pope Francis’ teaching.

  80. Troy 2015-06-17

    P.s. While I am appalled the embargo was violated and expect it to result in no more advance distribution, I love the quote you reference. It is just another way to remind those to whom much is given, much is expected.

  81. larry kurtz 2015-06-17

    If Pope Frank ceases to exist suspect Mossad and IDF first then suspect the vast right wing conspiracy.

  82. larry kurtz 2015-06-17

    Troy, you have FB, a pulpit in its own rite: why leave your scent here?

  83. Troy 2015-06-18


    Even in a forest smelling of pine can be enhanced by the smell of cedar.

  84. larry kurtz 2015-06-18

    whatever that means.

  85. Troy 2015-06-19

    Whatever Pope Francis says. :)

  86. larry kurtz 2015-06-19

    So, your spiritual leader carries more weight than America’s executive, Troy?

  87. larry kurtz 2015-06-19

    His Eminence abhors usury, Troy: how do you reconcile South Dakota’s reliance on sin to pay the bills?

  88. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-19

    Larry, back off. I reiterate: I welcome Troy’s contributions to this comment section. And given your eager responses to his arguments, you enjoy them, too. Keep the cedar coming, Troy.

    I would love to see some polling on usury with breakdown by religion.

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