Missionary? Payday Lender Foil? Rib Man? Pickett Disappears from Sioux Falls

Floyd Pickett in Sioux Falls, 2015.07.28, screen cap from KELO-TV.
Floyd Pickett in Sioux Falls, 2015.07.28, screen cap from KELO-TV.

Angela Kennecke is really getting into the payday lenders’ backfired scheme to infiltrate Josiah’s Coffeehouse and shake down South Dakota political activist Steve Hildebrand. After friends of Hildebrand and democracy flooded his café yesterday with support (I hear Josiah’s did three times its normal business), Kennecke finds that fake missionary Floyd Pickett, who was giving crowds of poor people money to show up unannounced at Josiah’s for over two weeks to swamp the counter and disrupt business, has abruptly skipped town:

…[Pickett] vowed that he’d be here demonstrating until he had justice.

“How long will you be in Sioux Falls?  I’ll be here until I feel the job is done,” Pickett said on Tuesday.

But today, we found many of the protesters within blocks of Josiah’s, but no Floyd Pickett [Angela Kennecke, “Protest Leader Vanishes from Sioux Falls,” KELOLand.com, 2015.07.29].

Kennecke presents evidence that at least a couple of the people who presented themselves as protesters at Josiah’s weren’t regular folks off the Sioux Falls streets but more out-state interlopers:

We stopped at Heritage Park, where a group of people who’d been to Josiah’s yesterday were sitting at a picnic table.  While they didn’t want to go on camera, they said they weren’t going over to the restaurant today, unless they heard from “Deacon Pete”–or Floyd Pickett–and they hadn’t heard anything from him.

In fact, the last time Pickett was spotted in Sioux Falls was by a viewer last night, who sent us a picture from Hibachi Grill.  He was also with a man, Lamont Burks and his wife Ophelia, who were part of the Josiah’s protest.  The two came from Indiana to join Pickett in his efforts here [Kennecke, 2015.07.29].

LaMont and Ophelia Burks came from Indiana? That doesn’t quite fit what Lamont Burks told Angela Kennecke Tuesday as he and his wife protested outside Josiah’s Tuesday:

Kennecke: LaMont Burks, right?

Burks: Yes.

Kennecke: Where you from, LaMont?

Burks: I’m from Milwaukee WI.

Kennecke: What are you doing here in Sioux Falls?

Burks: I moved here for work and housing. I used to live here in Sioux Falls about two years ago, and we ran into a rental problem, so we left [Angela Kennecke, “Business Owner Claims Harassment from Outside Group,” KELOLand.com, 2015.07.28].

LaMont Burks has apparently bounced from job to job in Milwaukee, Minnesota, and Indiana, with a stint in Sioux Falls from 2012 to 2013. LaMont and Ophelia apparently separated in 1999 when he got hooked on crack, causing Ophelia to spend time in a homeless shelter, but the couple worked things out and got back together in Milwaukee to raise eight kids:

…The arguments that Lamont Burks provoked in 1999 with his wife, Ophelia, when he became addicted to cocaine, were by far the worst of their marriage.

The Burks, however, have somehow worked it out. He is back at home and learning to be a forklift operator, with the help of a state program. After the birth of Ophelia’s eighth child four months ago, Mr. Burks said he decided enough was enough. He had a vasectomy.

His wife said the operation proved ”he really loves me.” She said she knew that Lamont had to endure the ridicule of his friends, who accused him of throwing away his manhood.

”It was the right move to get married,” her husband said. ”It forced me to grow up” [Blaine Harden, “2-Parent Families Rise After Change in Welfare Laws,” New York Times, 2001.08.12].

As for Pickett, well, it’s hard to say where he is. One unconfirmed report has Pickett at the Sioux Falls airport yesterday. Maybe he had to fly back to Georgia to make some ribs at Cozy Floyd’s, which lists Floyd P. Pickett, Sr., as “honorary owner” and, more importantly, was organized by Elois Pickett and partner Marvin N. Mitchell in 2012:

Cozyfloyd's LLC articles of organization, filed 2012.04.02.
Cozyfloyd’s LLC articles of organization, filed 2012.04.02.

If Pickett really is trying to feed the homeless, maybe he’ll just bring back a couple buckets of his own restaurant’s barbecue ribs… if he bothers to come back to Sioux Falls at all.

19 Responses to Missionary? Payday Lender Foil? Rib Man? Pickett Disappears from Sioux Falls

  1. mike from iowa

    I crossed my mighty arms,wiggled my nose(like Samantha Stephens on Bewitched) and vanished this pawn of the spawn of the devil.

  2. mike from iowa

    Surprised Grudz hasn’t accused the “Deacon” of being a liberal-you know-one that run out of other peoples money to give away.

  3. The loan sharks lost one this week. Don’t believe for one second the well-heeled, well-connected, criminally-minded dirtbags and their allies in Pierre will stop with the dirty tricks. Mobsters, by their nature, believe they’re untouchable.

    Pickett’s charge in Sioux Falls demonstrates the depth and length the loan sharks are willing to go just for starters. Their failure made sure the petition drive will be magnificently successful. The downside is this will get a lot worse. There are 15 months left until Election Day and the loan sharks are fighting for their filthy livelihoods.

  4. Excellent reporting on this Cory! The cat is out of the bag now as to how this whole organized shakedown works. As they have been driven back from one approach, the next will be our corrupted political system in Pierre. We voters will do the honorable thing and hold the lenders to an impressive 36% return on their money, but then we will see the wheels of corruption start to spin just like the minimum wage and just like trying to keep third parties out of their political cabal. A tough slog, but a worthwhile one. Great work!

  5. Steve Hickey

    After the press conference I got on a plane to India to visit our work here, churches and orphanages, you know because Hilde and I are so racist and elitists who snub our noses at the poor. At least that’s what Deacon Pete told me, and so much more between expletives. Never heard a minister with a mouth like that. He told me it’s none of my damn business how he came to be a millionaire or where he got his money or what he does with it? Is it gossip for me to mention his last arrest was for shoplifting?

  6. At least the goon didn’t have one of his minions break your legs. Or pick your pocket.

  7. mike from iowa

    Maybe they imported serious illnesses with them as they crossed the border to reach Soo Falls and get paid. Did they rape everyone on their way there,too? Better build a fence to keep ’em out,eh?

  8. Porter Lansing

    As the pay-day lenders discovered, Sodak Democrats are rebranding; becoming a sleek, responsive and competitive chain. The bigots and bullies running the show can sense it. You achieve sly joy from putting others first. You are fulfilled by the tide that raises all boats. The hardships of the least among you are your barometer. LIBERALS ARE LIKE CATS. Most of the time you don’t even know we’re around. But when our sensibilities, foundation and core issues vital to our beliefs are challenged we “pride up” and pose a most formidable opponent. Those times are in sight. A determined and angry herd of cats is nearly unbeatable. You will “take down” the pack of dogs and progress on the path proven best for South Dakota. The only prosperity the state will ever see will come up from the bottom 20% of voters and that’s you.

  9. Obviously, the payday loan folks miscalculated on this one. The reaction of folks in around Sioux Falls is inspiring! But, like 96Tears posted, this isn’t close to the end. This is just the tip of the iceberg of evil maneuvers that’ll be coming our way. Keep vigilant….

  10. If this rate cap is voted in what will stop legislators from nulling and tinkering with what was voted on? Our legislators will probably be a bargain to influence compared to other states the payday loan industry had to pay to play. This is South Dakota don’t ya know!

  11. Deb Geelsdottir

    I’m thinking about why the sleeze balls are so up in arms. I suppose they are frightened that other states with decent folks will follow suit. It would be such an honor for SD to lead this charge against Pickett! (Civil War, 96? Nice reference.)

  12. Astroturfing = Astroturfing is the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization (e.g., political, advertising, religious or public relations) to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participant(s). It is a practice intended to give the statements or organizations more credibility by withholding information about the source’s financial connection

    Payday loan/Title Loan/Floyd Pickett used this

    Big Marijuana/ is using it with all their John Doe, Brian Kelly, some Deutsch guy all from out of state and others using social media in every state whenever stories pop up regarding legalization of Marijuana. Check KELO and Argus Leader’s websites going back and you will see the pattern. Search their names and you will see them posting in Florida and other states where they have been called out.

    Closer to the election expect more Astroturfing on various ballot initiatives.

  13. Inside the company that always brings an audience CBS This Morning 8/1/2015 http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/inside-the-company-that-always-brings-an-audience/

  14. organized activity that is intended to create a false impression of a widespread, spontaneously arising, grassroots movement in support of or in opposition to something (such as a political policy) but that is in reality initiated and controlled by a concealed group or organization (such as a corporation Merriam-Webster Dictionary http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/astroturfing

    This definition is better. lol

  15. Keep your ear to the ground on the loan sharks. The buzz I’m hearing is they are hiring GOP consultants across the state. One name I heard worked for Annette and Chad Bosworth’s freak show campaign.

  16. 96, which consultant? Ugh—if they’re hiring guns from the Bosworth freak show, we’re in for a very long year. It will behoove bloggers, reporters, and voters to pay close attention to what’s happening and not let the payday lenders sabotage the democratic process.

    In particular, we should watch for that decoy petition from the payday lenders. Even if SDRL gets all the signatures it needs before that petition comes out, the payday lenders could still damage this legitimate petition drive by getting their deliberately confusing measure on the ballot. The moment the Attorney General issues his explanation on that one, we should push press to make clear that South Dakotans should not sign that fake petition. And if we can’t stop the payday lenders from getting their decoy on the ballot (they’re running it as a constitutional amendment, so they will have to get twice as many signatures as CapTheRateSD), we’ll need to help people understand the difference between the real measure and the bogus proposal from the loan sharks.

  17. I’d name the loan shark hires if I could corroborate the rumor. But you’ve identified already what appears to be a complicated strategy to derail the Hildebrand/Hickey effort. Some extremely deep pockets will get involved and you’ll see the mainstream bank and credit card lobby get quietly involved because they look at the petition effort as a threat that they will be the next target.

    As some have stated in DFP, South Dakota could start a prairie fire that can ignite in other states and eventually in Congress.

  18. Prairie fire… that gets me thinking, 96. I said back at the start of the year that the payday-lending initiative could make for good synergy for the SDDP candidates. I usually would say that state ballot initiatives aren’t well suited for our Congressional candidates to talk about—after all, the initiative is state law, and a U.S. Senate candidate needs to talk about federal law. But in this case, maybe a Democratic candidate can take advantage of the fire of discontent that Pickett stoked to outrage with his hijinks at Josiah’s. Maybe a smart candidate for Senate tells South Dakotans in 2016, “You have a great measure on the ballot to cap interest rates and stop predatory lending. That’s a great idea for this state. It’s also a great idea for the nation. The federal government already caps interest rates at 36% on loans to military personnel, to stop these loan sharks from taking advantage of our brave men and women in uniform and their families. If you send me to Washington, I’ll take that idea a step further and push for a nationwide interest rate cap to protect all Americans from these loan sharks!”

    Does that idea have legs? Is that a positive way to fan that prairie fire and put John Thune on his heels?

  19. The banking industry, loan sharks of all degrees of severity, would line up behind Thune …. but it’s a cause that could have strong populist appeal. Color me intrigued.