Back in town: Floyd Pickett, payday lending tool. KELO-TV spots Pickett at the Hampton Inn, with friends:
Floyd Pickett, the protest leader in the middle of the controversy at Josiah’s, is back in Sioux Falls. He was found in the parking of the Hampton Inn. He had two large vans with him, with about a half dozen people inside [Leland Steva, “Floyd Pickett Back in Sioux Falls,” KELO-TV, 2015.08.11].
Coffee- and petition-meister Steve Hildebrand, whom Pickett and his payday-lending pals are targeting for promoting a ballot initiative to cap interest rates at 36%, says Pickett and his out-state agitators (“fauxtesters,” one FB wag calls the fake protesters) are back at his Sioux Falls café, Josiah’s:
He’s brought 20 or more people from Peoria, IL with him and he started dispatching them to Josiah’s today.
Driving Illinois-based SUV’s and staying at suite hotels by the mall, these folks are here for only one reason – fear and intimidation directed at me, and others who are working to put consumer protections on predatory lending in South Dakota [Steve Hildebrand, Josiah’s Coffeehouse Facebook post, 2015.08.11].
Hildebrand says he welcomes honest debate about interest rates and payday lending, but not the payday lending industry’s thug tactics:
While these out-of-state predatory lenders may pay people of color to drum up some ridiculous race charges, this isn’t about race at all. It’s about payday lenders being threatened by the ballot initiative we are bringing to lower their 574% average interest rates down to 36%. It’s about predatory lending, not about race.
The fact that the predatory lenders are using people of color, disguising them as homeless people to attempt to sabotage my business – and YOUR coffeehouse – proves what shameless tactics they will stoop to in order to protect their outrageous profits.
South Dakota should have a healthy debate about predatory lending interest rates. And my Co-Chair Steve Hickey and I welcome that debate. But, instead, fear and intimidation tactics conducted by out-of-state companies like North American Title Loans cast a terrible shadow on the poverty industry as a whole.
South Dakota deserves better than this [Hildebrand, 2015.08.11].
The payday lenders’ harassment and intimidation of a South Dakota businessman promoting a ballot measure should appall all South Dakotans and friends of popular democracy. If you disagree with an issue that your neighbors want to place on the ballot, you engage the electorate in honest discussion, rally voters to your side, and try to win in the marketplace of ideas. You do not trick voters with fake petitions and threaten petitioners and the press.
South Dakotans, the proper response to beat back these mafiosi is to sign the genuine 36%-rate-cap petition today at Josiah’s in Sioux Falls. I’ll also have the petition handy here in Aberdeen at the Brown County Fair Thursday p.m. in Centennial Village and Saturday a.m. at the Brown County Democrats booth. Sign, circulate, vote next year, and let’s win fair and square.