By Angela Martin of Portland, Oregon. Angela is an economic-fairness advocate at Our Oregon. This is part two of two.
Yesterday, I told you about the dirty tactics of Northwest Title Loans. They are running a massive PR campaign to mislead lawmakers and citizens and are bribing and intimidating their customers into opposing legislation that would save borrowers money. Just who ARE these people?
Northwest Title Loans has been operating in Oregon since 1998 and has 17 storefronts across the state and is part of the predatory lending empire owned by Roderick Aycox of Atlanta, Georgia.
A profile of Aycox in the Atlanta Journal Constitution last year reported that he operates 150 car title stores in 18 states. His company has two private jets, and he drives a $128,000 Mercedes.
According to court documents in a story reported by Willamette Week, and other newspaper interviews, Aycox says that he entered the car title lending industry thanks to the financial backing of Alvin Malnik, the notorious associate of mafia figure Meyer Lansky.
The Oregonian has also reported on Malnik, his ties to Northwest Title Loans, and his connections to the mob:
The New Jersey Casino Control Commission denied Malnik a casino license in 1980, citing, among other things, his long association with mob financier Meyer Lansky. The commission ruled that Malnik was "a person of unsuitable character and unsuitable reputation." And in 1993 the commission disciplined two Atlantic City casinos for allowing Malnik to set foot in them. - "Disputed Title Lender Bankrolls Republicans," July 10, 2000.
Now, after nearly a decade of stonewalling from Republican leadership in the House, Oregon's state legislature is debating several bills that would cap interest rates on payday, car title, and other predatory lending.
Our Oregon and the Economic Fairness Coalition has issued its strongest endorsement for House Bill 2871, sponsored by Speaker of the House Jeff Merkley. The bill will be heard in the House Consumer Protection Committee at 1:00 on Wednesday.
We need your help. Please sign this petition in support of House Bill 2871 then forward it to your friends.
We can't give you a cappuccino gift certificate, but we can promise you that if this bill passes, you'll know that you played a part in stopping loan sharking in Oregon.