Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Attorney General McDonnell Announces Settlement with Auto Title Lender Auto Cash Title Loans Agrees to Make Refunds to Eligible Consumers

For Release: March 25, 2008 / Contact: J. Tucker Martin or David Clementson /Website: www.vaag.com / Phone: 804-786-2071 / Email: Tucker.Martin@oag.state.va.us or dclementson@oag.state.va.us

Attorney General McDonnell Announces Settlement with Auto Title Lender Auto Cash Title Loans Agrees to Make Refunds to Eligible Consumers

RICHMOND – Attorney General Bob McDonnell has reached a settlement for violations of Virginia ’s Consumer Finance Act with Auto Cash Title Loans, LLC, an automobile title lender operating in Richmond and Spotsylvania .

“I am pleased we were able to reach a fair and reasonable agreement with Auto Cash to provide refunds and other relief to affected Virginians,” McDonnell said.

Auto Cash generally makes loans to consumers which are secured by a motor vehicle title. Since June 2007, Attorney General Bob McDonnell has successfully negotiated settlements with six automobile title lenders. These settlements have provided the following total relief to consumers:

  • $458,668 in refunds to 2,637 borrowers;
  • $1,926,969.88 in forborne deficiency collection from 2,944 defaulting borrowers who had their vehicles repossessed; and
  • $5,089,354.09 in forborne interest collection from 9,624 borrowers.

The civil settlement with Auto Cash Title Loans LLC is in the form of a Consent Judgment that has been filed with the Richmond Circuit Court for approval.

According to the Complaint, Auto Cash’s violations occurred between January 2006 and June 2007. During this time, Auto Cash charged its borrowers interest rates that exceeded statutory limits in the Consumer Finance Act. Unless exempt, that Act prohibits unlicensed lenders from charging and receiving annual interest exceeding 12 percent on consumer loans.

The settlement includes the following key terms relating to future loans and title loans made by Auto Cash during the period in question:

  • A permanent injunction preventing Auto Cash from violating the Consumer Finance Act in the future by charging and receiving interest in excess of 12 percent on consumer loans, unless Auto Cash is otherwise exempt by statute;
  • Auto Cash agrees to make refunds totaling $25,137.44 to 115 borrowers for finance charges paid on loans paid in full during the first 60 days after the loan was made;
  • Auto Cash agrees not to collect deficiency amounts totaling $33,550.31 owed by 76 borrowers who obtained loans, later defaulted on those loans, and whose vehicles were repossessed;
  • Auto Cash agrees not to collect $89,075.00 in interest owed by 40 borrowers who obtained loans, later defaulted on those loans, and whose vehicles were not repossessed;
  • Auto Cash agrees not to collect $200,629.36 in interest owed by 132 borrowers who obtained loans and are current on monthly payments;
  • Auto Cash agrees not to repossess vehicles belonging to borrowers who obtained loans during the relevant period; and
  • Auto Cash agrees to pay $15,000 for reimbursement of the Commonwealth’s attorney’s fees.

The Attorney General’s Office will be monitoring the compliance phase to ensure that the settlement is properly administered.

Consumers who have questions about the settlement may contact Auto Cash directly: (804) 745-9007 in the Richmond area, and (540) 507-4080 for the Spotsylvania store. Under the settlement, Auto Cash must accept settlement-related collect calls from consumers residing outside of the local calling area.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"Why didn't you use that money wisely last year?"; Culpeper BOS Manhandles Spendy School Board!

One of the best lines I've ever hear coming from a Supervisor! If only Spotsy Supervisors were so courageous... but then again, you probably aren't telling them to stop spending your money–are you?

from today's Free Lance-Star:

After hearing School Board Chairman George Dasher spend nearly two hours defending a $6.7 million FY-09 budget increase, Supervisor Tom Underwood was brutally honest.

"Given the tax increase necessary relative to the current economic situation, I don't believe [$6.7 million] is affordable," Underwood said. "In fact, I don't think half that amount is affordable."

Then Underwood asked Dasher, "Do you have a contingency plan for lower levels of funding?"

"A lot of things are being explored," Dasher replied, "including the possibility of not opening one of the two new schools."

The School Board's $75.7 million funding request came at the end of a long day for the Board of Supervisors, who yesterday spent eight straight hours listening to various county departments ask for money for next year.

When it came to the school system, which consumes the lion's share of the county's budget, the supervisors were not in a very good mood.

Supervisors Sue Hansohn and Steve Nixon reminded Dasher that the school system got almost $3 million in new money last year and they chose to give teachers and administrators an 8 percent to 10 percent raise.

"You're coming in here and asking for $6.7 million when you could have used some of that money," Nixon said.

"Why didn't you use that money wisely last year?" he asked, reminding the School Board chairman that his body knew a year ago that two new schools would be opening this year.

Supervisor Larry Aylor followed suit, saying, "I don't think that [8 percent in raises] gives the kids a better education."

Aylor also said he was tired of hearing "the School Board say that we have to compete with [school systems] up north."

Nixon also said that he couldn't justify teachers getting a 1.5 percent step raise when all other county salaries were frozen.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

How NOT to Write a Press Release and Attract Conservative Voters

This is however, exactly how to get fired if you wrote this for a campaign I worked on... the word "smarmy" comes to mind, not "savvy".

ALEXANDRIA - The U.S. Senate campaign of former Gov. Jim Gilmore today demanded that Del. Bob Marshall, R-Prince William, who is also seeking the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, apologize and stop attacking Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, Attorney General Bob McDonnell, and the long list of prominent pro-family Republican leaders who are supporting Jim Gilmore.

“To say that Jim Gilmore or the many prominent Republican leaders who support him have a “death wish” or are not pro-life is, at best, ill informed and, at worst, out of control political opportunism,” Gilmore’s campaign manager, Dick Leggitt, said. “Del. Marshall’s unfortunate attacks on these distinguished Virginians are repugnant.”

“Del. Marshall should apologize to the Republican leaders he has unfairly attacked and take a moment to remember the alternative is electing Mark Warner to the U.S. Senate to vote with liberals Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer, Chris Dodd and Ted Kennedy on this and other important issues like taxes, spending and national security.”

“It’s a shame that Del. Marshall’s rhetoric is becoming so overheated. He needs to remember that the goal of Virginia’s nominee is to defeat liberal Mark Warner in November,” Leggitt continued. “The fact is, the objective of this campaign is to prevent liberal Democrats like Mark Warner from taking complete procedural control of the U.S. Senate. To that end, it would be helpful if Del. Marshall would either come in out of the sun or put on a hat.”

“Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, Atty. Gen. Bob McDonnell and the more than 30 pro-family Republican leaders who are actively supporting Jim Gilmore as the Republican candidate who can defeat liberal Mark Warner know that as Governor of Virginia , Jim Gilmore stood for the preservation of traditional family values time and time again,” Leggitt said.

“These Republican leaders know Governor Gilmore is the only active statewide Republican leader who has carried the state twice and carried Northern Virginia twice and they also know he pushed through successful legislation that created a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion,” Leggitt said.

“Governor Gilmore successfully worked for legislation which required parental notification for minors seeking an abortion and helped enact legislation which banned partial birth abortion. He also created the Virginia Abstinence Initiative, dramatically increased funding for adoption services and signed into law legislation banning human cloning,” Leggitt said.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

VA Ranks 49th Now

According to this Free Lance-Star article, Virginia now has the second lowest number of Union workers in the country, and it's been on the decline since the early 1990's.

Perhaps we have a declining manufacturing sector where these jobs traditionally are, but no area has a net financial benefit from Union presence as a whole (Detroit, New York, Pittsburgh come to mind). So we can count this on the 'pros' side of the column for economic development attractions.