I write about Allan Jones – W. Allan Jones, Jr., if I were still on staff at The New York Times –  in a piece for The Huffington Post. The Cliff's Notes version of that post: Let’s just say that Mr. Jones (pictured)  and those around him are not the most progressive bunch on issues of race and gender – and, too, this man who was the first to see the potential to strike it rich making small denomination loans to the working poor has a rather gluttonous appetite for money.

Below are some book outtakes that might shed light on this outspoken man who fathered the $40-billion-a-year modern-day payday lending business – and longs for the days when he was collecting more than 500 percent interest on the money he loaned out through these small denomination, short-term loans, rather than settling for the mere 390 percent he makes in most states where his company, Check Into Cash, operates:

In the HuffPo piece, I imply Jones is only about money.  Maybe that’s not entirely true.  Jones owns two jets but, to make extra cash, he created an entity he calls Jones Airways and rents the planes out for a hefty fee.  He rented a jet for the day to the Obama campaign in 2008 and they returned it, he said, with a broken windshield.  So when confederates for Michelle Obama approached his people about renting out the plane for the duration of the campaign, he said no.  “I couldn’t trust that they wouldn’t wreck the thing,” he said.

No surprise,  maybe, that Jones loves Fox News – so much so that it even blares in the bathrooms of the Bald Headed Bistro, the restaurant he owns in his home town of Cleveland, Tenn.  And he seems to hate MS-NBC and Rachel Maddow with equal passion.  Maddow ran a hard-hitting segment on Jones, culling the vanity website he had created in search of unflattering facts. The next day,  the site had been taken down and replaced with a yellow “under construction” sign.

To make the point that payday stores don’t generate nearly as much money as people think, Jones tried hard to show me that he's a regular Joe.  On a Sunday, we drove down to Chattanooga to watch a wrestling match, Jones behind the wheel of a pickup truck, dressed in frayed jeans and scuffed boots.  “I don’t wear expensive suits,” he tells me.  “I don’t wear expensive shoes.”

Yet it’s hard to miss noticing some of his other expenditures that reveal him to be anything but the second coming of Sam Walton or Warren Buffett.   In BROKE, I mention the jets and the various ginormous yachts he's owned and the mansion he built for himself in Cleveland, modeled on a famous home that George Vanderbilt, Robber Baron, built for himself.  I didn’t talk as much about some of his other, more expensive hobbies.  “Cars are my passion,”  he told me – so he has a special, air-controlled storage facility on his property to house a car collection that includes a vintage Rolls, a vintage Bentley, and a mint condition Camaro z28 muscle car he drove as a teen.

In the book I probably also give short shrift to the football field he has built on his property.  It’s a well-manicured, regulation-sized field complete with lights, bleachers, and what Yachting magazine, in a feature article about Jones, described as “a magnificent field house that many small colleges would kill for.”  I'll confess to finding it exhausting, his whole “I own this building, I own that property” patter whenever we drove around town.  He seemed to own half the town but mainly he felt sorry for himself.  He’s easily cleared $200 million as a payday lender but I visited  Jones in early 2009, after real estate prices had fallen.  Why were critics beating on him for making his measly $400 payday loans when it was the big boys selling six-figure toxic mortgages that did in the global economy?

I wasn’t sure which Jones was on display when he gave me a tour of his restaurant – the thrifty, hard-nosed businessman or the nouveau riche entrepreneur who indulges every new passion.  Jones spent a small fortune on this restaurant designed to bring a touch of Jackson Hole, Wyoming to Cleveland.  He flew in the trunks of a couple of hundred oak trees fell in a Jackson Hole fire and had them attached to the walls inside and out, log-cabin style, to create a lodge feel.  He hired the finest chef he could lure to Cleveland and built him a kitchen as impressive as it was costly.  The food is expensive ($39 for the elk tenderloin served in a cabernet sauce, $28 for the sea bass flown in from Hawaii) and also exquisite.  Yet it’s as if Jones, ever the practical businessman, couldn’t help himself.  He built the Bald Headed Bistro in the abandoned, ‘60s-era  shopping center he had bought for a song years earlier.  So now this  white linen restaurant shares an address with a pawn shop and payday storefront and sits across a busy thoroughfare from a Dollar General and a used car lot.


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  • whateverslkjf

    Great post, but you forgot the extremely sad Save a Lot - just across from the Village Green. If you want to be depresssed, just shop at that store. And - c'mon, let's give credit where credit is due - AFTER ALL - he, at least at one time, had a Kobe appetizer for $36.00 - and that was the ONLY way that I could POSSIBLY afford to sample what all the fuss about Kobe beef was. And I was unimpressed.

  • http://www.web2carz.com/bad-credit-car-loan Bad Credit Car Loans

    That picture says it all.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YWWTKHEYQO2RMNE23732ZCCKS4 Doak Winston

    Just watched this fat tub of lard on Hulu. Barrett Jackson. Fuck him and Obama.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dough-Ball/100002408921510 Dough Ball

    This guy is really disgusting.  If you want to fund his lavish, piggish, lifestyle then by all means go to Check Into Cash and get a sub prime loan from W. Allan Jones.  But for even more on the sort of person you'd be dealing with, check out this article:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-rivlin/portrait-of-a-subprime-le_b_602182.html

    Really.  Disgusting.  Gross.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dough-Ball/100002408921510 Dough Ball

    Unfortunately, I have the misfortune of living in Cleveland, home of W. Allan Jones, founder of Check Into Cash.  This article is sad but extremely accurate.  W. Allan Jones is able to get away with murder, all thanks to his bought-and-paid-for friend, Senator Bob Corker. 

    Check out this revealing article:

     http://www.allgov.com/Top_Stories/ViewNews/The_Payday_Lender_Senator__Corker_of_Tennessee_100311

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dough-Ball/100002408921510 Dough Ball

    And -- I promise I am not trying to spam here -- Look at this article where Check Into Cash founder W. Allan Jones rambles inexplicably about making less than minimum wage.  What??

    https://sites.google.com/site/allanjonessenatorcorkerbffs/home/w-allan-jones-check-into-cash-and-senator-bob-corker-are-greedy-and-corrupt

  • http://www.tophatmoney.co.uk payday loan payday loan

    “The day I'm born and I'm already in the newspaper,” Jones said shaking
    his head in amazement. Is it any wonder, he asked me, that he had
    accomplished “great things” in his life? A few years back he had the
    idea of building a “First Mother's Garden” on the grounds of the
    hospital in honor of his mother. “There was all this attention on me,”
    Jones reasoned generously, “but it was her who gave labor.”

  • Bobcorkerforhire

    W. Allan Jones, Check Into Cash, and Jones Management are indeed disgusting.  Gary Rivlin does an awesome job of exposing part of this seedy usurious payday lending industry, but, not being a lifetime resident of Cleveland, Tennessee, he is only able to scratch the surface.  Where there's smoke, there's fire -- always!  Check Into Cash and W. Allan Jones owe a debt of gratitude (which has already been well-paid) to Senator Bob Corker, who always serves as an eagerly paid lap dog on behalf of W. Allan Jones, Check Into Cash, and the payday lending industry.  Nice job, Rivlin!

  • Bobcorkerforhire

    How generous, W. Allan Jones!  Use your profits from Check Into Cash to build a measly garden, then take all the credit for yourself.  So typical for W. Allan Jones and Check Into Cash.

  • Suri22

    Wow.  What a greedy bastard.  This is disgusting.

  • L. Peterson

    Stop W. Allan Jones and Check Into Cash from victimizing the poor by cutting off their source of funding.  If you don't think Check Into Cash is a fair company, write to their major lender, Bank of America, and tell him this is not okay.  Here is the contact information for Bank of America CEO:Mr. Kenneth D. Lewis100 N. Tryon Street.Mail Code NC-1-007-18-01Charlotte, NC 28255And W. Allan Jones of Check Into Cash -- you are a vile, racist pig.

  • Wrestlingjones

    Check Into Cash needs to be reorganized for sure. Better yet, why not just clean the place out completely and start all over, it would definitely be cheaper. Don't worry, you really won't be losing any talent. Check Into Cash, W. Allan Jones, and Jones Management are definitely the lowest of the low -- a major hornet's nest of cut-throat bottom feeders. The "corporate" climate at W. Allan Jones' Check Into Cash would make an excellent movie -- anyone see "Horrible Bosses"? That movie was hilarious, but if they had talked to me first, it would be even funnier. Maybe they will make a "Horrible Bossses 2" featuring pompous, preening jackass W. Allan Jones of Check Into Cash, Cleveland, Tennessee's "sparkling jewel".W. Allan Jones is a ginormous dickhead! Please, do yourself a favor and check out the Bald Headed Bistro (the crumbling, out-of-date, bitter restaurant W. Allan Jones created) and see if W. Allan Jones of Check Into Cash might grace you with his presence. You can't miss him -- he will be the one with a giant "scotch slurpee" in a red plastic cup bellowing orders and maybe even firing people for not showing him enough deference. There is a space in front of the Bald Headed Bistro that is reserved for W. Allan Jones of Check Into Cash at all times in case he decides to get into one of his luxury cars -- you can't miss it, W. Allan Jones' reserved space is better than a handicap space -- sorry, you'll have to use a wheelchair ramp elsewhere. Just a rich hillbilly with no manners, no clue, no sense, and a huge pot belly.Can you say yuck?

  • Wrestlingjones

    Check Into Cash needs to be reorganized for sure. Better yet, why not just clean the place out completely and start all over, it would definitely be cheaper. Don't worry, you really won't be losing any talent. Check Into Cash, W. Allan Jones, and Jones Management are definitely the lowest of the low -- a major hornet's nest of cut-throat bottom feeders. The "corporate" climate at W. Allan Jones' Check Into Cash would make an excellent movie -- anyone see "Horrible Bosses"? That movie was hilarious, but if they had talked to me first, it would be even funnier. Maybe they will make a "Horrible Bossses 2" featuring pompous, preening jackass W. Allan Jones of Check Into Cash, Cleveland, Tennessee's "sparkling jewel".W. Allan Jones is a ginormous dickhead! Please, do yourself a favor and check out the Bald Headed Bistro (the crumbling, out-of-date, bitter restaurant W. Allan Jones created) and see if W. Allan Jones of Check Into Cash might grace you with his presence. You can't miss him -- he will be the one with a giant "scotch slurpee" in a red plastic cup bellowing orders and maybe even firing people for not showing him enough deference. There is a space in front of the Bald Headed Bistro that is reserved for W. Allan Jones of Check Into Cash at all times in case he decides to get into one of his luxury cars -- you can't miss it, W. Allan Jones' reserved space is better than a handicap space -- sorry, you'll have to use a wheelchair ramp elsewhere. Just a rich hillbilly with no manners, no clue, no sense, and a huge pot belly.Can you say yuck?

  • Doughball2

    W. Allan Jones’ Check Into Cash and Jones Management is the sleaziest work environment ever and is the last place on earth any reasonable person would want to work. Save yourself and just stay away. You can get fired there for simply annoying W. Allan Jones, who is very easily annoyed by anything. W. Allan Jones is a fat know-it-all who loves to crow about how he is the only person around who “has any brains.” I don’t think so.W. Allan Jones of Jones Management and Check Into Cash majorly sexually harasses all of the women that work there if they are at all even marginally attractive. I can’t believe he hasn’t been sued for this. It’s not as if you can complain to the ridiculous and completely impotent HR Department about W. Allan Jones, since they WORK for W. Allan Jones, so honestly, the HR Department at Check Into Cash is pretty much pointless. Why not put a mannequin in a chair in an office, label it the “HR Department” and save yourself some major bucks so you can improve your mansion, W. Allan Jones of Check Into Cash?Also, isn’t it HR’s JOB to foster a harmonious work environment? There is no training about what you legally can and can’t do or say as a Check Into Cash employee. Too bad their incompetent legal department, which fails to communicate with each other and are also quite worthless, never put any guidelines into place regarding workplace etiquette, thereby leaving Check Into Cash and W. Allan Jones wide open and vulnerable for any lawyer wanting to make a few bucks. Someone is going to literally sue the hell out of W. Allan Jones, Jones Management, and Check Into Cash — probably class action — and they will most certainly win.So, between the greasy moron W. Allan Jones mucking up the works, the “five-star” human resource department which is virtually worthless (why are they being paid), and the moronic legal department which fails to do anything to shield Check Into Cash and W. Allan Jones from lawsuits, Check Into Cash has literally committed hundreds and hundreds of illegal workplace offenses. I can’t wait until it all catches up to them.

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