A reversal of fortunes for a used car dealer in the upper Midwest is about to cause serious blowback on South Dakota’s freshman U.S. senator, John Thune.
First, Dan Nelson Automotive was cited by the attorney general in Iowa for consumer fraud, predatory lending and other things that shady used car dealers are known to do. Now the company has filed for bankruptcy, claiming to have debts of about $30 million, with assets of about $6 million.
According to Thunewatch.com and published newspaper reports, the auto dealer’s largest creditor is “Sioux Falls-based Metabank, which is owed more than $28 million.”
Turns out, the dealership’s owner – Dan Nelson – is a friend of Sen. Thune, and has been a contributor to Thune’s various political races over the years.
Also turns out – and here’s the beauty part – prior to running for the senate in 2004, Thune sat on the board of directors for the bank during the period in which it gave the loans to the auto dealer, despite evidence that the company was in financial difficulties. In fact, Thune sat on the Audit Committe for the bank.
So, once again, we find a Republican in the now classic GOP connundrum: Did Sen. Thune tacitly approve loans to bail out a crony – or he was totally incompentent in his role as overseer of the bank’s fiduciary responsibilities?