Tag Archives: millionaire

Cagle on Tom Ingram, ‘Ghostbuster’ for Millionaire Republicans

Frank Cagle devotes his weekly column to Tom Ingram, depicted as “the Ghostbuster for millionaire Republicans.”
He is being paid by Bill Haslam as a consultant. He is being paid by Pilot Flying J as a consultant. Should Alexander have a tough primary race, Ingram will no doubt be called on again. Last year he was a highly-paid campaign consultant for Corker, who had no credible opposition.
But this time the “fixer” has some liabilities of his own. He has been discovered to be lobbying for a coal company to get access to the state-owned Catoosa Wildlife Management Area while being a consultant to the governor. And he was not registered as a lobbyist with the Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance. (Hat tip to the News Sentinel and WTVF-TV Nashville.)
Ingram’s overlapping roles over the years as the go-to campaign consultant, Senate staffer, lobbying and public relations group owner, and personal adviser to the Haslams are a tangled web and no one but Ingram knows where all the strands intersect.
To get his clients out of the current mess, Ingram will have to earn his money.
ngram’s relationship with the governor and his seeming indifference to the rules requiring him to report his lobbying activity has a whiff of arrogance his clients don’t need at the present time
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Payday Loan Millionaire McKenzie Dies in Bankruptcy

An excerpt from the Chattanooga Times-Free Press story on the death of “Toby” McKenzie, who was once a multi-millionare thanks to the payday loan business — and while enjoying that status was often a generous donor to politicians and an employer of lobbyists at the Legislature:
A basketball arena at UTC was named for him. Millions of his dollars went to local schools, charities, ball fields and individuals.
Steve “Toby” McKenzie, a Cleveland, Tenn., native who grew up poor, built a fortune pioneering the national check cashing and pay-day loan industry in the early 1990s. He invested millions in more than a hundred businesses and real estate speculations and then lost almost everything during the economic recession.
More than a year before McKenzie died Thursday from unknown causes, he pleaded with his hometown to help him fight an involuntary bankruptcy that he said left him penniless, unable even to afford needed medications.
He was 59 years old when he died in a Chattanooga hospital. He is survived by his wife, Rebecca McKenzie, his three children and two stepdaughters.
“Toby left a legacy of generous support for the community he loved,” said D. Gary Davis, Bradley County mayor. “He was a big supporter of education. … My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Toby will be missed.”
McKenzie’s fall from grace became a public saga.
In 2008, when his bankruptcy began, he was ordered by the court to make $11.5 million in lease payments on defaulted properties.
The next year he was at risk of losing his two homes, each worth more than half a million dollars, and his personal possessions were liquidated. In total, he owed more than $200 million to 40 creditors nationwide, records showed.
The University of Tennessee removed his name from an athletics building because he didn’t follow through with a financial pledge. His ex-wife, Brenda Lawson, paid a portion and the building was named for her instead.