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Dan Nelson and John Thune

This blog has been watching the developments of the Dan Nelson Automotive Iowa AG lawsuit and then it's bankruptcy, but Clean Cut Kid , Thune Watch , Politics in a Dangerous World and Don't Worry About the Government have dug deeper and uncovered some very interesting information.

From Clean Cut Kid,

"So the timeline now looks like this: 1) Nelson becomes aware of the Iowa fraud investigation in September of 2004. 2) Nelson secures loans from MetaBank as late as October of 2004. 3) Nelson files for bankruptcy in June of 2005."


"MetaBank being named as Dan Nelson Automotive’s most significant creditor and the fact that South Dakota Senator
John Thune sat on the board of First Federal Savings/First Midwest Financial/Security State Bank from January 27, 2003 until November 18, 2004. In fact, Thune sat on the Audit Committee for the institution. According to Personal Financial Disclosure Reports required by the Senate for candidates, Thune was in a fiduciary relationship with the institution by being paid $35,750 as a board member."

From Thune Watch,

"Back in 1995, when John Thune was a fledging politician running for the House of Representatives for the first time, slick used car dealer
Dan Nelson was Thune’s campaign manager. Following that first campaign the relationship continued to grow and mature throughout the years with Nelson contributing money to each successive Thune race to the tune of $8000.00. In the most recent contest against Tom Daschle, Nelson assisted Thune in several ways; as a financial contributor, landlord, leasing agent and running independent expenditure advertisements in support of Thune"


"What does this mean? Well, to start with it means that John Thune has a lot of questions to answer for the shareholders of Metabank and to the people of South Dakota. First, what kind of oversight did he have as a member of the audit committee have on the loan which was given to his friend while he was a board member and which subsequently has been put into chapter 11 status? Second, whose interest was John Thune serving when that loan was created: the banks, his own, or Dan Nelson? It is a matter of public record that Thune paid Nelson $84,189.87 for office rent during the last campaign which was for a property that eventually used as collateral for the loan in question. What precisely is the nature of this relationship? It sure seems like something may not be quite right here."

It doesn't seem clear whether any laws have been broken or not, but one thing is clear, Sen. Thune certainly has picked some interesting people to associate himself with.

Let's not forget the real people involved in Nelson's fraud.

Crystal from Council Bluffs

"When I purchased my 1996 Cavalier Z24 from Dan Nelson Finance Super Center in Council Bluffs on July 18, 2004, I was told that the car, which they financed at $8284.00 (only worth $2000 max!) and at a 24.95% interest rate, would only be financed like that for 1 year to 18 months while my credit would be reestablished. After that point the sales rep, Tommy, and the finance manager explained the car would be PAID IN FULL, and I would be able to purchase a new vehicle, either through them or another car dealership with a normal bank.

A year later I learned the truth. The "vice president" (which I learned was a lie, he's not), Jim Brown advised me that the negative equity, of more than $5,000 would be applied towards a new loan on a new vehicle. SO basically I would be paying for 2 vehicles but only driving one. Jim also called me a liar and told me that he did not care what I was told, on the same day in that conversation. I have paperwork that states to "Keep your note, WE OWE...." however Dan Nelson says that they do not pay off the loan. What does "WE OWE" in capital letters mean???"

Deb from Walnut Iowa

"Several years ago my husband was diagnosed with a rare inoperable tumor. His medical bills ran us so far into debt that we ended up in bankruptcy. After buying a vehicle from Dan Nelson's Auto, we found we had been cheated, lied to, and put much further in debt with a vehicle that now barely runs."

Julie from Sioux Falls

"I went back down to Dan Nelson and sitting out front was a beautiful 2000 Pontiac Grand Am. It was the best day of my life. I never dreamed I would be able to own a car like that. So I cleaned out the van I had and signed all of the loan papers and drove away in my new car.

Three weeks later they called me at work and told me that the loan had not gone through and that I had to bring the car back.

I was devastated. Not to mention I had all of the paperwork stating that I owned the car. The only explanation they would give me is that the loan had not gone through. But as I said I had paperwork stating otherwise.

I went to take them back the vehicle and they had also in the three weeks I had their car not done anything with my van. It was still sitting in their back lot waiting to be gone through. So now not only do I not have their vehicle, but I have missed a payment on the one I gave to them and am in danger of losing that too. I asked them if they would give me the amount of the missed payment so I could pay for the van. It was only 90.00, but it was 90.00 more than I had. They refused and said that was not something they were allowed to do."

Beverly Romaine from Monroe Iowa

"Romaine, who said a life of paying cash has left her with little credit history, contacted the attorney general's office when the transmission acted up about a month after the sale.

By May, the Taurus burned roughly a quart of oil to make it the 35 miles to and from Des Moines, she said. In June, after replacing the starter twice, Romaine demanded that Nelson take the car back.

Romaine said the dealership eventually picked up the car and quit demanding payment.'The worst of it is, they will sit there and lie to your face,' she said. 'I would like to see them shut right down.'"

All of this might make one wonder, where is South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long on this and why hasn't he filed a similar suit on behalf of the people of South Dakota? Maybe nobody in South Dakota complained to the Attorney General? Maybe someone did, and a long time ago, like say in 2002.

From Michael in Sioux Falls

"My wife and I bought a 2000 Plymouth Voyager from Dan Nelson Finance Center on 1-11-02. We were required to pay $1500.00 for an extended warranty added on to the contract in order to get the loan through Household Finance.

The warranty for the van is through a company known as National Warranty Insurance Company also known as Smart Choice 2000. On 9-3-2003, we went to the shop next door to Dan Nelson (E-car Care) expecting to get our vehicle fixed per the warranty we bought. They have a cooperative agreement for service for Dan Nelson clients. Our transmission is going out on the van.

They are the only ones that can do any repairs under the warranty. They advised me that they couldn’t honor the warranty because the warranty company is being liquidated and will not pay them for services rendered. I spoke with the General Manager at Dan Nelson by the name of Terry Pederson. Although pleasant he said that there was nothing he could do. We have been sold a worthless contract.

I have filed a complaint with the Attorney Genearal's Office. I will keep all updated. "

Now, Dan Nelson Automotive gets to file bankruptcy with $28 million of Meta Bank's money in their pockets, while these people are left to fend for themselves in s system that now limits their opportunities to file for bankruptcy to get from under what was done do them by Dan Nelson Automotive.

If you judge a man by his friends, Sen. Thune is in trouble.

Interesting set of "Prarie Values" Sen. Thune.


At 7/01/2005 07:38:00 PM, Anonymous Erin said...

A Big Shout Out to the "Used Car Mafia". I can't take credit for that since I first saw it on a blog. A perfect description for a perfectly "allegedly" corrupt crew. Dan Nelson and Chris Tapken have singlehandedly blazed their trail of "alleged" thievery and decept all in the name of "new and improved credit". Your credit will be new alright, so new, it doesn't exist. I just want to give a big Shout Out to the growing number of newly damaged consumers in South Dakota. Where have you been? Can you sue car dealers in South Dakota? I guess you don't have to, you put the "motley crew"(sorry Vince Neil) including Dan,Chris,Norm,Rob, that charming guy at the Sioux Falls dealerships who arranges the financing into a room and make them watch those "allegedly" phony infomercials. Hey Dan did you tell the good folks in South Dakota how the high ranking law enforcement official who we will just call "the general" busted your pasty butt and made you quit annoying us with your vulgar advertising? I especially loved the ad where the customers would get free gas for I believe it was 6 months, but for those people who didn't read the find print, they were actually financing it into their car loan. I think the AG let you run that ad one day. What happened to the 2.5 million that you had to lend for about 2 months? Our ears are happy for a rest from the assault on them whenever your ads were on the radio. I also wanted to remind you about how you begged and pleaded for people to bring in their 100,000, 150,000 mileage cars in so you could
"allegledly" churn those too,after another record breaking day of 24.9% interest buy here, die here car loans. Too many casualties in the buy here die, here, had to shut 'em down. You're crying the blues 'cause your insurance company won't back you up. Hey, even those guys have standards. Speaking of standards, that "country hayseed" act is played out. Metabank can still get out before the crash and burn of Team Sub-Slime, I mean Sub-prime. I think the only ones left know where the "bodies" are buried. Speaking of buried, I think the last time I looked, you were well on your way. No Where to Run, No Where to Hide. Even freshmen politicians can see the light!!!!

At 7/15/2005 07:10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

About 3 years ago I bought a 1997 Mazda b4000 pickup from one of his lots they did not inform me that the truck had been declared totaled in another state and I bought it. Last Nov. I was in a major wreck and my truck was totaled the Mazda. The wreck was not my fault and the other persons insurance was not going to give me very much for my truck as it was already a totaled vehicle. That was the first mistake as I wanted to get another Mazda or a ford ranger but could not find one when my insurance company paid my truck of and I got another vehicle it was a ford expedition and I was a gas hog. I was looking for a ford ranger in the later part of June and found one at the family Hyundai dealer in Rapid City, SD. I made a deal to trade in my expedition and they where to pay it of and I got the ford ranger I wanted. 3 days ago I found out that they did not pay my bank and my bank is wanting to get paid so not only did I get taken once but twice.

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