Grand Haven pawn shop owner in the spotlight

Brian Brookman, owner of West Michigan Pawn in downtown Grand Haven, recently returned from New York City where he appeared on a national television talk show.
Marie Havenga
Aug 30, 2014

 

Brookman didn't strike it rich on a second-hand item and his face won't show up on “Pawn Stars.” Instead, he will be featured on tonight's edition of “The Huckabee Show,” hosted by former Republican Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (8 p.m. on Fox), to discuss the reason banks are suddenly canceling the accounts of some small businesses.

Brookman said he's not making a big deal out of it. He was simply visiting a website trying to find out more information after Chase Bank canceled his business account.

“I wanted to know why they were closing my account for no reason,” he said.

Chase, like many other banks, are refusing to do business with certain types of companies under guidelines issued by the Department of Justice under “Operation Choke Point,” Brookman said.

“This is not a case where my store was singled out,” he said. “There was no investigation, not even an accusation or suspicion of wrong-doing. Chase closed my account and the accounts of hundreds of other businesses solely because of the SIC code the business is registered under.”

The SIC, or standard industrial classification, has been around since 1937 and helps categorize businesses.

Brookman was a firearms dealer until he let his federal firearms license expire in early June because transactions required too much paperwork and were terribly time consuming, he said. He still deals in rare coins.

Firearms and coin dealers are among the types of businesses that the Department of Justice deemed “high-risk” for fraud. In the department's “Operation Choke Point,” the feds will now audit banks that deal with any of the named “high risk” businesses — such as dating services, credit repair services, lottery sales and travel clubs.

Brookman said “Operation Choke Point” hasn't caused him any hardship. He simply opened an account at a new bank. But the principle of the federal guidelines is somewhat disturbing, he said.

Read the complete story in Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

Comments

Back to the Wall

Hey Brian-
Time to go all cash. And keep impeccable books.
It'll make fed heads explode.

Best of luck.

GOLDEN

Just another reason why we need to get rid of Obama, Holder and the rest of their like who want to ride rough shod over the constitution and strip us of as many rights as they can.

TheBee

You can say that again.

GOLDEN

Just another reason why we need to get rid of Obama, Holder and the rest of their like who want to ride rough shod over the constitution and strip us of as many rights as they can.

TheBee

Thanks.

Zegota

Big Brother here I come now...

trangerfan

Didn't the article say the laws been there since 1937???? Obama wasn't even born yet! Oh yea..no matter..gotta be his fault..I have been trying to find someone to blame for these stinking wrinkles by my eyes..another reason to get rid of Obama! dang him anyway..don't he know how old that makes me look.

Straightjacket

The classification of business which any business uses for tax I'd purposes. "The SIC, or standard industrial classification, has been around since 1937 and helps categorize businesses." Operation choke point is what is new and being refered too.
Should I repeat this three times?

TheBee

You can say that again.

trangerfan

Didn't the article say the laws been there since 1937???? Obama wasn't even born yet! Oh yea..no matter..gotta be his fault..I have been trying to find someone to blame for these stinking wrinkles by my eyes..another reason to get rid of Obama! dang him anyway..don't he know how old that makes me look.

TheBee

You can say that again.

trangerfan

Didn't the article say the laws been there since 1937???? Obama wasn't even born yet! Oh yea..no matter..gotta be his fault..I have been trying to find someone to blame for these stinking wrinkles by my eyes..another reason to get rid of Obama! dang him anyway..don't he know how old that makes me look.

TheBee

Thanks.

Straightjacket

Sorry "The Bee" but I just couldn't follow dumb down downer.
Please don't ride in that car!

polarize

"Free Hugs!"

pfpiper0

I don't think getting rid of Obama will solve as many problems as you all think. "Choke Point" is from a group of congressman, Republicans and Democrats. Try doing a little bit of research before blaming Obama for everything.

Vladtheimp

A "group of Congressman (sic) cannot force the Department of Justice to do anything, unless the "group" constitutes a majority of the House and Senate passing a bill that gets signed into law by the President.

"Choke Point" is an initiative of Eric Holder, who reports to Obama.

"“Operation Choke Point is one of the most dangerous programs I have experienced in my 45 years of service as a bank regulator, bank attorney and consultant, and bank board member. Operating without legal authority and guided by a political agenda, unelected officials at the DOJ are discouraging banks from providing basic banking services…to lawful businesses simply because they don’t like them,” said William M. Isaac, former chairman of the FDIC. http://dailycaller.com/2014/07/1...

Here's your research: http://oversight.house.gov/wp-co...

Lanivan

"“Operation Choke Point is one of the most dangerous programs I have experienced in my 45 years of service as a bank regulator, bank attorney and consultant, and bank board member." One would think from reading this that Operation Choke Point was essentially the end of the world as we know it.

Pretty strong words from a man who was head of the FDIC during some of the worst sustained banking and economic disasters the country has ever experienced. Wm Isaac was head of the FDIC during:

"Some of the major challenges during Isaac's tenure at the FDIC were sky-high interest rates (the U.S. prime rate reached 21.5 percent); widespread bank failures and massive insolvencies in the thrift industry; the Garn–St. Germain Depository Institutions Act deregulating interest rates; a major recession in 1981-1982 with unemployment reaching 11 percent in 1983; the collapse of Continental Illinois, then the seventh largest bank in the US; the third world debt crisis; a depression in the agricultural sector; a collapse of the bubble in the energy sector; and a severe nationwide collapse in the real estate sector. Altogether during the crisis of the 1980s and early 1990s some 3,000 banks and thrifts failed, including many of the largest banks in the country and nine of the ten largest banks in Texas." Wiki.

Another possible explanation for Isaac's fierce denunciation of Operation Choke Point is that Fifth Third Bank is one of the banks that terminated accounts with payday lenders amid increased federal regulators.

Isaacs happens to be the Chairman of Fifth Third Bancorp.

Zegota

Executive authority, where is the check and balance...

Lanivan

Operation Choke Point was not put in place by ObamaMAN and his sidekick, Hold-Up!, designed to strip ordinary Americans of their entire set of enumerated Constitutional Rights.

It is a means of addressing the shadow banking system, and to go after the multi-layered scam that the system has created. This scam hurts the ordinary citizen, especially the working poor who can least afford paying the high fees and interest, that are promulgated by your typical loan shark, illegal payment processors, money launderers, and other con men who generate significant fees for the banks.

Here is an explanation of one of the ways this goes down:

"Having been in the credit card processing business before moving here, I saw an increasing number of merchant processors willing to take high risk accounts -- like these"lenders." Here's how it goes: Payday Lender A gets signed up as a "high risk merchant." This "merchant" proceeds to sell his product, the payday loan, to a customer. When he signs for the money, the client automatically agrees to autodraft by the card-issuing bank (usually one that issues low limit, no credit check cards). The client gets his upfront money, the merchant receives his money, and the bank gets another client to gouge. Everybody wins -- except the low income, "unbanked" client who ends up paying a small fortune for a small loan."

The fact that Darrell Issa, a former California used car business owner and implicated in many cases of fraud, including arson and insurance fraud, is investigating and attempting to put a choke hold on Operation Choke Point is hilarious.

dogbert1918

Lani once again in your big rush to bad mouth conservative's you forgot some important info. The part of the law you chose to focus on doesn't have anything to do with this pawn broker. This law also had a major impact on firearm manufacturers, people who sell firearms (like this pawnbroker who did at one time), people who sell firearm accessories. None of these people have anything to do with clueless people who take out these loans. Operation Choke Point is not a law either. It is a program initiated by the Department of Justice (Eric Holder) and President Obama. There was no vote., nor Republican support.

Lanivan

1. I'm not aware that anywhere in my comment(s) did I badmouth conservatives. Quite the opposite - other posters were in a big rush to badmouth Obama, Holder, and a program that entails federal inquiry into banking practices, based on a law from the 1930's.

2. It's not clear that this local businessman quit selling firearms because of this program - he states that he dropped that line of business because of the level of paperwork required. That paperwork may very well be a composite of local, state, and federal regulations that has nothing whatsoever to do with Operation Choke Point. In fact, his business wasn't affected in any way other than being inconvenienced in having to open a new account with a different bank. The inquiry is on the banking industry.

3. Here are some links that explain the program in detail:

"Federal prosecutors are trying to thwart the easy access that predatory lenders and dubious online merchants have to Americans’ bank accounts by going after banks that fail to meet their obligations as gatekeepers to the United States financial system.

The Justice Department is weighing civil and criminal actions against dozens of banks, sending out subpoenas to more than 50 payment processors and the banks that do business with them, according to government officials.

In the new initiative, called “Operation Choke Point,” the agency is scrutinizing banks both big and small over whether they, in exchange for handsome fees, enable businesses to illegally siphon billions of dollars from consumers’ checking accounts, according to state and federal officials briefed on the investigation." http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ope...

Zegota

Amen dogbert1918, keep defending our Constitution and the rights for all individuals. Because today the Constitution is being directly threatened with the use of executive authority, and the Check and Balance that our Founding Fathers installed and supported is now broken. It is past time that America wake-up to the internal threat that exist in our government today, and for both Congress and the Senate to work together. Bringing the power back to the people, and using the Check and Balance as it was written.

 

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.