Some Question Council Member's Ad Endorsement - News, Weather & Sports

Some Question Council Member's Ad Endorsement

By Dina Kaplan

(LOUISVILLE, December 2nd, 2004) -- Serious questions are being raised about a radio ad voiced by a metro council member advertising quick access to holiday cash. A local expert on predatory lending tells WAVE 3 News the ads are "very shady." WAVE 3's Dina Kaplan reports.

The radio spot promises loans against homes or cars. The ad is voiced by Bentley, and she identifies herself in it, but not the lender. It's running on an urban radio station in Louisville.

A predatory lending expert in Louisville (who didn't want to be identified) questions the ad. "I think it's very shady what she's doing."

The ads don't mention the company name, and invite listeners to "call me, Denise Bentley, at 807-7781."

Bentley says she is "approached almost on a weekly basis to do commercials for businesses in this community ... and I do some of them."

Bentley says she did the ad for GP Enterprises. According to the Secretary of State's website, that company was incorporated to Gus Goldsmith, a businessman who runs Action Loan.

No one from GP Enterprises would speak with us for this story.

The expert on fair housing we spoke with told us Bentley "is a council member, and to me, it's a very big conflict of interest."

Bentley says "I think that it was an excellent marketing start as you all often do in the media. It was a way to make people understand that there is someone that they know in this community that is advertising for this business and that this business is offering something good."

Other people, like Kentucky Common Cause Chairman Richard Beliles, disagree. "It's really questionable for a public official to be the come-on for some sort of lending like this."

At least one member of the metro council, Doug Hawkins, expressed concern because Bentley does not mention the company's name in the ad. "If she's working with a private lender, she needs to say what lender she's working with. I think it sends a confusing message, and I think it promises an awful lot."

A producer in our office called the number Bentley advertised. In a return phone call she was offered a $1,000 loan against her car or a $2,000 loan against her house.

Bentley says this is a good program that can help people who don't have a lot of options.

Online Reporter: Dina Kaplan

Online Producer: Michael Dever

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