Since the publication of this story, Carey Brown and his representatives have disputed the claim that the businesses cited in this article share common ownership and that they are not properly licensed to do business in Tennessee.
Additionally, three former employees of one of Brown’s companies, Terenine, were sued for violating non-disclosure provision of their employee contracts by talking to the Times Free Press. The three now dispute some of the quotes attributed to each of them.
Though Brown and his representatives declined repeated requests for interviews prior to the initial publication, a spokesman for Brown now claims the story paints an inaccurate picture of his businesses.
“Each of the businesses mentioned in the article are distinct entities and possess all applicable licenses required by the legal authorities that govern them,” Ron Beaver, chief operating officer for Terenine, said in a letter to the Times Free Press.
Beaver said Credit Payment Services is a service provided to payday lenders and does not make loans directly to consumers and therefore does not have to be licensed as a payday lender.
“Like many businesses, Credit Payment Services has several vendor relationships and does not control any of the companies referenced in the article,” he said.
Beaver said the companies that service the payday lenders referenced in the article also have a consumer complaint rate well below the industry average.
Following this story’s publication, attorneys for payday entrepreneur Carey Brown sued three former employees for allegedly breaching an agreement not to discuss Brown's business operations.
Over the next eight months, each of three sources signed affidavits variously claiming that they were misquoted, misrepresented or that they could not remember sharing certain details with Times Free Press reporter Ellis Smith.
The lawsuits were settled after the sources provided the affidavits to Brown's attorneys at Scenic City Legal Group.
Aaron Shelley, Byron DeLoach and Chris Christiansen said in affidavits gathered by Brown’s attorneys that they either don’t recall or didn’t say some of quotes attributed to them in this story which may have disclosed company secrets.
Shelley, a former Terenine employee cited in the article, said he “misunderstood the nature of the article being compiled” and he said he saw “no evidence of any illegal activities.”
DeLoach, one of the former employees of Brown’s Basenine Inc., denied several quotes attributed to him.
Chris Christiansen also denied making some of the quotes attributed to him in the story.
Alison Gerber, managing editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, said the newspaper stands by the story. The newspaper’s notes and recorded interviews back up the reporting, she said.
In addition to the three sources sued by Brown, The Times Free Press has interviewed more than a dozen former employees and executives about Brown’s payday businesses, and has reviewed more than 1,000 pages of legal filings, Internet records and other evidence that supports the record.