Vice President Mike Pence likes to brag about living the American Dream, growing up working for his Dad’s gas station empire. Kiel Brothers Oil Co. operated a chain of some 200 gas stations in Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois. The kids took over when Pop Pence died in 1988. Mike Pence’s older brother, Greg Pence, was the last President of Kiel Brothers.
Because Kiel Brothers failed in 2004, awash in a sea of leaking storage tanks that contaminated dozens of sites across the three states, unpaid bills and unhappy creditors. The cleanup of 12 contaminated sites in Indiana has cost $21 million in cleanup expenses and counting. And another $1.7 million for 25 sites in Kentucky and Illinois. Kiel Brothers has contributed only about $4.3 million of the total cleanup cost.
So what does Vice President say about stiffing three states for tens of millions of dollars?
Vice President Pence’s spokesperson, Alyssa Farah, called it a “years old issue.” Well, yes. Kiel Brothers’ obligations have gone unpaid for some 14 years now. But that’s just admitting you’ve been a deadbeat for a long time. You’re still a deadbeat.
What about Greg Pence, that older brother, who was president of the company when it filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy? And quit when it got tough, leaving his CFO to cope with the mess? Why he’s running for Congress, trying for Mike Pence’s old seat. It’s the Trump approach, right? Stiff your creditors in bankruptcy and then use your business acumen as your political credentials. A local bank, Home Federal Bank, where he also served on the board of directors, was forced to sue him to recover $3.8 million in debts that he had personally guaranteed, only to have to settle for pennies on the dollar. A mini-Trump!
Greg Pence has already spent more than $1 million, including having little brother the vice president headline a March fundraiser at the Trump International Hotel. About half of Greg Pence’s money has come from outside Indiana.
April 19, in a video on Twitter in which he discussed his views on the economy, Greg Pence said of his business experience: “You have to put your employees and customers before yourself. I’ve always done that.” See? Just like Trump.
Greg Pence won the Republican primary for the 6th Congressional District, a solidly Republican district. So absent a political earthquake, we’re going to have another failed businessman in Washington. And there aren’t many earthquakes in Indiana.