By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
But it's clear after speaking with several former and current Cold Stone storeowners, that they blame Ducey for Cold Stone's reversal of fortune.
None of those who now operate Cold Stone franchises wanted to go on the record. But the ex-franchisees were openly disgusted with Ducey's candidacy and with his TV ads.
Litchfield Park resident Kenneth Gornall, quoted in the Journal piece, closed his Glendale store in 2007 and filed for bankruptcy. He tells me he lost about $350,000 as a result of what he calls the "Cold Stone fiasco." He also lost a house and says his health has suffered.
Gornall, 63, called Ducey's ads a "travesty," and said he had recently re-registered as a Republican so he could vote against Ducey in the upcoming primary.
"I believe it's a misrepresentation of his career and what he's claiming to have done," Gornall said of the TV spots. "He created a lot of jobs for teenagers — minimum wage, part time. And made indigents out of the owners."
Nayana Patel of Phoenix said she owned three franchises in the Valley and estimates that she lost about $300K. She said she got out of Cold Stone and was able to sell her stores, but she knows many fellow franchisees who "lost their shirts."
The 51-year-old Patel claimed Cold Stone "painted a rosy picture" of the profitability to be had as a franchisee, a profitability that she said was difficult to come by. She said she was "shocked" when she learned Ducey was running for state treasurer.
"He got paid big bucks, went into something else," she said. "Now he's running for treasurer. What? Is he trying to get money out of this now?"
Cecil Rolle of Florida is another franchisee cited in the Journal article. He lost his three stores in litigation with the company, and claims that Cold Stone received "kickbacks" from the company's handpicked suppliers, which the franchisees had to buy from.
Rolle sent me a 2008 deposition from a then-executive at Cold Stone to back up his claim. In it, the exec admits that Cold Stone received "remuneration" from suppliers as part of their deals with the company.
One of Cold Stone's most outspoken critics, Rolle says he now advises many former and current franchisees on their dealings with the company. Some are suicidal, he told me, and he's had to talk them "off the ledge." He lays much of the blame at Ducey's feet.
"He has no business being anybody's treasurer," Rolle insisted when we spoke. "I just think that he's hypocritical [and] patently dishonest."
I should point out that the state treasurer doesn't have anything to do with job creation, per se. Rather, the treasurer's duties are all about managing the state's $10 billion portfolio of investments.
Andrei Cherny is the only Democrat vying for the state treasurer post. A former Arizona assistant attorney general and adviser to President Bill Clinton, he's raised even more money than Ducey and is eager to take him on, should Ducey be the GOP nominee.
Needless to say, he regards Ducey's business record as troubling.
"My background is as a prosecutor who went after people who were running Ponzi schemes and committing financial fraud," he says. "And frankly, it's pretty scary to think somebody like that would have his hands on the public purse."
One thing's for sure, Cherny could produce one hell of an attack ad if he pulls together all the former franchisees who're ticked at Ducey and puts them on camera. The Rep's endorsement aside, GOP voters would be foolhardy to put forth Ducey as their pick, as many of Ducey's detractors are themselves registered Republicans.
There's nothing subtle about protest art, so it's no surprise that subtlety is lacking in the current exhibit of anti-SB 1070-themed work in the ongoing "FootPrints" show at the Bragg's Pie Factory gallery at 1301 Grand Avenue in downtown Phoenix.
Still, as the immigration debate here in Sand Land is about as nuanced as a steel beam to the skull, the in-your-face 'tude of the art on display seems justified, even if it's sometimes a little too heavy-handed on imagery that's straight out of Germany, circa WWII.
Although I understand an artist's use of Nazi symbols to make a point, and I would never argue for censoring such work, sometimes I wish the artists themselves would adopt a moratorium on all Third Reich symbols 'til the end of time. The stuff is just a little too easy to fall back on.
Certainly, some artists used such imagery brilliantly. But most of the best pieces in the show eschewed the use of Adolf Hitler and swastikas. I'm thinking of the poster art of Ernesto Yerena, Favianna Rodriguez, and the collaboration between photographer Diane Ovalle and artist Jesus Barraza on the famous "We Will Not Comply" poster.
Unfair? Sure, even though Arpaio once referred to Tent City as his "concentration camp," last time I checked he hadn't slaughtered 6 million Jews — or Hispanics, for that matter.
But, then, the piece also is unfair to ol' Adolf, who despite all of his evil, was smarter than Sheriff Joe on the codger's best day. You know the decades-dead dictator must be rolling over in Hell's darkest ditch after getting likened to a petty, tin-pot tyrant like Joe.