It's an inspiring story.In other words, Vern was Enron before Enron was cool.
One of six kids in a blue-collar family, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan put himself through college and grad school. While still in his 20s, he founded American Speedy Printing, a Michigan-based chain of franchised print shops. The company boasted 720 stores and $150-million in sales by the time Buchanan sold it in 1989, took an early retirement and moved to Florida.
At least that's how Buchanan, a Sarasota Republican, has often told it.
In reality, voluminous court records show, Buchanan left Michigan just as American Speedy verged on a spectacular collapse. Angry franchise owners accused him of mismanagement, deceit and outright fraud. Michigan's attorney general was threatening to shut down the company. In 1992, American Speedy landed in bankruptcy court, followed by dozens of store owners, some of whom lost their life savings.
You know, given the state of the American economy and given the state of some of the biggest businesses and banks today, is Vern Buchanan really who we want overseeing this stuff in Congress?
Some of the stories of the broken lives Vern left behind are truly tragic.