Let's start with the end result here, just to get that out of the way: a very deserving charity received a lot of money. So far so good. It's the way it all went down that makes you want to retch.

Here's the background: at the Barrett-Jackson classic car auction on January 21, a benefit for the Fisher House Foundation, Jay Leno had donated a 2007 New Holland tractor to be auctioned. The tractor, named "Lil Tug", was signed by George W. Bush, making it a highly desirable item for that certain wealthy celebrity-owned, presidential-signed tractor fetishist demographic. A bidding war on the tractor ensued, eventually pushing the tractor's price up to $535,000.


This would be all well and good, until Allan Jones, CEO of the poor-people-misery exploitation firm Check Into Cash, issued a press release crowing about how amazing it was that Jones pushed the bidding up to such high levels before backing out, like a cheap coward. As the release states, "Jones eventually pushed up the bidding on the tractor to $535,000 before declining to move forward. His efforts resulted in a significant financial windfall to the Fisher House Foundation." An anonymous source involved with the event confirmed that the "efforts" referred to in the press release consisted entirely of pushing the price up, with Jones having no actual intention to buy nor did Jones donate any money at all to the charity. Keep in mind Jones is not some regular broke-ass like you or I; he absolutely could have made good on his bids if he wanted to.

So, Jones — a very, very wealthy man — had a press release issued canonizing himself for forcing another wealthy man to donate more money, while he himself donated a grand total of jack squat. There's nothing wrong with a charity getting money, but there's something pretty fundamentally disgusting about issuing press releases taking credit for generosity that's not yours. The guy's like Robin Hood, if Robin Hood were a towering, self-absorbed pantload. This sort of thing is actively detrimental to the whole business of charity car auctions, and could result in more reluctance for people to bid in them, which just hurts the charities in the end.

Because, you know, people need a lot of help thinking the Barrett-Jackson auctions are a scam to begin with.


As mentioned before, Fisher House did come out ahead in the end, so that's what matters. Hopefully the attention-starved actions of one disingenuous man won't prevent similar charitable windfalls in the future.

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