Republic Monetary Exchange Manager Defends Company After New Times Exposes Ties to Ex-Cons
|Image: Republic Monetary Exchange|
|James Clark, son of Republic Monetary Exchange's CEO of the same name, defended his company today in a conversation with New Times.|
James Clark, who shares the name of his CEO father, took issue with the article New Times published today about gold and some of the unscrupulous characters who plagued the industry in the past.
Clark's dad was one of those characters. So was another man now tied to Republic Monetary Exchange, Sherman Unkefer.
As New Times reported, both men served time in prison for schemes related to the sale of precious metals. Unkefer's deceased wife's trust provided much of the capital for the start-up of Republic two years ago.
The younger Clark says he won't try to "defend the undefensible," and that he knows his father made "mistakes."
However, he argues in a cheerful tone, Republic Monetary is on the up-and-up and doesn't deserve to be painted with a broad brush.
|Jim Clark, now CEO of Republic Monetary Exchange, served time in the 1990s after the failure of his previous precious-metals firm.|
Clark failed to pay the restitution of $1.5 million in that case, nor did he pay a $3.5 million judgment that resulted from another failed company he once worked for, North American Coin and Currency.
The North American case also involved "missing" metals -- court records show that victims were owed a total of $16 million when the company collapsed.
Unkefer was North American Coin's former president. He was convicted of fraud and served five years of a 10-year prison sentence before being paroled.
Clark's son, now Republic Monetary's vice-president of sales, says similar problems won't arise at the new company.
For one thing, no gold or silver is stored at Republic. Buyers take possession of their metals right away, he says -- the only exception is when customers buy gold for their IRA, in which case Republic ships the metal to a certified IRA custodian company to be held in trust.
|Sherman Unkefer, shown here in his Department of Corrections mug shot, worked with Jim Clark at a gold-selling firm back in the 1980s.|
Our feature article today mentioned bluntly that New Times has no evidence that Republic Monetary is doing anything unscrupulous. And Clark's son says the place is reputable.
We expect our readers to make what they will of the checkered past of Clark and Unkefer. Our only advice to would-be gold buyers: Shop around and make sure you get the best deal before you plunk down your cash.
UPDATE: Republic's founders, Unkefer and Jim Clark, ended up suing each other. Here's the article we published in September of 2012 about the lawsuit and the details it dredged up: