LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Henderson city councilman is defending himself against a third federal class action lawsuit, with two having another settled out of court, for his company’s practices doling out so-called payday loans at over 700% interest, the 8 News Now Investigators have learned.
The newest lawsuit – filed in Federal Court in Illinois — allege that councilman Dan Shaw’s company, Green Arrow Solutions, and its subsidiaries intentionally skirt state-regulated interest rates by claiming an association with a Native American Tribe in California. The complaint refers to this practice as “Rent-a-Tribe.”
Native American tribes are sovereign and thus do not have to follow state and federal statutes that cap interest rates. Therefore, the complaint alleges, Green Arrow Solutions charged these two plaintiffs, who borrowed $350 and $500, respectively, with interest rates of over 800%.
The tribe in this case is the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians, which is headquartered in Lakeport, California, a few hours from San Francisco. The tribe is not a named defendant but is mentioned in many of this lawsuit’s allegations.
Payday loans historically prey on desperate consumers who are short on money by loaning them small payments with notoriously exorbitant interest rates and cutthroat collection tactics. For example, the plaintiff in this case who borrowed $350 had to repay approximately $1,200 total because the terms of the loan included $863 in interest.
That amounts to 845%. The maximum allowed in Illinois is approximately 9% interest, and the complaint alleges that Illinois law considers it a felony for an unlicensed lender to charge over 20 % interest.
The 8 News Now Investigators, seeking comment on the lawsuit and the allegations therein, sent emails to Shaw, his spokesman, and the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians but, did not receive any response. Similarly, an email to Henderson’s senior public information officer, Madeleine Skains, went unanswered. Henderson’s city offices are closed on Fridays.
During preparation for the original 8 News Now Investigation that aired in February 2023, Shaw refused two requests for an interview with the 8 News Now Investigators; one by phone and one by email.
The City of Henderson’s senior public information officer emailed a terse denial as well stating: “We arrange interviews for Councilmembers to discuss topics relating to their position with the City [sic] and not for private or personal business matters,” spokesperson Skains wrote.
Shaw was not made available for any media requests during the regular meeting of the Henderson City Council, which the 8 News Now Investigators attended on Feb. 7.
After the meeting, the 8 News Now Investigators caught up with Shaw, who had walked outside and around the entire Henderson City Hall building with the hopes of evading the reporter. He did not answer any questions and locked the news crew out of the building.
Shaw was appointed to an open seat on the council in 2015 and was re-elected in Ward 2 in 2019.