Coors’ losses in Lefebvre bond-trading swindle raise serious questions about judgment


Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
CONTACT: Joanne Kron, Executive Director at 303-991-1900

DENVER: As the latest member of the right-wing Coors family announced his run for Congress today, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, called on Joe Coors, Jr. to explain how he and a business partner lost millions in an investment scam the Securities and Exchange Commission said involved “blatantly false promises of exorbitant returns” on bonds—far beyond any reasonable expectation.

“Joe Coors, Jr. is trying to claim business experience as a qualification to sit in Congress,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Joanne Kron. “But the case of Claude Lefebvre’s over-the-top scam resulting in millions in losses to Mr. Coors raises very serious questions about his judgment. How could Joe Coors, Jr. possibly have expected anyone to keep a promise of a weekly return of 75% on an investment?”

In a 2004 column in the business section of The Denver Post, columnist Al Lewis described Joe Coors, Jr. as “blinded by greed” after Lefebvre and several associates drained some $4 million from a $40 million investment fund they were given access to by Coors and one other private investor. Lefebvre had promised Coors a 75% weekly return on these funds, which Lewis said if any person claimed to be able to realize, “it’s fair to ask why they don’t already control most of the capital in North America.”

According to Lewis, Joe Coors, Jr. even attempted to sue the investment brokerage where the funds were deposited—after that firm acted swiftly to cut off access to these funds after they became aware of the potential for fraud, saving Coors millions of dollars. Lewis said that had he been in Coors’ place, he would not have sued his broker, but “bought him a beer.”

“Joe Coors, Jr. may call himself a victim, but this case is a story of a clueless man victimized first and foremost by his own greed,” said Kron. “No responsible businessman would ever promise a 75% weekly return on an investment, and no responsible businessman would ever believe such a grandiose claim. That Joe Coors, Jr. did believe something so ridiculous, and gave millions of dollars to a con man promising the impossible, makes it very hard to believe that Mr. Coors can responsibly make sound decisions about the nation’s finances.”

“The only person who can explain why Joe Coors, Jr.‘s judgment should be trusted at all after something like this is Joe Coors,” said Kron.