Richardson: Ducey’s business background questionable - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Richardson: Ducey’s business background questionable

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Retired Mesa master police officer Bill Richardson lives in the East Valley and can be reached at

Posted: Sunday, August 3, 2014 3:00 pm

Every time I hear Arizona State Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey boast of his business background I start having flashbacks of wealthy businessman and ex-governor Fife Symington. Symington who had the cash to buy the election and failed to understand that while government can learn from business, it’s not a private sector enterprise.

In the end we all got to see Symington’s purported business acumen was nothing more than political campaign bunk and his Project Slim, called “Project Slime” by state employees, was terribly destructive.

Arizona voters bought Symington’s businessman pitch hook, line and sinker only to learn they’d been snookered years later.

In the July 31, 2014, Arizona Republic story by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Ducey’s opponents attack him on Cold Stone sale, Ducey is looking more land more like Symington than the business whiz he touts himself to be. (

According to the story, Ducey is being pressed to release details surrounding the sale of Cold Stone Creamery, the company Ducey once led and has made the centerpiece of his campaign. Fellow Republican candidates “accuse State Treasurer Ducey of ‘distorting’ the company’s record, specifically its 2007 sale to Kahala Corp., and have called on Ducey to release details of a settlement related to the deal and his deposition in the case. A dispute over the deal was resolved through arbitration, but records of the settlement are not public.”

If Ducey wants to be the governor the public has a need to know what’s in the files.

Questions have also been raised about the business practices and outcomes when Ducey ran Cold Stone Creamery from 1996-2007. The July 4, 2014, Phoenix Business Journal story, Rivals look to melt Ducey’s Cold Stone credentials, raises questions about just how good of a businessman Ducey really was. The Journal reported, “Between 2001 and 2011, 42 percent of Cold Stone franchises receiving U.S. Small Business Administration loans defaulted, according to Blue MauMau Inc., a franchise research group and newsletter. That was 107th highest default rate among the 508 largest U.S. franchise businesses, according to the Blue MauMau. Kahala Corp. acquired Cold Stone in 2008”


I know it sounds all kind of warm and fuzzy to boast of business experience and how one will convert state government to a business, but the reality is government is a culture and a process that can be shaped by good and caring leadership but won’t be whipped and “scooped” into shape by a guy who peddled expensive ice cream for a living before deciding he wanted to be state treasurer as a precursor to running for governor.

Again I will refer back to the Symington years and his business plan to change Arizona into the image of a Symington business venture. Instead of going gangbusters and rising to the top of the state government food chain, Arizona began down the path of Symington’s failed Mercado venture. Some would say Arizona has never recovered from the damage done by Symington and his business ways.

Following boasts of his business experience Ducey has now taken up the cause of “securing the border” and using the sister of murdered U. S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry to carry his water and compete with candidate Christine Jones who is using Pinal County “Sheriff Underpants” Paul Babeu to tout her border toughness.

While Arizona faces serious obstacles and incredible challenges to state’s future, Ducey is playing the border emotion card using a dead Border Patrol agent’s sister and hoping to get elected. It’s like he’s pitching a new flavor of ice cream as the political winds change.

Typical politician, do anything to get elected.

As I contemplate who’ll get my vote in the Republican primary I have to think Arizona can do better than Ducey. Then again, maybe Ducey is the best the Republican Party can come up with. It wouldn’t be the first time the Republican’s picked a dud to run the state and I voted for a Democrat.

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