Anti-Spending Tillis Challenger Invested Taxpayer Loans in Obscene Business

Garland Tucker's investment company called restaurant's notoriously crude humor 'tasteful'

Garland Tucker
Garland Tucker / Garland Tucker for Senate Facebook page

Garland Tucker, a North Carolina businessman running to primary Sen. Thom Tillis (R., N.C.), used taxpayer-funded loans to boost Dick's Last Resort, an obscene restaurant known for sexualizing underage girls with crude sayings like "this chick loves dick."

Triangle Capital, a business development company Tucker cofounded, took on hundreds of millions in taxpayer-backed Small Business Administration (SBA) loans during the Obama administration, investing the money in private companies. In 2011, Tucker's company invested $12 million in Dick's Last Resort, a chain of restaurants known for using vulgar and demeaning language toward guests, including children.

Tucker's company praised Dick's Last Resort when announcing its investment, calling the restaurant's humor "tasteful." However, customer reviews accuse Dick's of "cross[ing] boundaries of discriminatory behavior." Servers have reportedly made racially disparaging and homophobic comments, mocked customers' disabilities, and sexualized underage girls with crude sayings such as "this chick loves dick" and "daddy's future pole dancer."

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The Tucker campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Other accounts of Dick's detail "jokes" including telling a 13-year-old girl to "go back to the ghetto to get her hair done again," calling a 16-year-old a "fat fuck," and writing "I spread my legs more than barbie" on a four-year-old girl's hat.

The restaurant's vulgarity is also reflected in its merchandise, which includes "I Heart Dick" underwear, "Chicks Love Dick's" t-shirts, and "Beverage Babe" koozies. Dick's has also advertised both a women's bikini contest and "hot legs" contest.

Tucker personally praised Dick's following his company's investment, stating the restaurant "has a consistent history of strong operating performance."

Under Tucker's leadership, Triangle Capital's use of SBA loans exploded from $17 million on its books in 2004 to $250 million in 2016. Tucker's compensation increased 634 percent during that 12-year period—the North Carolina businessman was paid $8.7 million from 2014-16, including a $2.5 million bonus when he resigned as CEO in 2017, according to RealClearPolitics.

Despite Triangle Capital's reliance on taxpayer-backed SBA loans, Tucker is a longtime critic of government spending, calling the federal debt "immoral" and arguing Tillis is "just not delivering" on the issue.

While Tucker's company praised the obscene nature of Dick's Last Resort, the North Carolina businessman was quick to criticize President Donald Trump on moral grounds in an op-ed following the 2016 Republican primary.

"As a Christian, this vote is also a tough decision," wrote Tucker. "Trump is a twice-divorced, self-acknowledged adulterer who has, in the course of this campaign, uttered some of the most unkind, disgusting comments ever made by any American politician."

The Tillis campaign has criticized Tucker's "anti-Trump, pro-swamp" record, highlighting Triangle Capital's dependence on SBA loans as evidence Tucker made a fortune "on the backs of taxpayers under the Obama presidency by exploiting big government handout programs."

Tucker has dumped more than $1.2 million of his own money into his bid to unseat Tillis.