Richard Brooks’ phone isn’t ringing as often. And for that he’s thankful.For two years, Brooks, 77, had been getting one or two harassing calls a week about an unpaid $500 payday loan extended by Irving-based ACE Cash Express. It had been taken out by someone named Sondra Brooks who used his North Richland Hills address as her own. An apparent case of identity theft.Brooks took the first bill down to a local ACE branch and explained that no one in his household had borrowed from the company. A year later, the calls began.Some were robocalls. Others were from real people, including a very aggressive woman who seemed to get more so when Brooks tried to explain the situation, he recalled.In frustration, Brooks contacted the Star-Telegram after it reported two weeks ago that ACE had agreed to refund $5 million to borrowers and pay the U.S. government another $5 million in fines for using illegal collection tactics.We contacted a public relations consultant for ACE, and Brooks almost immediately got a call, this time from a friendlier voice apologizing for all the inconvenience. She later told us later that ACE itself had not made any collection calls, explaining that another firm bought the debt, then found a phone number associated with the address on the loan documents. The unnamed firm was told by ACE in July to stop bothering Brooks, she said.The collection calls have stopped. But since the retired owner of DFW Hardwoods never was an ACE customer, the years of aggravation don’t qualify him for any of the settlement, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau told us.MillerCoors working to reduce water usageThe MillerCoors brewery on South Freeway in Fort Worth is one of the company’s major brewing facilities, pumping out 9 million barrels of beer a year. That’s a lot of suds, and it requires a lot of water.With the drought on, MillerCoors is working to reduce its water usage. In an interview broadcast on KERA radio, Lairy Johnson, the plant’s environmental and sustainability engineer, said the brewery was able to reduce its water usage by 9 percent last year by implementing a variety of ideas, from making sure that employees turn off hoses when they’re not being used to reducing the number of steam boilers from three to two.The brewery’s top metric is the number of barrels of water needed to produce a barrel of beer. That declined from 3.27 last year to 3.18 last month, he said.Holt Cat opening ninth area location in Cleburne The owner of the world champion San Antonio Spurs (and head of the nation’s biggest Caterpillar dealership) is scheduled to appear in Cleburne today for the grand opening of a new Holt Cat store, just off the new Chisholm Trail Parkway.Peter Holt, CEO of Holt Cat, will be joined by Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain and Johnson County Judge Roger Harmon to celebrate the new 52,000-square-foot facility that will provide heavy equipment parts, service, sales and rentals.The store at 420 Marti Drive will be the ninth full-service location in North Texas for Holt Cat, which does business throughout Texas. Peter Holt is the great-grandson of Benjamin Holt, who developed the first successful crawler-type tractor, which he named a Caterpillar.
Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727 Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST Steve Kaskovich, 817-390-7773 Twitter: @stevekasko Barry Shlachter, 817-390-7718 Twitter: @bshlachter