While Creditors Circle, Joe Blankenship Seeks Lenders for Japanese Gold

by George Waldon  on Monday, Jun. 6, 2011 9:05 am  

Joe Blankenship: "Let's do this deal and get everyone whole."

While creditors continue to foreclose on and resell his real estate, erstwhile millionaire Joe Blankenship has tried to repair his finances with a scheme better suited to a movie script.

Blankenship, formerly of Little Rock and currently of Heber Springs, has told past and potential business associates that he has tapped into a cache of Yamashita's gold, a legendary treasure trove of World War II booty allegedly amassed by the Japanese during their Asian conquests.

He has been looking for financing to help get the gold out of the Philippines to Canada via Kenya in a cloak-and-dagger quest to avoid government entanglements.

"I am in Nairobi, Kenya," he wrote in an email this spring that included photos of him posing with stacks of shiny metal bars and boxes of glittering nuggets. "I realize our relationship has been strained over the past year but now is the time to put that aside and to do a business deal so that all of us ... get whole."

"It's the wildest scheme I've seen," said Ron Crawford, president of Maumelle's Southland Metals, who holds a $400,000 judgment against Blankenship. "His metals business is chasing suckers because it's obvious he doesn't have any gold."

Contacted by phone about his gold business, Blankenship didn't have much to say.

"That's just a bunch of rumors going around town," he said.

Read more about Blankenship's plan and reaction to it in this week's Arkansas Business cover story.



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