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J. Ernest Talley

AKA James Ernest Talley

Born: 3-Apr-1935
Birthplace: Yardelle, AR
Died: 21-Jun-2003
Location of death: Denton, TX
Cause of death: Cancer - Prostate

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Rent-A-Center

J. Ernest Talley dropped out of college to open his first Mr T's appliance store in Wichita in 1963, and gradually began renting more than selling. He operated the business for fourteen years before selling his 14-store chain in 1974. He returned to the business in 1987, opening Talley Leasing, which acquired and became Vista Rents in 1989. Talley acquired Renters' Choice in 1993, and purchased Rent-A-Center in 1998. Known for his quick temper and quick decisions, he was described as "tough as a cheap steak", and became one of the first millionaires of the rent-to-own industry. When he retired in 2001, selling his stock in the company back to the business for some $20M, Rent-A-Center had 2,500 stores. He died in 2003. Beginning in the late 1990s, dozens of women sued the chain, alleging a corporate culture that condoned sexual harassment, and leading to settlements and payouts totaling more than $48M.

Father: Elzie Talley
Mother: Edith Talley
Brother: William Talley ("Willie")
Sister: Barbara Talley Cole
Wife: Mary Ann May Talley
Son: Mark Andrew Talley
Son: Matthew Drew Talley
Son: Michael Craig Talley

    University: Wichita State University (attended 1961-63)

    Rent-A-Center CEO (1998-2001)
    Vista Rents (1989-98)
    Talley Leasing (1987-89)
    Member of the Board of Rent-A-Center Chairman (1998-2001)
    Kansas State House of Representatives 94th District (1977-81)
    Kansas State Official Goddard, KS School Board (1981-83)
    New Republican Majority Fund
    Friends of Phil Gramm PAC
    Ashcroft 2000
    Santorum 2000
    Walter Jones Committee
    Boeing 1961-62

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