Jones steps down as CEO

In a letter reported on by public radio station WKMS earlier this morning, part owner and CEO of C. A. Jones Management Chuck Jones has stepped down from his leadership role at the company.

The management firm, which has come under recent scrutiny after Jones was named in a federal complaint earlier this year, controls the operation of several prominent Murray businesses, including College Book Renter, Southeastern Book Company and other retail stores such as Elements and University Book & Bean.

The federal complaint, filed in late February by business partner David Griffen accused Jones of a lucrative business practice that forced him to make uninformed decisions about the businesses which he claimed 50 percent ownership of.

The complaint accused Jones and his family of using Griffen’s several million dollar investments for personal gains, including a $7.5 million house and a 50-foot private boat, among others.

In this morning’s letter, however, which was sent out to all C. A. Jones employees yesterday, states that Jones will no longer act as the operator of day-to-day operations at the company. Rather, a receiver, requested by Griffen, has assumed control. In the letter, Jones says an agreement to drop the federal complaint was signed early last week under the condition that he step down as CEO. Myles MacDonald of Kraft CPA was named the company receiver, the letter goes on to state, and will assume the management roles that Jones relinquished.

Jones says the the two book companies and Murray business Integrated Computer Solutions were the MacDonald’s primary focus, and that he was assuring of the success of College Book Rental.

“While I don’t agree, I do see his point of view,” Jones states. “I will retain my ownership in the companies and will provide my opinion in board meetings. At this point though I will not be part of the day to day decisions or strategies implemented by Myles.”

The letter raises big questions about the fate of the other C. A. Jones retail stores like Elements, University Book & Bean and Vintage Rose Emporium.

University Book & Bean received letters of termination Friday, after rumors had surfaced earlier this month that the store would no longer be able to meet financial obligations.

Jones has been a prominent philanthropist and successfully received businessman in the community. Named the Chamber of Commerce 2011 “Man of the Year,” he has been an important donor to several local institutions including Murray Independent Schools.

Since the late winter lawsuit, however, rumors about financial struggles have surfaced. In fact, just last week, Jones, who employed about 300 people with the management firm, was named in a civil suit for $11 million in unpaid loans to a bank in Hopkinsville, Ky.

Story by Austin Ramsey, Editor-in-Chief.