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Thursday, July 12, 2012 05:15 am

End of the roadshow?

THR and Associates call workers home

THR and Associates, the Springfield company that buys gold, silver and other
valuables in buying shows throughout the nation, has canceled its shows and told
workers that they can apply for unemployment benefits, according to an email
obtained by Illinois Times.

“Effective immediately, all shows are to be shut down and the staff is to go
home!!” employees were told in an email from corporate headquarters send
Thursday. “Please realize this is a necessary move that in no way is a bad reflection
on your performance or the group’s performance.”

Employees were told that they may apply for unemployment benefits, according
to the email. A THR human resources executive in the email says that the company
is “continuing to evaluate our business needs.”

No one at the company could be reached for comment. When a reporter twice
called the company, each time pressing zero to reach an operator, as instructed by
the company’s phone system, the line went dead. A woman and a man who spoke
briefly in the parking lot just before entering company headquarters on Pleasant
Run refused to address any questions and said that no one inside could speak with a

THR is best known as Treasure Hunters Roadshow, much to the consternation of
WGBH, a Boston public television station that produces the television show Antiques
Roadshow. After WGBH sued, claiming that THR was misleading customers who
believed that they were dealing with the television program, the company last year
agreed to cease using certain logos, include disclaimers on advertisements and pay
more than $300,000 to the television show’s producer.

Jeffrey Parsons, owner and sole shareholder of THR, owes more than $3 million in
federal income taxes from 2010, and the company owes a like amount in delinquent
taxes, according to liens and court documents. Employees earlier this year sued
the company, alleging that they have not been paid promised wages, and at least
two vendors have also sued, claiming that the company has not paid for goods and
services. Meanwhile, THR has purchased such things as a boat, a half-share of a jet
airplane and a Panther Creek home with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of
silver coins.

The voice mailbox on Parsons’ cell phone was full on Thursday and could not accept
any messages. Gregory Scott, who is representing Parsons in a pending divorce that
has revealed the extent of the company’s income and spending, said that he could
not comment.

THR also owns Buy Sell Trade, a Springfield secondhand store, and J. Parsons, a store on the city’s west side that is currently going out of business. According to testimony in Parson's divorce case, all proceeds from the store's going-out-of-business sale will go toward satisfying the company's past debt.

Contact Bruce Rushton at brushton@illinoistimes.com.

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