Part 2 of a hard-hitting news investigation into USAgain, a controversial for-profit clothes collecting company. Aired by KIRO 7 Eyewitness News, Seattle, Wash., 11/25/09
PART 1: http://tinyurl.com/zlrfwrn
“USAgain clothes bins denied by US city after ‘false information’ claims” — TvindAlert.com, 2015:
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At 3:48 in KIRO report: USAgain's majority stakeholder is a “Caribbean-based holding company called Fairbank, Cooper, & Lyle” (FC&L). KIRO cites a Danish court document that shows FC&L “has financial ties to an alleged cult called the Tvind Teachers Group.”
Here is that document, from the Public Prosecutor for Serious Economic Crime, in Denmark (2001). At the bottom of p. 4, USAgain is listed among Tvind's “productive activities.” FC&L first appears on p. 7: http://tinyurl.com/mumfztn
An archival page from FC&L's Feb. 2009 website prominently features USAgain: http://tinyurl.com/fcl-2-10-09
But soon after the KIRO story aired in late 2009, and from then on, any mention of USAgain was removed from the FC&L website: http://tinyurl.com/mz2bdxt
Perhaps USAgain isn't as independent as its CEO Mattias Wallander would have us believe.
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USAgain's current website and green/white collection bins plainly state the company's for-profit status: http://tinyurl.com/mpo3876
Seems honest. But the company's older, usually red & white bins — as seen in KIRO's report — were worded differently. One statement on those bins was “We cooperate with schools, non-profits, city recycling programs and local businesses to bring this recycling option to your community.”
Time Magazine in 2003 called USAgain's bins “vaguely labeled.” Time also quoted a Lake Zurich, Ill. business owner who had agreed to host a USAgain bin: “Never, never did they mention they were making money off of it. If I had known they were going to sell the clothing for profit, I wouldn't have gotten involved.”
The unequivocal wording on USAgain's current website and bins may have been forced upon USAgain in 2010 by Washington state's Attorney General, who was quoted by KIRO as saying USAgain was “not properly licensed to collect used clothes” in that state.
According to documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, in late 2009 it had come to the attention of Washington's Secretary of State that USAgain was engaging in “charitable solicitations,” as defined in that state's Charitable Solicitations Act. USAgain was given two choices: 1) register as a “commercial fundraiser,” or 2) change the language on its bins and website so as not to constitute a charitable solicitation.
USAgain via its lawyers initially resisted such requirements, but later opted to change the wording on its bins and website — hence the new bin design with the prominent disclaimer.
USAgain had already run into the same problem in Missouri a few years earlier. Missouri Rep. Jake Zimmerman drafted a bill requiring companies like USAgain to plainly state their motives on their bins. Later that year, then Missouri governor Matt Blunt signed the bill into law, requiring USAgain bins in that state to carry a disclaimer in at least 2-inch high lettering.
KMOV 4 News, St. Louis, Mo.; 2007:
Pt. 1 http://tinyurl.com/kc66f5v / Pt. 2 http://tinyurl.com/mvdzuqj
Correspondence between USAgain's lawyers & Wash. state officials, 2009-2010: http://tinyurl.com/kwfm6ma
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USAgain filed its Foreign LLC registration with Wash. state in 2005, a shocking 6 years after the company claims elsewhere to have begun operations there. What took them so long? Was USAgain trying to avoid paying that state’s taxes such as Business & Occupation as well as Labor & Industries?
● USAgain CEO: USAgain began in Seattle in 1999
― ‘Stocks & Jocks’, WSBC, Chicago, c. 2010: http://tinyurl.com/pkae82n (@ :26)
● USAgain's Foreign LLC registration, Wash. state; filed Nov. 22, 2005. Where it asks “Date LLC began doing business in Washington State,” USAgain president Janice Bostic wrote “8.1.2004”: http://tinyurl.com/lyfpydj
More on USAgain and the Tvind Teachers Group at http://www.tvindalert.com/