"Behind the Green Box" - 'Gaia' & 'Campus California' clothes donation bins in San Francisco





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Published on Feb 27, 2012

“Behind the Green Box” is a hard-hitting investigation into used clothes collector, Gaia Movement USA, and a related “volunteer training school,” Campus California (now ‘Recycle for Change’). Aired Dec. 17, 2006; CBS 5 San Francisco.

“In this season of giving [Dec. 2006], a new charity in the Bay Area is welcoming volunteers and clothing donations through its green-colored bins with the friendly ‘Gaia’ label. But behind the green box, investigative reporter Anna Werner uncovers a Danish organization known as ‘Tvind,’ or ‘Teachers Group.’ Critics call it a cult that is using people's good will to make millions in profit.”

2007.1.17: “Reaction To Our Report” http://tinyurl.com/nsvnua7
2007.1.18: “Berkeley Removes Green Boxes After CBS 5 Report” http://tinyurl.com/nv9ldrs
2007.1.29: “State Labor Officials Probe Donation Box Group” http://tinyurl.com/nvobgno

* * * * * *
“Gaia Movement Trust” is the name of “charity” used clothing collection businesses said to be run by the Teachers Group (TG). In the USA, it's a Chicago-based company that has placed hundreds of drop-boxes throughout the country ― in Chicago, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, as well as Sacramento, Fresno and elsewhere in California's Central Valley (no longer in the SF Bay Area). In England, students are invited to take part in the “Gaia Movement” by leafleting, fundraising on the streets and sorting used clothes. Gaia advertises that it collects “for the environment,” but watchdogs point to a lack of reliable evidence as to the effectiveness of Gaia supported projects.

All past and current board members of Gaia Movement USA ― except one ― are TG members. For example, Marianne Thomsen, listed on Gaia's website as “clerk,” has been physician to TG founder Mogens Amdi Petersen, according to ex-TG member Steen Thomsen (no relation). Ms. Thomsen was one of 38 witnesses called by famed attorney Robert Shapiro to support Petersen in an extradition case prior to his first fraud trial in Denmark, 2003-2006. (See ‘Politiken’ below)

Mikael Norling, chairman of another Tvind-linked clothes collector, Planet Aid, is described in Denmark’s press as the “leader of Tvind's American activities.” He was also a witness called by Petersen. In addition, Norling is on the board of the Gaia Trust in Switzerland, which, not surprisingly, are all TG members. (see ‘Boston Magazine’, below)

Josefin Joenson ― shown hiding from CBS 5's reporter ― is listed as “chair” on Gaia's website: http://tinyurl.com/prdpywb

“Concerning Tvind” — by Steen Thomsen, Denmark, 1998: http://tinyurl.com/m6hefkm

“Amdi vil indkalde 38 vidner” (Amdi will call 38 witnesses) ― Politiken, Denmark; 2002 (in Danish; try Google Translate. Marianne Thomsen & Norling listed): http://tinyurl.com/o5burv4

“Mission Control” — Boston Magazine, 2000:

Case summary against Tvind leaders, by the Public Prosecutor for Serious Economic Crime, Denmark; 2001 (Gaia & Planet Aid discussed at pp. 30-31): http://db.tt/AT0lUvxK

FBI report on Tvind, 2001: https://db.tt/4QeiULvS

Reports on Gaia:

“The green bins of Gaia” ― Chicago Tribune, 2004:

TvindAlert: http://tinyurl.com/pyq5b7d

CharityWatch Rating Guide, Chicago; winter, 2013 (gives Gaia an “F” grade for spending only 5% of its expenses on charitable programs, p. 5) https://db.tt/dxSq0il3

* * * * * *
Campus California's school in Etna, Calif. — shown in CBS 5's story — reportedly closed under mysterious circumstances in Dec. 2009. The group has since relocated to the Bay Area, where it continues only with its clothes collection operation. In Nov. 2014, Campus California changed its name to ‘Recycle for Change’

Reports on Recycle for Change (as Campus California):

“Your Rags to Their Riches” — SF Weekly, Calif.; 2011:

“We've Bin Had” — by Ken Katz, Oakland, Calif.; 2012:

“Has a Cult Come to Etna?” — Pioneer Press, Fort Jones, Calif.; 2001: http://tinyurl.com/qx8a22m

TvindAlert: http://tinyurl.com/n37edm6

* * * * * *
Reports on Tvind:

“Mysterious Danish Group...on Baja Coast” — San Diego Reader, 2010: http://tinyurl.com/ph88pa9
“Denmark's Tvind” — BBC, UK, 2002: http://tinyurl.com/ngx5rvw
Tvind's swank HQ on Mexico's Baja coast: http://tinyurl.com/qgxuxcz
Satellite pic of Tvind's Baja HQ: http://bit.ly/L5hyR9

Interpol listings for the 5 wanted TG leaders:
Amdi Petersen http://tinyurl.com/mgyvqt7
Kirsten Larsen http://tinyurl.com/lrmtvjf
Marlene Gunst http://tinyurl.com/k9p288s
Christie Pipps http://tinyurl.com/mwqltw2
Sten Byrner http://tinyurl.com/m2d3mgm

If you see any of them, call your local police.

“Wanted cult school leader...spotted in the US”
— Copenhagen Post, 2013 http://tinyurl.com/n9u9xla


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