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June 09, 2015

Minn. Sues Epilepsy Charity Over Ties to Thrift-Store Chain

Two and a half weeks after suing thrift store operator Savers over its fundraising for charities, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson took legal action Monday against one of the firm's nonprofit partners, the Star Tribune reports.

The suit accuses the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota of misleading donors, via its association with Savers, about the extent to which their contributions of used goods actually benefit the charity.

In a report issued last fall and the subsequent lawsuit against Savers, Ms. Swanson accuses the company of mishandling donated goods and failing to make clear how much of the proceeds from their sale go to its charity partners. The for-profit firm, which puts charity fundraising at the center of its business model, operates more than 300 thrift stores worldwide and had revenue of $1.2 billion last year.

Ms. Swanson said the Epilepsy Foundation has not signed a compliance agreement with her office regarding its work with Savers. The charity's executive director, Vicki Kopplin, said the group is reviewing the lawsuit and would not comment further. Three of Savers' six Minnesota partners have cut ties with the company since Ms. Swanson issued her compliance report on the firm in November.