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June 26, 2015

Thrift-Store Firm to Donate $1.8 Million in Minn. Settlement

International secondhand retailer Savers will pay $300,000 each to six Minnesota partner nonprofits and make its fundraising methods more transparent to settle a court fight with the state's attorney general, the Star Tribune reports.

The for-profit chain said it disagrees with Attorney General Lori Swanson's allegations that it duped consumers and donors about its charity model but is satisfied that the deal announced Thursday "has resolved her differences with us."

Savers sells contributed clothes and other items on behalf of select nonprofits and gives donors a receipt for tax purposes.

Ms. Swanson filed a suit last month accusing the company of misleading people about how much of its revenue benefits the partner groups. Under the settlement, Savers' Minnesota stores will more clearly state in signs and written materials that the firm is a commercial fundraiser; disclose how much it actually pays its partners; and stop soliciting donations of items whose proceeds do not aid charities, such as furniture and jewelry.

A related state suit against one of Savers' partner charities, the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota, is pending, but Vicki Kopplin, the charity's head, said she expects a resolution shortly.