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Tri-County News
Kimball, Minnesota
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July 16, 2009     Tri-County News
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July 16, 2009
 

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Community . Tri-County News * Kimball, MN Do you know where your donation is going? By la&apos;cqui DuBois, StaffWriter Have you ever wondered where your donations are going? KSTP TV News (Channel 5) shed some light on a company called U'SAgain (pronounced use again). You have probably seen their boxes around, including in Kim- ball and Luxemburg. U'SAgain " uses the hard-to-miss, bulky con- tainers that ask for your clothing donations. If you thinkyou're actu- ally .donating clothing to charity, you're not reading the fine print. U'SAgain bins say, "We are a commercial company doing some: thing good for our environment. Together we can reduce waste and conserve." By "commercial," they mean they are a for-profit com- pany, and what they do with the clothes is sell them. The items are not going to charity as sqme may think. Another impression given is that the donated items are being recycled. But KSTP caught on video a number of U'SAgain work- ers throwing away unwanted items such as books and rugs. Later, KSTP spoke with a Salvation Army spokesperson who said that they were uPset and could have taken those items. lohn Bolvin, owner of ]B Off- Sale Liquor in Kimball, says that after the couple of years the boxes have been located in front of his store he doesn't remember what U'SAgain said when they asked to have the boxes at his location, only that they compared themselves to Goodwill. Bolvin says he originally liked having the boxes because they were convenient. But. now know- ing what the company is doing, Bolvin says, "I don't like the idea, to be honest with you." KSTP says U'SAgain claims they've donated $30,000 last quar- ter, but there is no way to con- firm this since for-profit entities don't have to disclose their finan- cial information as do non-prof- its. KSTP found U'SAgain boxes at Rutherford Elementary in Stillwa-- ter and, when they spoke to a dis- trict spokesperson, they were told that "For an entire year of dona- tions they've received about $100." KSTP also spoke with Rick Ross, who has studied for years the orga- nization behind USAgain: Tvind or "Teachers Group." Ross said the organization is based in Denmark and is "headed byAmdi Petersen.who is a fugitive now wanted by the Danish court." The Teachers Group has a billion- dollar compound in Mexico. "What I see is an operation that has benefited a very small elite group at the top, at the expense of many well-meaning volunteers that form its base," Ross said. When KSTP spoke to Minne- sota's U'SAgain president, ]anice Bostic, she said she is a member of the Teachers Group. She says that she doesn't know where the Teach- ers Group funding comes from, but that "U'SAgain does not fund the Teachers Group." U'SAgain has operations in Georgia, Illinois, Colorado, Wis- consin, Minnesota, New York, Washington, and Missouri. In 2008, Missouri passed a law to protect its residents by requiring U'SAgain and similar organiza- tions to clearly state their motives. The U'SAgain bins i.n .Missouri now state, "Donations are not for charitable organizations and will be resold for profit." For every bin that is not clearlylabeled, U'SAgain can be fined $1,000. To watch the full KSTP Chan- nel 5 story, visit <www.tinyurL com/mlxluz>. Page 11 These two U'SAgain collection boxes were placed about two years ago in front of JB Liquor in Kimball by the Roseville-based organiza- tion. There are hundreds of them located in the Twin Cities and sur- rounding areas. While it may appear the boxes are for charitable do- nations, they are instead a convenienlE collection point for items that will be sold for profit in third-world countries. le m m.00ly Mary A : m and.Savel Buy THERA-GESI00.