AG Swanson files suit against Savers thrift store chain

Attorney General Lori SwansonAttorney General Lori Swanson

Savers has the hammer dropped on it, again. Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib says, “State Attorney General Lori Swanson sued the secondhand retailer in Hennepin District Court on Thursday, saying Savers is seriously misleading the public about how much of the proceeds from donated clothing and furniture actually go to charity. … Swanson called Savers’ practices a ‘triple scam,’ and said she has no reason to think it’s unique to Minnesota. Only a small fraction of the money Savers makes from selling used clothes in its stores ends up at the charities, she said. Typically the company pays the charities about 40 cents per pound of donated clothing, which works out to pennies for a shirt that Savers might sell for $6. In the case of non-clothing goods such as furniture, Savers pays charities nothing at all.” You’ll be shocked to learn there’s a private equity firm behind it all.

For the PiPress, Nick Woltman writes, “Swanson’s office first began investigating Savers in late 2013 after receiving a series of complaints. She released the findings of the investigation in November 2014 and publicly criticized the company’s business practices. … the complaint says, a 1-pound suit sold for $100 in a Savers store would result in a 50-cent donation to an affiliated nonprofit, while Savers would keep the other $99.50. In the case of a $250 television, the complaint says Savers would keep the entire sale price.”

I’ll see your 1-gig and raise you 1. Julio Ojeda-Zapata of the PiPress reports, “Broadband-Internet and cable-television provider Comcast has traditionally been the Twin Cities’ Internet slowpoke as its main rivals in this area have made available online-access speeds outstripping its own. That is about to change in a big way. The Philadelphia-based company said Thursday it will make 2-gigabit-per-second Internet access available to more than 600,000 homes in and around the metro area by the end of 2015. … The company has not said how much its new broadband services would cost. But the company’s site quoted a $300-a-month fee for 2-gigabit service before that information was yanked, according to DSL Reports.” Anecdotally, geeks I know are generally open to a 25-30 percent price increase for 1 gig.

For MPR, Martin Moylan says, “CenturyLink says its 1 gigabit per second Internet service will be available to 100,000 area homes by summer, but has not said how much it will charge. US Internet has been deploying a fiber optic network in southwest Minneapolis. That firm’s service is now available to about 30,000 homes, apartments and businesses. US Internet charges $65 a month for 1 gigabit connection. CenturyLink has offered 1 gigabit service for $80 a month when customers add land line phones or TVs. Comcast charges $115 for a 105 megabit per second connection, generally the highest speed the company has offered to residential customers, so far.”

Just think if they passed a real transportation bill. Adam Belz of the Strib says, “A huge rise in construction hiring drove a gain of 7,400 jobs for Minnesota in April, marking the third straight month of solid increases in the state job market. Figures the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development released Thursday showed the unemployment rate ticking downward to 3.7 percent as construction added 6,600 jobs on the month. That’s the largest monthly increase for construction in 25 years and a welcome shift after what had so far been a tepid spring for the industry.”

The flu may have crested. The AP’s Steve Karnowski writes, “Minnesota notched six straight days without a new case of bird flu on Thursday, and though state officials aren’t ready to say the outbreak is over, they’re beginning to stand down. The first case of H5N2 in the Midwest was confirmed in early March at a Minnesota turkey farm, and the virus then spread to 88 farms in the country’s top turkey producing state, affecting nearly 8 million birds, mostly turkeys. But new cases have fallen off sharply and the focus is turning toward getting poultry farms back into production.”

A bit late though for these folks. Dave Aeikens for KSTP-TV says, “The largest Minnesota farm to be hit by bird flu is temporarily laying off 39 full-time employees. The outbreak at the Rembrandt Enterprises egg farm in Renville was confirmed last week. All 2 million chickens there will have to be killed to ensure the complete eradication of the H5N2 virus.”

Also, Jennie Lissarrague of KSTP reports, “A patient at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids is facing multiple charges after police say he somehow obtained a syringe and was making threats to staff members, filling the syringe with his own blood and squirting it at them. He’s also accused of holding a woman against her will in an elevator.”

The Strib wants another veto. “Gov. Mark Dayton has already vowed to veto education funding legislation, citing early education as a top priority. A governor who has also championed water quality should swiftly veto another budget bill — the agriculture and environment spending legislation. Signing it would put the gubernatorial stamp of approval on multiple measures that would weaken protections for Minnesota’s treasured waterways. Dayton, serving his final term and looking to burnish his legacy, would tarnish it if he let this shortsighted legislation sail through. It needs a do-over in the looming special session.”

What else is he going to say? Says Matt McKinney in the Strib, “Minneapolis police officer Michael Griffin pleaded not guilty in his first appearance in federal court Thursday on charges of beating four men in 2010 and 2011 and then lying about it during civil suits they filed against him. Griffin, wearing a suit and saying only ‘Yes, ma’am’ when answering U.S. Magistrate Judge Janie Mayeron’s questions, was arraigned and then released on a $25,000 bond. He agreed to give up his passport and remain law abiding.”

Our friend Scott Walker is riding in high in GOP presidential polls, but is having a very tough time with investigators over in Wisconsin, i.e. where “It’s Working.” For The Huffington Post, Zachary Roth writes, “Three days after being sworn in as Wisconsin governor in 2011, Scott Walker announced an ambitious plan to turn the state’s commerce department into a semi-private corporation laser-focused on economic growth and job creation. … Four years later, as Walker lays the groundwork for a presidential run, WEDC appears rudderless and deeply troubled. Government and press reports have raised serious questions about the agency’s transparency, effectiveness, political independence and compliance with the law. Walker, who serves as chair of the WEDC board, has twice in recent months announced major shifts to the agency’s structure and mission — and this week he has been forced to deny that he knew about a questionable loan to a political contributor’s company. Democrats are calling for a federal investigation. Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s job growth continues to lag far behind the nation’s — taking a toll on the governor’s popularity at home.”

But proving that even a broken watch is right twice a day, Jason Stein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports, “Walker signed legislation Wednesday to raise the top state speed limit to 70 miles per hour as his administration announced that starting in June more than 700 miles of interstates would be marked up to the higher limit.” But anything over 70 and you pay a fine to his SuperPAC.

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Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 05/22/2015 - 06:44 am.

    Scorched earth bird flu strategy

    Every time I hear they’ve killed every bird on the place in an effort to control the bird flu, I find myself wondering if they’re also killing off any birds that would have had a natural immunity to the disease and thus eliminating a future reservoir of more resistant birds in the event of a future outbreak.

    • Submitted by richard owens on 05/22/2015 - 10:20 am.

      Research into H5N2

      Francis Collins, M.D., head of the National Institutes of Health has repeatedly sounded the alarm regarding cuts to NIH research funding grants.

      The cost of the disease to farmers suffering outbreaks includes having a facility and no income. That is hardly the place for the research to take place.

      Nevertheless, Flu is likely to continue to be one of the main agents we will face in any future pandemic.

      I think it is a crime what the GOP Congress is doing to our most successful federal government efforts.

      The Director at NIH just last week explained again that there will be no big pay day for future initiatives based on research not being done NOW.

      Please help us stop the willful destruction of our most venerable institutions by these troglodytes.

      War spending, past present and future, will never yield the benefits of one major discovery.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 05/22/2015 - 10:47 am.

        Did I miss something?

        I can’t tell if your comment was in support of mine or against it.

        But I absolutely DO support science-based research, and bemoan the loss of momentum when ongoing studies are hobbled by short-sighted funding cuts.

        • Submitted by richard owens on 05/22/2015 - 05:08 pm.


          I support 100% your desire to know if there are infected healthy birds, and more information that might be gleaned from the disaster. It is the kind of question that needs as answer.

          I should have said so.

          Your question could save millions of birds, AND HUMANS, if answers can be found.

          (my default on you, Pat Berg, is AGREEMENT, based on your posts.)

      • Submitted by Steve Vigoren on 05/22/2015 - 10:58 am.

        Greater Minnesota residents,

        Please read the above comment again, especially the last sentence, because that is where all our money is going.

    • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 05/22/2015 - 01:16 pm.

      possibly but no matter

      Samples are taken of birds still alive in the barn to find ones that might have some immunity and given the fact that none are left to survive tells me they are finding none with any immunity. BOAH has stated that after the virus hits the barn it’s only a matter of time before all birds in the barn are dead due to the virus. In other words there is no immunity but they are searching for it already.

  2. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 05/22/2015 - 08:40 am.

    Walker’s on the same, I want to look presidential trip, that Tim Pawlenty took. The results will be the same. This kind of stuff has a short shelf life. When they’ve got nothing it becomes evident very quickly. Walker has been shady for a long time and his Teflon days of nothing sticking to him are coming to an end. Now all he has to do is find another state to live in because he won’t want to live in the mess he has created, ala Tim Pawlenty.

  3. Submitted by jim hughes on 05/22/2015 - 11:06 am.

    gigabit prices

    I don’t know anyone who would be interested in gigabit service at these prices. This is truly ‘Internet for the 1%”. I expect in the end, optical fiber service will only be available in wealthy neighborhoods, or in areas where the fiber is already laid, and that statements of intent to cover the rest of the city are just PR.

  4. Submitted by Al Andresen on 05/22/2015 - 12:51 pm.

    Non profit fraud?

    Looking forward (ahem) to the day that either Otto or Swanson take their partisan approach to their jobs seriously and audit non-profits for the laundering of taxpayer money provided to them.

    There’s been plenty of examples over the past year to get any true unbiased professional on the stick. But of course, that might be too much to hope for when it’s DFL’ers that would be put further under the microscope

  5. Submitted by Joe Smithers on 05/22/2015 - 01:22 pm.


    While the strib and Dayton might say the bill is watered down most with any knowledge would call it a more common sense approach. It makes way more sense to target tile drainage systems anyway rather than buffers. Close to 20% of N is being lost to tile drainage not overland flow. The bill still allows for some buffer expansion and enforcement which is what Dayton wanted so he should be more than please to get something he wanted even though it didn’t make much sense to start with. Most people prefer a common sense approach to things rather than a broad approach that doesn’t have a much more beneficial effect.

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