A lawsuit over a routine fund-raiser gone bad for Horace Mann Middle School parents is expected to head to court next week.

 

    The school’s Parent Communication Council filed suit in February against a California company that’s under fire from hundreds of nonprofit groups, which say the company never delivered thousands of dollars in orders.

 

    A pretrial hearing is scheduled Thursday at 9 a.m. in Wrentham District Court.

 

    “My hope is to come out of that hearing with a trial date,” said Franklin School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy.

 

    Roy has said his Boston law firm, Ravech & Roy, filed the suit free of charge in his role as an attorney, not as a school official.

 

    Scrip Advantage of Fresno, Calif., delivered only $60 worth of a $3,945 order for fund-raiser gift certificates from the Horace Mann parent group.

 

    The suit also says the company has not returned numerous letters and phone calls from Roy and the parent council, demanding that the remaining $3,885 be returned.

 

    Roy said Scrip filed a legal response to the Horace Mann lawsuit, but otherwise has not contacted him.

 

    “This is part and parcel of what we’ve heard about them from the beginning — that they just simply don’t respond,” Roy said. “They’ve left a lot of parents and the school group in particular in a very vulnerable position.”

 

    Roy said the company’s legal response was “boilerplate,” denying the lawsuit’s charges that Scrip was in breach of contract and carried out unfair and deceptive acts and practices.

 

    A call to an attorney who Roy said is representing the company was not returned yesterday.

 

    Scrip Advantage sold gift certificates for restaurants, grocery chains and other businesses to nonprofit groups at discounted prices.

 

    Horace Mann parent council members said they did business with Scrip Advantage in previous years with no problems.

 

    A post on the company’s Web site dated Feb. 17 says Scrip is in the process of filing for bankruptcy and hopes to restructure and “return as much value to our creditors as possible.”

 

    The Central California Better Business Bureau revoked Scrip’s membership last year, about 10 days after the Horace Mann group placed its order. The bureau said it had received 197 complaints about the company and called Scrip’s fund-raising program “full of empty promises.”

 

    Complaints have continued to pour in at the Fresno County district attorney’s office in California.

 

    “We’ve received complaints from over 500 nonprofits,” said John Sabarnoch, chief deputy district attorney at the office.

 

    After asking for documentation of these complaints, “we probably got somewhere between 350 and 400 of those forms back,” he said.

 

    The claims range anywhere from the low hundreds of dollars to “well over $100,000″ for larger organizations filing complaints on behalf of member groups — including the Los Angeles Archdiocese, Sabarnoch said.

 

    The complaints remain under investigation, he said.

 

    Roy said he hopes Scrip will help resolve the Horace Mann parent group’s complaint.

 

    “I think the least they could do is come to the table and try to get this resolved in the right way,” he said.
More Fundraising Ideas


Thanks for visiting Fundraiser Help! Here are some other fundraising sites that have good ideas and information:

Scrip Fundraising Company Sued
Scrip Fundraising Company Sued
eFundraising.com
Recycling Fundraiser


No tags for this post.