Deadline set for identifiers on for-profit MADD donation bins in NHBy SHAWNE K. WICKHAM
New Hampshire Sunday News
March 09. 2014 6:20PM
Time is about up for a Massachusetts textile recycling company that uses the logo of Mothers Against Drunk Driving to solicit donated items — items it then sells for profit.
It’s been well over a year since the Attorney General’s Office first began looking into an agreement between MADD and CMRK Inc. of Northborough, Mass.
As previously reported by the New Hampshire Sunday News, CMRK pays a “license fee” of $10,000 a year to the nonprofit MADD to display its red logo on its white clothing and book collection bins, which are in about a dozen locations in New Hampshire.
But nowhere on the bins is there an explanation of where the donated items will end up, or even any contact information.
The AG’s office reached a negotiated agreement last year with CMRK’s president, Fawaz El Khoury, to add language to the bins to clarify the arrangement with MADD. That still hasn’t happened.
The former director of charitable trusts at the AG’s Office, Anthony Blenkinsop, told the Sunday News last May that his office “viewed it as potentially misleading to donors who felt they were donating to a nonprofit organization when he in fact is not a nonprofit.”
On Friday, Terry Knowles, assistant director of the charitable trusts unit, said her office last week sent a “demand letter” to CMRK’s attorney. The letter set a deadline of this week for the company to comply with the agreement.
“The attorney general has given him ample time to comply with our request, and to date we have not received the compliance that we requested,” she said.
If her office does not hear back this week, Knowles said, “The attorney general will open an investigation.”
Reached Friday in Miami, where he was traveling on business, El Khoury said “everything is all set” to properly label the donation bins with stickers, according to the agreement. He said there’s a good reason for the delay.
“The only problem we had, unfortunately, was because of the cold weather, those stickers do not stick on the box.”
“We have to wait for a warm day to be able to put them on,” he said.
El Khoury said he expects the stickers will be on the bins by the end of March or “at the latest” by mid-April.As soon as the weather cooperates, he said, “It will be done.”
El Khoury said he was unaware of the AG’s letter; he said his lawyer has been on vacation. But he said, “There’s no ands, ifs or buts about it: that’s what they want, that’s what we will do. We will abide by the rules and regulations one million percent.”