A.G. Schneiderman Sues Cohoes Textile Manufacturer For Failing To Deliver Bulk-Ordered Dishcloths To Hundreds Of Charitable And Religious Groups
A.G. Obtains Injunction Prohibiting The Manufacturer From Accepting Orders
Schneiderman: While We Pursue Justice For These Victims, My Office’s Action Ensures Sangamon Mills Will Not Prey Upon Any Other Organizations
ALBANY — Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced his office has filed a lawsuit in Albany County Supreme Court against Sangamon Mills, a Cohoes-based textile manufacturer, and its owner, Michael Scott, of Clifton Park, for failing to deliver bulk-ordered dishcloths, despite cashing checks for the orders. Attorney General Schnedierman also sought and obtained an order prohibiting Sangamon Mills from accepting new orders while the factory is closed.
"Sangamon Mills' conduct is especially egregious not only because the business took advantage of its loyal customers, but also because those consumers were nonprofits and church groups that use the dishcloths to raise funds for charitable purposes," Attorney General Schneiderman said. "While my office pursues justice and restitution for these victims, the court’s injunction ensures that Sangamon Mills will not be able to prey upon any additional organizations."
According to papers filed by the Attorney General’s Office, Sangamon Mills, which was founded by respondent Michael Scott's grandmother, has manufactured its Sunflower Dishcloth for more than 50 years and developed a loyal nationwide customer base composed mostly of charitable and religious groups, which typically order the dishcloths for resale as fundraisers. However, since Scott took over the business after his grandmother's death in 2011, Sangamon Mills began failing to fulfill orders that were paid in full, many of which totaled hundreds of dollars. When customers sought to contact the Sangamon Mills factory, located at 58 Columbia Street, they were typically unable to get through because the voice mailbox was full.
In April 2013, the City of Cohoes Building and Planning Department shuttered the factory for numerous building code violations, and the factory remains closed. However, Sangamon Mills continued to accept new purchases and cash checks totaling more than $15,000 without advising customers that it was unable to fulfill those orders. According to an investigation by the Attorney General's Office, Sangamon Mills failed to ship merchandise to more than 100 not-for-profit and religious organizations that placed and paid for bulk dishcloth orders.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit alleges that the business violated both federal and state law by failing to notify consumers that it was unable to deliver the dishcloths in the advertised delivery time frame and giving them the option to cancel their orders and obtain refunds. In turn, the lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction prohibiting the business from engaging in illegal and deceptive practices, restitution for consumers who did not receive ordered goods, and penalties and costs.
Consumers who did not receive goods that were ordered and paid for are urged to contact the Attorney General's Office at 1-800-771-7755 or visit www.ag.ny.gov.
The investigation was conducted by Assistant Attorney General Amy Schallop, with assistance from Senior Consumer Frauds Representative Ron Furan, under the supervision of Consumer Frauds Deputy Bureau Chief Laura J. Levine, Consumer Frauds Bureau Chief Jane M. Azia and Executive Deputy Attorney General Karla G. Sanchez.