Updated 2:30 p.m. | Posted 11:30 a.m.
Weeks after suing the thrift store chain Savers over its donation practices, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson is suing the Epilepsy Foundation for letting Savers use signage "misleading" to donors.
Swanson on Monday said Savers stores in Minnesota were soliciting donations of clothing and household merchandise on behalf of the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota, "even though donations at those stores did not benefit the foundation," a fact that's not disclosed to donors, she added.
"When a fundraising company is used, oftentimes they're taking the lion's share of the donation for themselves and giving just a small, residual amount to the charity. And that's what was going on here," she said.
Swanson said that if Savers registered as a fundraising company, donors could see how much of contributions go to charities.
The lawsuit alleges charities law violations, including using an unregistered professional fundraiser, "false and misleading solicitations, failure to provide required disclosures to donors, filing of inaccurate reports with the state, and failure to file documents required by Minnesota law," Swanson's office said.
The suit is the latest in a series of moves against Savers by Swanson, who's accused the well-known thrift chain of giving pennies on the dollar for donations it collects on behalf of Minnesota charities.
• May 21: Minnesota attorney general sues Savers over charity claims • Nov. 2014: Minnesota AG criticizes Savers thrift store chain
The Epilepsy Foundation did not respond to a request for comment.
Savers operates 15 stores in Minnesota, under the Savers, Valu Thrift and Unique Thrift banners.
In May, Swanson charged that Savers doesn't give proceeds to the charities it lists at collection points and doesn't forward any proceeds for donations that aren't clothing. She mentioned three charities in her action against the company, including the Epilepsy Foundation, Disabled American Veterans chapter in Minnesota, and Vietnam Veterans of America.
Swanson on Monday said three charities — Courage Kenny Foundation, Lupus Foundation and True Friends — stopped doing business with Savers following her earlier criticism of the thrift chain and its practices. Disabled American Veterans Department of Minnesota entered into a compliance agreement to resolve her concerns, she added.
The Epilepsy Foundation, however, "was unwilling to resolve the issues," which led to Monday's lawsuit, Swanson said.
The foundation last month said it sells donated goods in bulk to Savers and that since 1997 those items provided more than $8 million to serve people with epilepsy through programs such as Camp Oz and Seizure Smart Schools. It said meets all accountability standards of the Minnesota Charities Review Council.
"Donor transparency has always been a priority for the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota," the group said in May following Swanson's suit against Savers.
Savers has said it will vigorously defend itself against Swanson's charges. The attorney general's office said a court on July 9 is expected to hear the agency's motion for an injunction against Savers.
MPR News reporter Martin Moylan contributed to this report.