Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Attorney General Swanson Sues Advertising Company That Solicited Payments From Minnesota Small Business Owners But Never Provided Promised Ads
Attorney General Lori Swanson recently filed a lawsuit against Dads Fundraisers, Inc.—which also does business as Moms and Dads for Kids (“Dads”)—under Minnesota’s consumer protection laws. The lawsuit alleges that Dads solicited large payments from Minnesota small business owners for advertising services that it never subsequently provided. The company’s owner, Michael Gerken, is also named as a Defendant in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that Gerken and Dads fraudulently sold advertising space to Minnesota small business owners on coupon cards. Gerken told potential customers that coupon cards containing ads for their small business would be distributed by school sports teams and other youth groups in their local communities as part of fundraising efforts to support the groups’ activities. Gerken and Dads solicited payments of up to $2,000 from customers for advertising space on forthcoming coupon cards. The lawsuit alleges that, after collecting these payments, Gerken and Dads did not actually create and distribute the coupon cards as promised. Gerken and Dads also refused to provide refunds, and cut off contact, with many of their defrauded customers.
The lawsuit was filed on April 11, 2017, in Hennepin County District Court against Dads Fundraisers, Inc. and Michael Gerken, individually. The suit seeks injunctive relief, civil penalties, and restitution for victims of Defendants’ deceptive and unlawful practices.
If you entered into a contract with Dads, Gerken, or otherwise paid them for advertising that you never received, please contact Assistant Attorney General Collin Ballou of the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office at (651) 757-1474 or (800) 657-3787. You may also download a Complaint Form from the Attorney General’s Office and mail the completed form to the Attorney General’s Office at: 445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1400, Saint Paul, MN 55101-2131.