Here’s a sad commentary. I have noticed that there have been clothing donation bins appearing all over Oakland, overnight it seems. What’s sad is that they are appearing in all the ‘hood areas. The poorer areas in Oakland, and other cities, I’ve learned, and I’m suspicious about it. That is sad. Because it seems that this should be a good thing. For one thing, that the bins are strategically placed near businesses in our communities, which supposedly increases foot traffic near the business that “hosts” one of the bins. That it’s green for another thing. How many green companies do you see in the ‘hood? That it’s convenient for another thing. Now I can walk three blocks and be right at this bin.
But I have a suspicious mind when it comes to this kind of thing. For one thing, who ARE these invisible people, and what are they doing with my old clothes? So I decide I’m gonna find out who these folks are before I donate any more goodies to them. (I did drop off a couple of bags) After nearly two months of forgetting to do that research, I finally got to it. I went online using “USAgain” and found their website. But their website looked a bit too cheesy for me. Too unprofessional looking. I didn’t truss it. So I dug a little deeper to find out about these people, and hit the jackpot with this link: (Allegedly)
So I found the above link to the above group of “investigative journalists” that have been following this company owned by Chicago based Mattias Wallender, who is danish. There’s all kinds of international intrigue here! It appears that Mr. Wallender is part of a danish organization calling itself the Teachers Group, Tvind and it has been said that these people are not into works of charity. Instead, they collect the millions of pounds of clothing from this country and African and South American countries as well, and sell it all for profit, which they admit. But the lion’ share of the money goes back to them, not to charity, and it’s alleged that they live extremely lavish and high lifestyles. And they seem to be untouchable.
According to this website, they have a long list of other “companies” that they start and fold at will, staying steps ahead of the authorities! And used clothing is not the only business that they are in–they also have “colleges” here in the US and in other countries, that supposedly train missionary minded people how to help the people of Africa, India, and South America. Unfortunately the whole thing is a front to collect tuitions from good hearted young people. They started off in Europe–Germany, Denmark, and England and were shut down after being investigated. But they slithered over here to America and it seems to be too difficult to put the finger on them. So now they are in my community and others here in the San Francisco Bay Area, taking free clothing, reselling it to the tune of millions, all under a tax exempt status!
The following is an excerpt from the investigative website, Tvindalert concerning one of their “colleges”:
According to informants, CCTG college in Etna, Ca suddenly closed in December 2009 due to a severe flood. Would-be ‘development instructor’ students have since then been directed to other Teachers Group ’schools’ in the USA – IICD Michigan and IICD Massachusetts. In spring 2010, the building was put up for sale at $229,000 and it has now been sold.
In fact, there is evidence to suggest that the closure and sale of CCTG was planned. In October of 2009, CCTG submitted forms to the IRS informing it of a change of address from Etna to Richmond, California. Two months later came the ‘flood’ which forced the college to close. We can speculate that CCTG and the Teachers Group may have made a financial gain from the closure. The event certainly fits in with a pattern of other Teachers Group businesses abruptly closing or filing for bankruptcy (see for example the story of EC Trading).
This entire “cult” was built by the Danish man, Amdi Petersen, who started it all as a counter culture teaching commune back in the late 1960s. Back in the day, their mission was to change the world by travelling it and learning as they went. They bought a bus and did just that, being thrown out of country after country. Later on, the commune turned to a for profit business enterprise, taking the flea market sales model to a whole new international level back in 199o. Then the man and his group of teachers disappeared for 20 years, no doubt amassing his fortune and controlling his underling teachers in a cult like fashion according to Danish authorities. Read more at the following link.
For me, it’s all very fascinating, yet sad for those people of color who have been used, and all those used who just wanted to help others in developing countries. It never ceases to amaze me how so many people can find ways to become amazingly rich off of the backs of poor people of color, yet so many of us remain in back breaking poverty. It’s all so perplexing, to say the least.
All of this from the little clothing bin on my block. Well, I guess I won’t be donating anything more.