NEW YORK — Soles4Souls has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that about 16,000 pairs of donated Minnetonka Moccasin shoes ended up for sale on eBay rather than being shipped to needy people in Africa.
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court Middle District of Tennessee against five defendants, including Concord, Va.-based Gleaning for the World Inc., a charitable distributor.
According to the lawsuit, Soles4Souls received the donated shoes from Minnetonka Moccasin Co. on Oct. 10, 2007. Under the terms of the donation, Soles4Souls agreed to give the shoes to people in need in Africa. The footwear charity then contacted Gleaning, and the two organizations agreed via contract that Gleaning would distribute the shoes to Africa.
However, the lawsuit maintains that Gleaning transferred the shoes to For the Kids Inc. — and that the product later changed hands four more times before being sold on Ebay.com by Jeanne Re.
Soles4Souls discovered that the shoes, worth more than $1 million at retail, were being sold on the open market and later purchased them from Re to “fulfill its obligations to Minnetonka and maintain its charitable objectives and reputation,” the suit said.
Soles4Souls is seeking a minimum of $250,000 in damages in the case.