Archive for Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tonganoxie nonprofit agrees not to use term ‘Purple Heart’ and will pay official organization $5,000

September 8, 2011

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Consent Decree and Order ( .PDF )

The Tonganoxie-based nonprofit Purple Heart Veterans Foundation can no longer use the term “Purple Heart,” according to a Consent Decree and Order filed in federal court Thursday.

The order settles a lawsuit filed by the Virginia-based Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation alleging trademark infringement by the local nonprofit, run by Tonganoxie man Andrew Gruber.

The lawsuit — filed on Aug. 26 in U.S. District Court — alleged that Gruber’s organization was deceiving donors, who might believe that Gruber’s charity was aligned with the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Established in 1932, the Military Order of the Purple Heart assists veterans who have been awarded the Purple Heart, which is a military honor given to veterans killed or wounded in combat.

In addition to discontinuing the use of the term “Purple Heart” within 15 days, Gruber — who founded his nonprofit in 2009 — also agreed to pay the Military Order of the Purple Heart $5,000.

In recent weeks, a Journal-World investigation highlighted several concerns with Gruber and the nonprofit, mainly that only 11 cents of every dollar donated to the charity actually went to veterans. Gruber also spent six months in a Kansas prison in 2004 for felony theft.

Last week, Gruber said he planned to dissolve the nonprofit, though he did not say when. He also said that would be transferring leadership of another nonprofit he founded in 2010 — Kids vs. Cancer — to his brother Steven Gruber, who lives in Texas.

Timothy West, who acted as local attorney for the Military Order of the Purple Heart, said they were pleased that Gruber agreed to settle the issue quickly.

“He essentially consented to everything,” West said.

But they also aimed to stop Gruber from operating the nonprofit after learning of the numerous issues highlighted during the Journal-World investigation, West said.

“I think there’s a public goal,” West said. “It was important that (the Military Order of the Purple Heart) stepped up and stopped this guy.”

Comments

Bob Forer 3 years, 8 months ago

Great news. Perhaps Gruber was afraid that had the suit continued, his responses to the plaintiff's discovery requests may have been incriminating.

Bob Forer 3 years, 8 months ago

P.S. It appears that all of this was precipitated by the investigative reporting of the Lawrence Journal World. A job well done, I might add.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 8 months ago

"Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets." - Louis Napoleon Bonaparte

50YearResident 3 years, 8 months ago

"Last week, Gruber said he planned to dissolve the nonprofit, though he did not say when. He also said that would be transferring leadership of another nonprofit he founded in 2010 — Kids vs. Cancer — to his brother Steven Gruber, who lives in Texas."

He needs to terminate his opperations now or face a more intense investigation. Then the Kids vs Cancer needs to be investigated also. If there is any wrong doing in these opperations charges should be brought forward. No free passes.

somebodynew 3 years, 8 months ago

It really doesn't matter if he shuts this one down and pays a measly $5,000. He can afford it after ripping so many people off. Besides, he will just change names and be back as something else that sounds like a legit cause. He need to be investigated and charged with any crimes/deceptions he has pulled and maybe spend some time in jail.

Instead he will move his operation somewhere else very quickly and survive there until somebody starts looking into him.

And yes, thank you LJW. These are the kinds of things that actually help the community and should be reported on. Good job.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 8 months ago

Everyone knows about the Girl Scout cookies.

But how many remember the Boy Scout candy?

The Boy Scouts sold it for only one year in the early '60s, and then the leftovers were served as snacks at all the Boy Scout events for a few years after that.

MarcoPogo 3 years, 8 months ago

Get ready for the new "Purple-ish Heart Veterany Foundation".

catman27 3 years, 8 months ago

Check out the american institute of phylanthropys website... thays who shaun quoted in his storys. Military order of the purple heart service foundation has several fundraising companys that do telemarketing that get paid 85%. They also fired their director or someone any way for misusing 500000 in funds gave him a large severance package n then hired him back a couple years later for the same salary with a different title. Also same time frame they got caught hiding fundraising costs and skewin the numbers to try to get a better rating. I dont remember how much makes it to the cause bit they are rated an f. If you want to help vets i would suggest going to the va hospital or researching before you donate. I would like to see how they would plan to defemd their costs now that their lawyer just puplicly made those

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 8 months ago

"If you want to help vets i would suggest going to the VA hospital or researching before you donate."

That is ever so true!

Very, very few realize how much of the assistance at the VA hospitals is from volunteers that are helping out there unless they have been a patient there.

And, if someone is trying to get you to donate from a telephone or mail solicitation, you should always tell them:

No!

If you do just a bit of research, you can be sure that 100% of your money is actually going towards the purpose for which you choose.

Case in point: I once received a VHS "Documentary" about WW II in the mail from some organization that I had never heard of that had "veteran" as part of their name. I received it for the simple reason that I'm a veteran.

I wondered how many hundreds of dollars had been donated in order to mail me that very poor quality VHS tape that wouldn't even play right. If I had purchased it, I would have taken it back because it was defective.

After that, I never heard from them again.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 8 months ago

P.S. The closest VA hospital is in Topeka, and that's quite a ways to travel to do volunteer work.

Lawrence Memorial Hospital is right here in town, and they can also use some help, if you have the time and the inclination to help others.

Bob Forer 3 years, 8 months ago

Good work, catman, and thanks for the info. Almost like the pot calling the kettle black, ya think?

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