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Scam Alleged in Shoes for Africa

NASHVILLE (CN) - Soles4Souls, a nonprofit that gives away shoes to poor people, claims its distributor, Gleaning for the World, took 16,000 pairs of shoes intended for Africa and sent them to a string of people who sold them. Soles4Souls says it ended up having to buy its own shoes back on eBay to protect its reputation.

In its federal complaint, Soles4Soles says the Minnetonka Moccasin Co. donated 16,000 pairs of shoes to it in October 2007.

Soles4Soles claims Gleaning, of Concord, Va., agreed that month to deliver the 16,000 pairs of shoes to Africa.

The agreement states that no money was to be involved, but that Gleaning, with permission, might give some of the shoes to "one approved exempt organization," Soles4Soles says.

Soles4Soles says that "without notice or consent," Gleaning "sold or otherwise transferred the shoes to For the Kids and James Hughes."

For the Kids is a nonprofit based in Tampa, Fla. Hughes lived in Appomattox, Va., according to the complaint.

Hughes and For the Kids then "sold or otherwise transferred the shoes to James Brooks or persons associated with him without notice to or consent from Soles4Soles," the complaint states.

Brooks lives in Hamilton, Ohio, and "is currently incarcerated in the Campbell County Detention Center" in Kentucky, according to the complaint.

Brooks then allegedly "sold or otherwise transferred the shoes to David Gault or persons associated with him without notice to or consent from Soles4Soles."

Gault lives in Morrow, Ohio.

Gault allegedly "sold the shoes to Jeanne S. Re," whose hometown is not specified in the complaint. Re allegedly advertised the shoes for sale on eBay.

But first, according to the complaint, Gault paid Avie Cohen, of Deerfield, Ill., a $6,500 commission for brokering the sale to Re.

Soles4Soles says that when it found out that the shoes were being sold on the open market, it bought them back from Re "so that Soles4Soles cold fulfill its obligations to Minnetonka, maintain its relationship with Minnetonka, and maintain its charitable objectives and reputation."

Soles4Soles demands compensatory and punitive damages for interference with contract and conspiracy. It sued Gleaning for the World Inc., For the Kids International Inc., James Hughes, James Brooks, David Gault, and Avie Cohen.It is represented by Nayder Baydoun

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