A Rhode Island telemarketing firm faces a lawsuit from New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer on allegations that it made false statements and underpaid a police nonprofit for which it was working, Spitzer's office announced yesterday.
New York seeks to ban Liberty Productions and its principals, Thomas J. Gity of Seekonk, MA, and Thomas J. Gity Jr. of Barrington, RI, from charitable fundraising in the state. According to Spitzer's office, Liberty Productions' calling agents falsely told consumers that they were members of New York law enforcement, that they were calling from police stations and that all donations would benefit charities.
They also falsely claimed that businesses donating would be advertised in a directory to be distributed widely, according to Spitzer's office. And the callers failed to identify themselves as professional fundraisers, Spitzer's office said.
Also in the lawsuit, the New York attorney general's office alleges that Liberty Productions shortchanged the Ballston Spa, NY, Police Benevolent Association by $20,000, underpaying the organization and reporting false returns to the state. The company conducted telephone fundraising for 16 associations affiliated with law enforcement in New York.
Gity and Gity Jr. have unlisted phone numbers and could not be reached. No business phone number for Liberty Productions could be found in Rhode Island, and it was not listed in an online database search of the state's active corporations.
Gity was convicted in 2000 of embezzling money from six Rhode Island charities and is barred from working as a professional fundraiser in New York, according to Spitzer's office. Gity Jr. is registered in Liberty Productions' business records to hide his father's involvement, Spitzer's office alleged.
Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing and direct response TV marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters