BETHEL, Vt. — The state is suing the former managers of the Randall Drive-In over a misleading Kickstarter campaign to save the theater by buying a new digital protector.
The property’s owner didn’t want to convert to digital and the managers knew the projector wouldn’t be used longer than one season, The Valley News reported (http://bit.ly/2cKeS4V).
The Vermont Attorney General’s office claimed Adam Gerhard and Regina Franz collected more than $22,000 from donors for a projector they ended up using at a New York drive-in.
Gerhard’s lawyer said all contributors got what was promised and that the campaign’s wording was truthful and similar to other fundraising campaigns for digital movie projects. The lawyer added that the Attorney General’s office didn’t consider such facts.
The state claims that the couple made “deceptive representatives” by soliciting money in spring 2014 while knowing their landlord wouldn’t renew their lease after the summer. The owner of the drive-in property, Scott Corse, had sent the couple a certified letter that the campaign was done without his approval, participation or knowledge.
The lawsuit says that Franz and Gerhard “threatened the closure of the Randall Drive-In to induce community members and small businesses to contribute funds.”
The project ended up costing $36,300, even though the couple told more than 250 donors that it would cost around $75,000, the state claims.
Vermont’s suit seeks restitution for donors and an injunction requiring the couple to notify Vermont before launching crowdfunding efforts.