The truth about USAgain, Mr Mattias Wallander and the Teachers Group
Letter submitted to Lincoln Courier – for publication.* (The Lincoln Courier declined to publish our letter.)* On May 10th the Lincoln Courier, Illinois, published an interview with Mattias Wallander, CEO of USAgain, in which he said “USAgain is a private, independently run company founded by an American
To the editor, Lincoln Courier, Illinois
FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
Mr. Mattias Wallander of USAgain is deliberately misleading your readers when he states that USAgain is a private, independently-run used-clothing company 'not affiliated in any way with the Teachers Group’ (USAgain responds to article, May 10th).
To the best of our knowledge, USAgain is a subsidiary of a Jersey and Belize-based offshore company, Fairbank, Cooper and Lyle Ltd (FCL), which is a Teachers Group company. FCL is the majority shareholder. Until recently, FCL's ownership of USAgain was explicitly stated on the company's website (http://www.fcl-ltd.com/id9.html) and although the name has been removed, there is no reason to suppose anything has changed. (1)
The Teachers Group, also known in Europe as ‘Tvind’, is a supposedly humanitarian organisation, with offices in Zimbabwe, Mexico, and Switzerland. It is, however, widely regarded as a cult-like group, effectively an international corporation that makes money for its owners. It raises millions of dollars through the recycling of used garments worldwide. U’SAgain is one of at least five used garment companies it controls in the USA.
Through FCL Ltd, U'SAgain is, in reality, just one company of dozens in an enormous and varied network of Teachers Group businesses (many covert, and based in offshore 'tax-havens'). The Group also owns many thousands of acres of land and real estate throughout the world through holding companies. (2) In the United States there are two ‘training schools’, three non-profits and ten businesses. Its global net worth is estimated at $860m USD and in the USA alone it has earned over $300m USD mostly from used clothing in the last ten years. (3)
It is, however, a ‘global corporation’ or ‘humanitarian enterprise’ with a difference. The Teachers Group – with a collective leadership of just a few dozen individuals - is essentially an extreme leftist belief system founded in Scandinavia in the 1970s on communistic and co-operative principles. To its many critics in Europe and the US, it is extremely controversial, and is widely regarded not as a humanitarian organisation, but as both a profitable business and a cult.
The organisation is known to operate a kind of cell structure in more than 40 countries, including the USA. (4) Through these tightly-controlled cells and a network of volunteers and affiliates, it runs its own schools and colleges (two in the USA), profit-making businesses, and charities including Planet Aid, Humana People-to-People, GAIA-Movement Living Earth Green World Action, UFF, DAPP, and a 'philanthropic' company in Zimbabwe named Friends Forever.
In 2000, police in Scandinavia began investigating the Teachers Group, eventually extraditing its Danish founder and leader, Mr Amdi Petersen, from the United States to stand trial in Denmark for fraud. According to Danish reports (5), Mr Petersen had been living incognito in a multi-million dollar luxury condominium in Miami, purchased by known Tvind companies using pilfered humanitarian funds.
Before the trial was appealed, Mr Petersen evaded a court summons, and is now living comfortably as a fugitive in a lavish complex in Zimbabwe, or in Mexico at a new high-security multi-million dollar facility in the Baja California area.
Official police papers from Mr Petersen's 2001 extradition hearing (6) explicitly refer to U'SAgain as the US clothing collection arm of the Tvind/Teachers Group, and to Fairbank, Cooper and Lyle as a key Teachers Group offshore company then implicated in the alleged fraud. (7)
The U'SAgain used-clothing company was started in Seattle in 1999 by two known Teachers Group members, Janice Bostic and Michael Hermann. Swedish-born Mr Wallander, real name Anders Mattias Wallander, moved to the United States in around 1992 and helped found a Tvind college in Michigan, the “Institute for International Cooperation and Development” (IICD). He remained a board member through 2006. He has also worked for Planet Aid Inc., the largest of the Tvind/Teachers Group used-clothing operations in the USA, before moving to U’SAgain.
Mr Wallander and Bostic (who claim to be married) are joint CEOs of U'SAgain and are also jointly connected with other Teachers Group enterprises, both in the USA and abroad. One of these is the so-called Gaia Movement Living Earth Green World Action, (8) another non-profit used clothes enterprise run by Teachers Group, established in Chicago in 2000. Wallander’s own wife, Janice Bostic, was a founder of Gaia-Movement. Mr Wallander has in the past claimed there is no link between U’SAgain and Gaia, but in 2004 the Chicago Tribune reported on numerous links including cross board-membership between the two entities.
USAgain has demonstrably close links with many other parts of the Tvind Teachers group business empire. For example, in 2007 U’SAgain teamed up with another Tvind organization, Campus California (CCTG), for a so called management training program, and documention in the public domain shows Mr Wallander has been a signatory with other Teachers Group members in several other Teachers Group companies. (9)
Mr. Wallander claims there is 'no connection' between U'SAgain and the Teachers Group, but on the basis of our ten years research into the Teachers Group, we find it inconceivable the leaders would ever allow a business as profitable as U'SAgain to be run by anyone other than a senior member of the group. The Teachers Group has never allowed outsiders into positions of authority or financial responsibility.
Indeed, we know Mr Wallander is a trusted member of the Teachers Group: three years ago he admitted under pressure in an interview on KIRO TV (Seattle) that he is an active member of the Teachers Group. This interview is still available through KIRO’s website for anyone to view.
U'SAgain, then, is a for-profit business owned by an offshore-based Teachers Group company, cited by police in extradition papers as part of the Teachers Group, run by husband-and-wife joint CEOs who are members of the Teachers Group. Yet Mr Wallander maintains there is 'no connection'. Who, to put it bluntly, does Mr Wallander think he is kidding? And what is he trying to hide? We challenge Mr Wallander to set out the real facts.
Sincerely,The Tvind Alert investigative team,
on behalf of the watchdog website www.tvindalert.com
(1) FCL Ltd refers to North American and worldwide used-clothing subsidiaries on the 'clothes recycling' page of the website http://www.fcl-ltd.com/id9.html. Although the currently-uploaded page does not name U'SAgain, the name appeared in a previous version. The wording then published was: "Since year 2000 FC&L has invested in clothes recycling in the USA. It is the majority shareholder in 4 American companies, engaged in collecting recycled clothes in 9 states, for resale in USA and world wide. ... Since year 2000 FC&L has invested in an expanding clothes recycling business in the USA. Clothes collections, operated under the name "U’SAgain", are collecting recycled clothes by means of drop-boxes in 9 urban areas situated all over USA. FC&L has also added a trading company, which is selling clothes to big customers in USA, Latin America, Europe and Africa."
(2) Widely covered in scores of articles and broadcasts in the Danish media – too many to enumerate. Conformation easily obtained from Danish media.
(3) Tvind Alert spreadsheet summarising earnings of six Tvind Teachers group operations in the USA, including USAgain, 1999-2010.
(4) Supported by confidential internal records of meetings at Tvind Teachers Group's Mexico headquarters. These documents are too sensitive to place in the public domain because of the risk of identifying our informants.
(5) Translation of article by Orla Borg, Jakob Rubin and Michael Ulveman, Jyllands-Posten, Denmark, 28th October 2001. Confirmation can be obtained from Jyllands-Posten.
(6) Extract from the 2001 Danish police report outlining the extradition case against Amdi Petersen. On page four, USAgain is named as the Teachers Group's clothes collection arm in the USA. The entire 33-page document, 'Exhbit C', is here: 2001 Danish police report.
(7) Fairbank, Cooper and Lyle is identified as a key offshore Teachers Group company in the same 2001 Danish police report. The discussion of Fairbank, Cooper and Lyle is on pp 7, 14, and 19-25 of the report.
(8) Extract from company papers listing names of six founding directors of the Gaia Movement Living Earth Green World Action, all known Teachers Group executives, including Janice Bostic and her then husband Michael Hermann.
(9) In 2006-8, Mr Wallander was listed with Anne Hansen, a senior Teachers group 'executive', as a signatory of a Delaware corporation TS Recycling Inc. A company profile of TS Recycling Inc from 2011 gives its address as the same as USAgain, and a suggested turnover of $28m USD. TS Recycling Inc and U'SAgain were registered in Delaware on the same day in 1999 and have consecutive file numbers, and another company, also called U'SAgain, was listed a few months later. A 2005 Texas document puts Ms Bostic together with other known Teachers Group representatives in yet another company called USAgain 2000 LLC. Even though U'SAgain and U'SAgain 2000 (also U'SAgain 3000) are registered as separate companies, they have shared Teachers Group officers, identical function, and use the same website. Therefore, for practical purposes, we consider them to be the same company.
Additional items of interest:
USAgain charity - Chicago - U'SAgain listed itself on this charity information website. Only non-profit organizations are allowed to be listed there. We are unsure as to why U'SAgain was allowed onto this list.Better Business Bureau warning of U'SAgain, Denver Post - an article from 2005