Consumer News Release
For immediate release -- Tuesday, December 5, 2000.
Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699
Des Moines Agencies Receive Antitrust Funds from Attorney General Tom Miller for Toys and Educational Materials
Des Moines - Nine Des Moines youth service organizations today received a total of $38,361 to spend for toys, books and other materials as a result of Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller's role in a national antitrust lawsuit against Toys "R" Us and several national toy manufacturers. Miller presented checks for the fund awards to the agencies today at Youth Emergency Services and Shelter in Des Moines.
Des Moines area agencies that applied for and received the funds include:
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Iowa will receive $4,500 for books, toys, art supplies and recreation equipment to support their youth development programs.
- Polk County Youth Services will receive $4,500 for books, games and recreational equipment for the PolkCounty Youth Shelter and Juvenile Detention Center. The materials will particularly be used as aids in an ongoing diversity program.
- Broadlawns Medical Center will receive $4,500 for use in its mental health outpatient therapy programs. The books, toys and educational materials will be used for art, play and physical therapy for youth in several programs.
- South East Polk Schools will receive $4,500 for its Central Place Family Resource Center for toys, books and related materials for its Early Learning Lending Library which is used by families in the district with children from birth to age five.
- Vincent Scavo Alternative High School will receive $4,500 for a program to encourage students who are reading below grade level and their families to read and discuss material from current magazines. After reading and discussing articles with their parents, students will bring the magazines to school for sharing and further discussion.
- Orchard Place Child Guidance Center will receive $2610 for recreational materials for youth in delinquency or psychiatric programs.
- Children and Families of Iowa will receive $4,500 to purchase educational and recreational materials for its Child Development Center, Family Violence Center, and Rural Iowa Therapy programs.
- Iowa Homeless Youth Centers will receive $4,500 for toys, books and games for its Day Shelter for Homeless Children and Street Outreach programs.
- Youth Emergency Services and Shelter (YESS) will receive $4,500 for equipment and supplies for their 24-hour emergency shelter and new crisis nursery programs, including computer equipment, books, games and toys.
"It is a pleasure to see Iowa children benefit directly from our antitrust enforcement work," Miller said. "In each case, the toys, games and other materials help fill a specific program need and educational purpose. The benefit is measured not just in terms of fun, but also in terms of youth development. Providing these funds for at-risk youth also helps prevent juvenile crime. The individual amounts are not large, but it is very difficult for agencies to find funds to purchase things like toys and games, so we know this will help fill a need."
The funds are part of a settlement of a case alleging illegal antitrust activities on the part of the giant toy retailer Toys "R" Us and several toy manufacturers.
In Iowa, the total benefit in cash and toys from the toy companies exceeds $450,000. Under the terms of the national settlement, the majority of the funds will be paid in the form of toys distributed through the Marine Corps's Toys for Tots program over three holiday seasons, including this year. Toys are also being distributed now to 34 Iowa domestic abuse shelters around the state. The cash portion, $141,482, is being distributed by the Attorney General to 42 Iowa agencies that serve at-risk youth.
Miller was one of 44 state Attorneys General to bring the antitrust action against Toys "R" Us and the toy manufacturers -- Mattel, Little Tikes and Hasbro. The suit alleged that Toys "R" Us used its market power to pressure the toy-making companies to restrict the supply of their most popular product lines to some retailers, especially Sam's Club and other warehouse clubs. The States alleged the illegal action resulted in less competition, less consumer choice, and higher prices in the market for toys.
Note: Similar fund awards also have been announced in many other communities where agencies received funds resulting from the Toys 'R' Us settlement.