DALLAS, Sept. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The State Fair of Texas has filed suit against Iron Mountain Information Management (IMIM), alleging that the company and its employees participated in a scheme to steal and resell thousands of State Fair coupons that the company was contractually obligated to destroy. The suit was filed after a year-long investigation by private detectives that identified dozens of people who bought the coupons as well as former IMIM employees who were allegedly involved in selling them. Iron Mountain Information Management is a subsidiary of Iron Mountain, Inc. (NYSE: IRM), based in Boston, Massachusetts. The lawsuit alleges that the coupons from the 2004 State Fair were "pilfered after IMIM took possession of them and with the express or implied authority of IMIM by its employees who, in turn, released the coupons for sale through a network of clandestine agents." According to State Fair officials, Iron Mountain employees signed for 76 boxes of coupons, most still sealed from the printer, from the 2004 State Fair with a value of almost $3 million. More than $1 million in coupons that should have been shredded were in fact used at the 2005 State Fair. "The State Fair allowed its valued customers to use the preceding year's coupons, which have a face value of .50 cents, for the next year's fair," said State Fair spokesman David Margulies. According to the lawsuit, in just the last four days of the 2005 State Fair, approximately 137 people were caught trying to use coupons that should have been destroyed the year before. Fairgoers purchase the coupons, which are then exchanged for food, rides or entertainment at the fair. An investigation showed that hundreds of people purchased the coupons at locations near the IMIM shredding facility including a McDonald's restaurant and Deluxe Inn motel. "People from Dallas, Lancaster, Mesquite, Richardson, Red Oak, DeSoto, Balch Springs, Midlothian, Duncanville, Murphy, Plano, Mansfield, Irving, Rowlett and Grand Prairie, who were questioned by detectives when they showed up at the fair with the stolen coupons, acknowledged that they had not purchased the coupons at the State Fair," said Margulies. "The coupons were being sold in the streets, shopping center parking lots, barber shops, local restaurants, a bus station and at other locations," he added. Dallas police briefly investigated the case during the fair but ultimately decided it was a civil matter. The State Fair later hired private detectives to continue the investigation. In addition to IMIM, the lawsuit also names several former Iron Mountain employees. The suit alleges that the company failed to secure the coupons during a time when it claimed that its shredding equipment was inoperable. Instead, the suit claims the coupons were kept in locked containers that numerous IMIM employees could open. "The State Fair will have a system in place this year so that those who attended the fair in 2005 can utilize unused coupons," said Margulies. "However, our patrons should understand that the coupons have serial numbers and are tracked from their point of origin at the printers through their sale at the fair. People who purchased coupons from sources other than the fair will not be able to use them at the fair this year." Fair goers will still be able to use coupons from previous years fairs but will have to go through a coupon exchange process. The State Fair has hired another company to handle the secure destruction of unused coupons on site at this year's fair.
SOURCE State Fair of Texas