ST. LOUIS - The choir inside a small church in Queens, New York produces a big, joyful noise. But its current tune is one of frustration thanks to Owensville, Missouri based Hoffman Brothers Robe Company.
“We ordered robes for all the members of the choir. There were nine of us approximately at the time. We were paying for them on our own. They were not being paid for by the church," said Bonitta Campbell-Brown of Dunton Presbyterian Church.
Bonitta sent a $675 deposit to Hoffman Brothers Robe Company with the understanding the robes would arrive in six to eight weeks. Bonitta says as time passed, empty promises from the robe company struck a chord with her choir. She asked the company for a refund.
“The promised us that the refund would be forthcoming within two weeks, nothing happened,” Campbell-Brown said.
It turns out the choir in Queens wasn’t alone. Contact 2’s investigation and complaints from other Missourians prompted Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt to file a lawsuit against Hoffman Brothers Robes. The suit alleges owner Kyle Smith committed violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act. The suit is attempting to get tens of thousands of dollars in restitution on behalf of more than a dozen churches and schools. It also aims to shut down the company.
“I was very glad to hear someone else was stepping in to give us a hand. I am hopeful that the money will be refunded and glad they won’t be able to do this to other churches," Campbell-Brown said.
Contact 2 tried to talk to Kyle Smith about these allegations and the lawsuit filed against his company but have yet to hear back. We’ll continue to follow this story and share any updates.