CONCORD - The Attorney Generals Office announced Tuesday that the Merrimack County Superior Court granted final judgment against Worldwide Push Foundation, Inc. ("WWPF"), a California corporation, for violations of the New Hampshire Consumer Protection Act and charitable trust laws stemming from "Margarita Madness 5K" promotion.
In 2019, WWPF promoted on social media a road race titled "Margarita Madness 5K" which was scheduled to take place at the Loudon speedway on Oct. 12, 2019. The website and social media posts promised that the race was "Where you get to celebrate with Margaritas" and indicated that the race would benefit the "Worldwide Push (Push Until Success Happens) Scholarship Foundation."
However, WWPF's charitable entity status had been revoked by the Internal Revenue Service in May of 2019. WWPF collected thousands of dollars in registration fees but failed to obtain the necessary permits and licenses to hold the event and serve alcohol. In the weeks prior to the race date, WWPF notified the registrants that the race location had been moved to a park in Northfield. WWPF, again, failed to obtain the necessary permits and licenses to hold the event as advertised. WWPF then "postponed" the event and failed or refused to refund registration fees, the AG's office stated in a press release.
In late 2019, WWPF began advertising on social media and its own website that the "Margarita Madness 5K" races were to take place at "Rollings [sic] Park" in Concord on July 11 and at "Surrette Battery [sic] Park" in Northfield on October 24, 2020. The race on July 11 did not take place and WWPF failed to obtain the necessary permits and licenses for the October race. WWPF collected a total of over $30,000 in registration fees.
In December 2019, the Director of Charitable Trusts issued a Cease and Desist letter to WWPF requiring them to cease advertising the race, return all entry fees, and register with the Charitable Trust Unit. WWPF failed to comply with all of those requirements.
The State filed a civil enforcement action against WWPF on July 10 for nine violations of the Consumer Protection Act and charitable trust laws for WWPF's failure to comply with the Cease and Desist, committing unfair and deceptive acts in the course of commerce and charitable solicitations, and advertising services without the intent to sell them as advertised.
By the Court's entry of Final Judgment, WWPF is permanently enjoined from advertising, organizing, soliciting, or accepting any consumer money for any event in New Hampshire unless and until it is registered with the Charitable Trust Unit. WWPF is further prohibited from committing any future violations of consumer protection or charitable trust laws. WWPF is required to refund race registration fees. The Court also awarded the State attorneys' fees for the cost of investigating and prosecuting this civil enforcement action.
This case was investigated and litigated by the Charitable Trust Unit and Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau.
This matter came to the attention of the Attorney General's office as a result of complaints made by individuals who registered for the race. Consumers who have registered for the Margarita Madness 5K Run/Walk in New Hampshire and have not received a refund can file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Bureau online at https://www.doj.nh.gov/consumer/complaints/index.htm.