Usually when people bring things into a consignment shop, they get a portion of the proceeds from sale and the owner of the store keeps the rest. But in Yankton, some sellers say the owners of a local consignment shop are just keeping all the money.
They asked KELOLAND News to investigate what was happening at Pearson’s Treasures Galore.
The store is a kind of junk and antique shop that rents out space to vendors and sells their items, if they agree to let the store owners keep some of their profits. But several people tell us Melissa and Doug Pearson are keeping all of the profit and the Pearsons aren’t denying using other people’s money for personal reasons.
“It’s got a green glass top. I’ve never seen another one,” Brandt Garner said.
Collecting stuff is Brandt Garner’s hobby. It’s also a business. He most recently set up shop to sell his items in Pearson’s Treasures Galore.
“I started making really good sales. I was doing somewhere between $1,200 and $1,500 a month,” Garner said.
Yet it didn’t take long for him to realize something wasn’t right.
“The first month, I got a bad check,” Garner said.
He says the owners of the shop eventually made good on the $400 he was owned.
“However, I haven’t been paid for any of my sales since,” Garner said.
Garner showed us his monthly ledgers of what he sold at Pearson’s Treasures Galore and says the shop now owes him $3,500.
We paid a visit to Pearson’s Treasures Galore to ask the owners about it. Melissa Pearson agreed to an interview and we asked about Garner’s allegations.
Kennecke: He says you guys owe him $3,500?
Melissa Pearson: No!
The Pearsons allege that Garner began taking over more of the shop than his allocated space and he actually owes them more money in rent. But Garner isn’t the only one who claims the Pearsons stiffed them.
“I brought some knickknacks, a book shelf, picture frames, miscellaneous things,” Traci Andresen said.
Kennecke: Did they sell your stuff?
Kennecke: Did you see any money?
Kennecke: Did they tell you why?
Andresen: They said I owed them money.
Andresen says she also went to work in the shop, but never got a paycheck.
“No she never worked here. Traci Andresen never worked here,” Melissa Pearson said.
Kennecke: How many hours would you say you put in for them that they didn’t pay you?
Andresen: Probably 30 or 40 hours.
While at first they claimed Andresen never worked in the shop, the Pearsons changed their story.
“We offered her a job and told her when to come in and she’d come in and be here a half hour and then go and do something. She never actually worked,” Melissa Pearson said.
The Pearsons went on to say they had to use the money from the sale of other people’s items to pay medical expenses when Doug got an infection and had to have part of his foot removed.
Doug Pearson: I don’t deny we owe people. Yep. I’m the last person that’s going to deny that. But I have to have it before I can give it to them.
Kennecke: But should you have given it upfront to them in the first place?
Doug Pearson: Well, uh,
Kennecke: Should you have?
Doug Pearson: Yeah, we should have. We should have did it a lot differently. But my health is very important and it still is.
Melissa Pearson: We were in the hospital all summer.
Kennecke: But is it wrong to spend other people’s money on your own personal?
Melissa Pearson: We told him, up front, what was going on, so he knew!
“Basically it boils down to they used my money for their own personal stuff. They took store funds and used it for personal things,” Garner said.
Kennecke: But you know you’ve got some angry people out there?
Melissa Pearson: Like he says, either they’ll get over it or die mad.
“I did everything I think right–I signed a contract. I was doing what I was supposed to do. I paid them their rent, they got their commission. I just didn’t get my money,” Garner said.
The Pearsons tell me they’re waiting on Social Security disability payments to pay everyone back what they’re owed.
Garner did file a police report and the Yankton Police Chief tells Kennecke they are investigating the case.
Doug Pearson was released from prison in 2011, after serving 5 years for grand theft for writing bad checks.
If you have a story you’d like us to investigate, just contact Angela on Facebook at KELO Angela Kennecke or on Twitter.