Wash. seller to face suit

ALBANY, N.Y. - A magazine subscription company is accused of illegally recruiting and deceiving young workers into conducting door-to-door sales with little or no compensation, according to the state attorney general.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday he has sued Jaguar Sales LLC, based in Gig Harbor. The lawsuit was filed in the state Supreme Court in Poughkeepsie.

The charges

The company is accused of transporting young recruits to locations far from home, including New York state, to sell subscriptions door-to-door for magazines including Rolling Stone, Architectural Digest and U.S. News and World Report. Potential salespersons were promised hundreds of dollars in wages, cash bonuses, free travel and paid training.

Employees were then forced to endure terrible working conditions, according to Cuomo's suit. The company is accused of requiring their salespersons to work six days a week for about 12 hours a day, with no guaranteed earnings and no bonuses or paid training. Former employees claim commissions were either not paid or were withheld.

Jaguar Sales is also accused of charging employees for hotels and supplies, and fining them for breaking rules such as curfews. Travel fare was not provided until the employees had worked at least 30 days, and was not always provided after that, Cuomo charged.

Jaguar Sales had no comment on the lawsuit Wednesday, according to manager Steve Barcel.

Cuomo is suing the company's three owners, Tom Sibiski, his wife Ann Sibiski, and their son, David Sibiski. Barcel and managers Tim Brown, Adam Carlisle and D.J. Warren are also named in the suit. The suit seeks full monetary restitution to subscription sellers for unpaid commission wages, bonuses and any other compensation earned in New York state since Aug. 1, 2001.

Jaguar Sales was not registered to do business in New York state, according to Cuomo's office. The suit seeks to prohibit the company from working in the state until it properly files with the New York secretary of state and posts a $200,000 bond to be used for future restitution or penalties.

The company would also be forced to provide a full accounting of all employees who worked in the state. Jaguar Sales could also be ordered to pay a $500 civil penalty for every deceptive act committed and a $2,000 fine to cover Cuomo's investigation.