By Brent Addleman | The Center Square
A civil lawsuit has been filed by the state’s top law enforcement official alleging a Missouri-based telemarketing company harassed the state’s elected officials.
Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced Thursday his office filed a civil suit against Karabell Industries and its owner, Eli Karabell. The suit alleges the company made illegal telemarketing calls to state legislators and harassing them to pay Karabell large sums of money.
“Companies that bring illegal calls into Vermont can expect to be held accountable,” Donovan said in the release. “My office will continue to investigate and bring charges against companies that are breaking the law and targeting Vermonters.”
Donovan, according to the release, filed the suit in Washington Superior Court. He said “numerous state legislators” complained to his office of “receiving late-night phone calls” from Karabell Industries who “claimed to offer ‘government consulting services.’”
According to the release, “the defendants then emailed state legislators proposing contracts” and at the same time “demanding payments of $18,500 per hour or even $48 billion.”
The suit alleges the company, while ignoring requests to stop, have violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act and Telephone Solicitation Act.
On Thursday, Donovan announced a preliminary injunction was put in place by the court against Karabell Industries because the company’s actions are taking the legislators “away from their time and work on behalf of the public.”
Donovan issued a tweet Thursday stating, “The court has required Karabell Industries to cease all business and telemarketing activity in VT & refrain from contacting anyone in VT about any marketing, sales, offers, or otherwise.”
Update: The court has required Karabell Industries to cease all business and telemarketing activity in VT & refrain from contacting anyone in VT about any marketing, sales, offers, or otherwise.
My office will continue to monitor the matter to ensure that this harassment stops. https://t.co/wAkLheVWt9
— Vermont AG Donovan (@VTAttorneyGen) March 31, 2022
He said his office will continue “to monitor the matter to ensure that this harassment stops.”
In the injunction, Donovan said, the “Defendants have repeatedly called state legislators, including those on the Do Not Call Registry” as late as 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Donovan, according to the release, sent a cease-and-desist letter to the company on Feb. 9, which was ignored, and the company continued to call state legislators.
According to the release, the lawsuit not only seeks to prevent the company from contacting state legislators, but also seeks civil penalties and costs.
The lawsuit comes on the heels of a suit filed last week against a California-based company, Telecon Carries Access, who was operating under the TCA VOIP name. The suit, against the company and its ownership, allegedly instituted “thousands of robocalls into Vermont.” In 2021, the attorney general settled a lawsuit with Strategic IT Partner, a company based in Florida, for routing thousands of illegal robocalls into the state.