Salesmen file suit against company

JOHNSTOWN – A Gloversville leather company is being sued by salesmen across the country who say they haven’t been paid about $60,000 in commissions the last three years.

The salesmen – who live in Brooklyn, Connecticut, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Colorado, Washington and New Hampshire – filed the lawsuit July 8 in state Supreme Court in Johnstown against the Grandoe Corporation, which operated out of 74 Bleecker St., Gloversville, before it began to shut down last year.

The salesmen, who are not Grandoe employees but independent contractors, said in the lawsuit they have agreements with Grandoe that enable them to sell products across the country in exchange for a commission, but the company didn’t pay the commission in 2012, 2013 or this year. The nine plaintiffs are owed between $1,100 and $13,720, the lawsuit says.

The salesmen said Grandoe told them commissions would be late because the company was having financial difficulties “due to a large customer’s failure to make payment.” But the lawsuit notes Grandoe should now have the funds after it “entered into a legal settlement which resulted in its receipt of sufficient funds to pay all of the outstanding commissions.”

Grandoe in 2011 sued Gander Mountain in federal court in Minnesota, accusing the sporting goods company of reneging on an agreement to purchase $1.5 million in gloves that had already been manufactured. A jury awarded Grandoe $1.5 million, which escalated to $2.2 million after interest and other costs. A federal appeals court upheld the award this month.

Grandoe acknowledged it owed commissions to the salesmen when responding to a letter from the salesmen’s attorney in September 2013, but payments were not made and a second letter in November was ignored, the plaintiffs said in the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs are represented by Glens Falls attorney Cathi Radner, who could not be reached for comment. Grandoe CEO Eric Friedman could not be reached and a voice mail left on Grandoe’s main number was unreturned.

The company last spring began selling its assets to Totes-Isotoner but said it would continue operating the plant for the short term. The office and plant on Bleecker Street in Gloversville was locked last week, with a for-sale sign in front. CBRE Albany has the building listed for $124,900. A second plant on Grandoe Lane in the city is listed for $349,900.

In July, Grandoe filed a new corporation document in the Fulton County clerk’s office, indicating the company’s name was now Handwear Sales. In October, two outstanding loans – $200 from the Fulton County Economic Development Corp. and $100,000 from the Promote Gloversville Development Corp. – were paid off by Grandoe, records show.