German beer steins are Chinese, suit says

Claiming she was fired after discovering German beer steins sold at a Pennsylvania arts festival were Chinese-made, a woman says she is suing the festival.

Rebecca Stoneback, who taught a glassblowing class and worked in a gift shop at Musikfest, a 10-day German-themed March event in Bethlehem, Pa., that draws more than a million people annually, says in a suit filed in federal court Monday she refused to sell the $70 beer steins, advertised as “handcrafted in Germany,” after learning they were manufactured in China for $3 each. She claims her concerns were dismissed by supervisors, and the following day she was fired by ArtsQuest, the non-profit organization that operates the event, The (Allentown, Pa.) Morning Call reported Wednesday.

“Claiming the merchandise is made in Germany is a large selling point of the Musikfest items,” she said in her lawsuit, pointing out the area’s German and Dutch heritage.

Court papers filed by Stoneback over her termination under the state’s whistle-blower law include a class-action suit claiming ArtsQuest “conspired to commit mail and wire fraud” in ordering the beer steins from China instead of Germany. If a judge certifies the suit as a class action, anyone who bought the merchandise over the last six years could be a potential plaintiff, her lawyer said.

Copyright 2012 by United Press International

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