spaniel encouraging donations in the name of the Michigan Humane Society (MHS).
The bins, it turns out, belong to neither HERO nor the humane society. They're owned by a private business, Houston-based American Textile Recycling Services Corporation (ATRS).
Marti Rodwell, executive director of HERO, says she got into the bin business in 2003 through Ali Hashem, who ran his own import-export company, M.H. Textiles. (At the time, HERO had operations in Ann Arbor, but it has since moved its base to Canton.) Rodwell says she had an "excellent partnership" with Hashem, who initially placed fifty HERO bins throughout Washtenaw County. "Every week he gave me a breakdown of the contents, gleaned out clothing and shoes for us to give to our clients, and paid us on a regular basis. He kept me informed every step of the way."
Hashem brought ATRS into the relationship in 2005, saying he needed someone who had a better understanding of the bin business; in 2007, he bowed out entirely. In 2008, Rodwell says, ATRS operated 300 HERO-tagged bins throughout southeast Michigan, and HERO's share of the donations covered roughly 50 percent of its sub-$100,000 budget.