Chicago (CBS) – A popular bus company that transports tens of thousands of Illinois college students is facing accusations. The owner of Suburban Express, Dennis Toeppen, is accused of posting racist taunts, advertisements, and emails aimed at his customers.
The company transports students to college campuses around the region, but in the last three years has faced at least 50 complaints.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan says the allegations include a mass marketing email, including the words ‘You ride with passengers like you. You won’t feel like you’re in China.”
Toeppen is also accused of creating a ‘page of shame’ on his website where he publicly attacked customers who wrote negative reviews.
“The defendant has subjected students and their families to advertisement and harassment on their bases of their race, national origin, and religion,” stated Madigan.
“In one instance, the owner of Suburban Express calls a customer a ‘push little Chinese international student with a fragile ego’ and should ‘go back to your country and stay there,” Madigan stated.
Investigators found a LinkedIn post warning law schools about a customer, saying, “You’ll want to steer clear of this spoiled child.” He also allegedly filed lawsuits against more than 100 customers.
“Once he files these lawsuits, he often posts on his website their credit card and bank account numbers,” Lisa Madigan said.
Students on board today’s express, who are aware of the allegations, chose not to be identified.
“I think they are offensive emails,” said one of the student passengers.
The owner of Suburban Express lives in Urbana, Illinois. CBS 2 news called, but could not reach him.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office says the lawsuit seeks to put Suburban Express out of business.