As the name indicates, Executive Success Programs (ESP) teaches ‘success’.
How does ESP define success?
According to the website for ESP, the company provides “personal and professional development programs that employ Keith Raniere’s revolutionary methodology, Rational Inquiry®. This breakthrough in human performance technology is designed to help people discover, develop and utilize more of their untapped potential.”
On ESP’s website, the executive team includes Karen Unterreiner, vice president in charge of Humanities.
The bio of Miss Unterreiner states she joined ESP in 1998. Before that she worked in “corporate finance and in 1990 assumed the role of Chief Financial Officer at Consumers’ Buyline, Inc., a successful wholesale buying club.”
Since ESP teaches people how to achieve success, it will be good to learn what a ‘successful’ wholesale buying club is.
Consumers’ Buyline was a multilevel marketing company that offered commissions to customers who recruited new customers. The company offered discounts to members who purchased groceries, dishwashers, electronics, hotel stays etc.
It was founded by Keith Raniere in 1990, and its headquarters were in Clifton Park, New York.
“As an entrepreneur, Keith Raniere transformed a five-person organization into a corporation of nearly 400,000 in a mere two years. His company, Consumers’ Buyline, Inc., was responsible for an estimated one billion dollars in product and service sales in its second full year of business and was featured on the American Spotlight. A millionaire at the age of thirty, Keith Raniere was worth $50 million only two years later.”
Mr. Raniere’s bio neglects to mention that in 1992, Arkansas sued Consumers Buyline for ‘fraud, deception and false pretenses,’ allegedly operating an illegal pyramid scheme.
In 1993, the New York State attorney general filed a civil suit alleging Consumers’ Buyline engaged in ‘fraudulent, deceptive and illegal acts’.
The attorney general’s conclusion was “CBI is a classic pyramid scheme. The emphasis in CBI is clearly not on the sale of a product but on recruiting . . . to boost membership. Like all pyramids, CBI’s matrix is destined to collapse.”
A settlement was reached with the attorney general where Mr. Raniere, Miss Unterreiner and the late Pamela Cafritz were “permanently enjoined from promoting, offering or granting participation in a chain distributor scheme in the State of New York” and Mr. Raniere was required to pay $40,000.
Consumers Buyline Inc. closed down after its matrix collapsed, leaving thousands of members owed refunds and commissions.