Keith “The Vanguard” Raniere has started quite a few businesses over the years.
Consumer’s Buylime, Inc.
The first was Consumers’ Buyline, Inc. (CBI) – a company he started in 1990 that was closed down after being investigated by two federal agencies and more than two dozen State Attorneys General.
Raniere used to claim on his personal website, www.keithraniere.com – which, by the way, is no longer accessible – that CBI was an astoundingly successful business:
“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.”
But his personal bio failed to note that CBI was shut down because it was deemed to be an illegal pyramid scheme.
One of the places where Raniere and CBI ran into trouble was Arkansas.
As was reported by the Times Union back in 1992, Arkansas had concluded early on that CBI was an illegal operation.
“They’re essentially operating what appears to be an illegal pyramid,” said Perrin Jones, a spokesman for the Arkansas Attorney General. “Everything depends on you bringing in more and more people until the thing collapses under its own weight.”
Raniere and CBI also had troubles in New York State.
In the complaint that it filed against CBI, the Office of the New York State Attorney General asserted: ”The emphasis in CBI is clearly not on the sale of a product but on recruiting new organizational rows to boost membership. Indeed, the only product in CBI is the membership. . . 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.”
CBI was eventually shut down for good in the Fall of 1996 when Raniere – and his top two CBI management staff, Pam Cafritz and Karen Unterreiner – all signed a “Consent Agreement” and agreed to pay $40,000 to Office of the New York State Attorney General.
Raniere Tried to Erase his Past
Raniere was always looking for some way to undo all the bad press that CBI had caused him – especially in New York State and Arkansas.
Which is why he jumped at the chance to hire two attorneys/lobbyists who had very strong political connections in those states.
In New York State, it was Doug Rutnik, father of current U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand.
And in Arkansas, it was Richard L. Mays, a close friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton – and a former justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Rutnik was unwilling to do many of the things that Raniere wanted him to do – and was eventually fired and sued by NXIVM/ESP. Rutnik settled that lawsuit by paying back his entire retainer fee of $100,000.
Mays, however, became a devotee of Raniere – and even got his daughter heavily involved in taking NXIVM/ESP training courses (They both attended at least one V-Week).
And Mays was willing to do whatever Raniere asked – as long as the fees were big enough.
Mays also was instrumental in establishing NXIVM/ESP’s relationships with Hillary Clinton – and with former Arkansas Governor and Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
In recent years, Mays has sought to downplay his relationship with NXIVM/ESP and Raniere.
Questions about it generally go unanswered or receive a quick “No comment”.
But, as it turns out, Mays has apparently taken some of the ethical principles that he learned from Raniere back to Arkansas.
And he’s also apparently taught them to his son, Richard L. Mays, Jr., with whom he practices law at the Mays, Byrd & Associates law firm in Little Rock, AK.
Based on available public records, it appears that Junior and the law firm have been named in several Pulaski County lawsuits involving what is alleged to be illegal disbursements from the firm’s escrow account (We have not checked all the other Counties in Arkansas).
One such lawsuit, in which Junior and the law firm are both named as defendants, includes the following charges:
– Count 1: Negligence
– Count 2: Breach of Contract
– Count 3: Breach of Fiduciary Duty
– Count 4: Conversion
– Count 5: Civil Conspiracy
– Count 6: Fraud and Misrepresentation
– Count 7: Violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act
– Count 8: Violation of the Arkansas Securities Act
– Count 9: Civil Action By Crime Victim
– Count 10: Unjust Enrichment
And there have been several other lawsuits in Pulaski County against the Mays men and/or against their law firm.
But, wait, there’s more…
Turns out that Junior was a quick learner – and even came up with his own scams.
While serving as a member of the Arkansas Parole Board Commission, Junior voted to parole two inmates that he had represented during their criminal trials.
When that news became public, he quickly resigned from the Parole Board Commission. But according to several fellow members, his resignation came after he was accused of altering records and misleading his colleagues about the two case.
According to the Committee to Expose Dishonest and Incompetent Judges, Attorneys and Public Officials, which is based in Little Rock, AK, Junior was found guilty of the following:
– Engaging in the illegal practice of law while employed by the Parole Board Commission;
– Engaging in a conflict of interest;
– Engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice;
– Preparing a false interview document – and lobbying fellow commissioners to sign the falsified document;
– Illegally removing a parole board file and destroying an interview document; and
– Engaging in conduct involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty or misrepresentation.
That’s not a bad start, Junior.
But you’ve got a long way to go to catch up with Senior.
And don’t even think about trying to compete with the Vanguard.