All Eyes on Walker’s Lies: Multiple Reports Have Found That Walker Has Repeatedly Lied About His Business Record

August 26, 2022

Multiple reports have found that Herschel Walker has repeatedly lied about his business background. From Walker claiming “to own companies that don’t exist” to “court records and other public documents contradict[ing] statements Walker has made about the number of people his companies employ, their size and the assets they own” the GOP Senate candidate’s business record has continued to receive intense scrutiny. Not to mention, Walker has made a habit of bashing “state and federal programs to support minority-owned firms” while touting his own businesses’ minority-owned status.

Walker’s lies about his business record make up just a few of the several lies, scandals, and bizarre statements he’s been caught in. In addition to lying about his business record, Walker has also lied about his academic achievements, lied about his involvement in law enforcement, and has been involved in two for-profit programs accused of targeting veterans and service members.

Read more about Walker’s business lies below: 

The Daily Beast: Herschel Walker Claims to Own Companies That Don’t Exist

Roger Sollenberger, 4/13/22

  • The Republican Senate hopeful and longtime friend of Donald Trump has, for whatever reason, chosen to dramatically inflate his business record, according to a Daily Beast investigation. In doing so, Walker has established a parallel record of demonstrably false claims, many of which appear to bear no resemblance to reality whatsoever.
  • While Walker’s business record has been picked over before — including in an Associated Press review of “exaggerated claims of financial success” — The Daily Beast has reviewed documents and other records that shine new light on previously unexamined, and particularly egregious, false claims.
  • Those claims include running the largest minority-owned food company in the United States; owning multiple chicken plants in another state; and starting and owning an upholstery business which was also, apparently, at one point in his telling, the country’s largest minority-owned apparel company.
  • The claims about the upholstery business appear particularly divorced from the truth, as that business, as Walker describes it, doesn’t appear to exist.
  • That fact didn’t deter Walker from boasting again and again that it was his company, repeatedly implying sole proprietorship—even saying as recently as a speech this February that he “started” the business.
  • In a 2020 interview, Walker claimed he ran “the largest minority-owned apparel company.” He added that “we do drapers and bedspreads” and “have 280 women in Greer, South Carolina.”
  • Two years before that, Walker told the Dum Ass Club point-blank that he had the “largest upholstery company in the United States,” a claim so absurd it barely merits fact-checking.
  • In October, he told a UFC-themed podcast, “I own a food company—that’s going to freak you out—I own the largest minority-owned food company in the United States.”
  • The Daily Beast’s review shows that this is nowhere near accurate.
  • By the Black Enterprise list, Walker’s company isn’t even the largest Black-owned food company in Georgia.
  • The Daily Beast asked the campaign for evidence to support the claim that the company ranks among the largest in that minority-owned category, but as of publication did not receive any.
  • The AP also reported that Walker’s claim contradicts what he told the government in forgivable pandemic loan applications.
  • Renaissance Man Food reported eight employees on those documents—nowhere near the 600 he told Fox Business in 2018—and received a total $180,000 in loans. Walker’s candidate financial disclosure shows he drew a $100,000 salary from the company.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Herschel Walker’s business record reveals creditor lawsuits, exaggerated claims
Dylan Jackson and Greg Bluestein, 3/11/22

  • At stops around the state and in online appeals, the Republican Senate front-runner boasts of creating several successful businesses and hundreds of jobs.
  • But an Atlanta Journal-Constitution review of court records and other public documents contradicts statements Walker has made about the number of people his companies employ, their size and the assets they own.
  • The review also revealed a string of defaults, settlements and lawsuits alleging that Walker and his businesses owed millions of dollars in unpaid loans.
  • And while Walker attributes his wealth to his business acumen, much of it seems to be derived from his celebrity status as a football legend through speaking engagements and brand ambassadorships, according to campaign financial disclosures.
  • “If you can’t run your own business,” asked Democratic state Sen. Emanuel Jones, “how can you run the nation’s business?”
  • The largest venture within H. Walker Enterprises appears to be Renaissance Man Food Services… He has described the company as a “mini Tyson Foods” and touted it as the largest minority-owned business of its kind in the country. He told the Dallas Morning News in 2009 that Renaissance Man Food Services employed more than 100 people and grossed $70 million a year. In a more recent interview, Walker told Fox News that the company employed 600 people.
  • Walker, however, has told a different story in government documents and in court records.
  • During the pandemic, Renaissance Man Food Services reported just eight employees on applications for two Paycheck Protection Program loans from the federal Small Business Administration totaling $180,000.
  • The large estimates of employees he has made to the press over the years appear to refer to chicken processing jobs, which are not actually part of Walker’s business.
  • Walker and various business partners have defaulted or fell behind in payments on at least eight loans totaling $9 million over the past two decades, according to an AJC review of hundreds of pages of court documents, Securities and Exchange Commission filings and other public records that detail these financial issues.
  • One of the earliest struggles came with Renaissance Man Inc., a health food company Walker founded in 1997 to sell and promote health-conscious products starting with aloe-based health drink Aloe-Lu-Ya. Despite Walker’s endorsement, Renaissance Man Inc. stumbled.
  • “This product launch was a failure,” the company said in a 2002 SEC filing.
  • In 2002, the company merged with American Consolidated Mining Co. and was renamed American Consolidated Management Group (ACMG). Walker was appointed as president and CEO, but the company struggled to make a profit and the financial problems continued.
  • The merged company fell behind in payments or defaulted on at least five loans amounting to a combined $8.2 million dollars, according to SEC records. And lawsuits followed.
  • In more recent speeches, Walker has touted his involvement and ownership stake in Zoner’s Pizza, Wings and Waffles… A pair of lawsuits filed in Texas over the past two years are linked to the company and allege that it defaulted on $700,000 in loans.
  • “Defendant Mr. Walker, although having been duly and legally served with Plaintiff’s Original Petition, failed to appear and answer, and wholly made default,” the judge wrote in their ruling.
  • Yale professor Sonnenfeld said that Walker’s litigious business past and misrepresentations of his success raises questions about his trustworthiness, especially as a candidate that has no political record to run on.
  • “It shows that he will exploit false information for personal gain. If there’s nothing else you need in public office, you have to have somebody that you can trust,” said Sonnenfeld, who previously taught at Emory University for nearly a decade. “The most important thing there is that he hasn’t established himself as a pillar of trust.”

The New York Times: The Strange Tale of Herschel Walker and the Chicken Empire That Wasn’t

Blake Hounshell, 6/14/22

  • Walker has made his record as an entrepreneur central to his biographical narrative, describing himself as the “successful owner” of as many as a dozen businesses.
  • But Walker’s origin story about his food-services company fits a pattern of exaggerations, half-truths and outright falsehoods that dates back to at least the 1990s.
  • A 1996 profile of Walker in Sports Illustrated by the columnist Skip Bayless called his statements “a wacky maze of contradictions” and portrayed Walker as setting himself up to fall short of the “superhuman” expectations he publicly set for himself.
  • Many aspects of Walker’s biography, however, have collapsed under closer scrutiny. On Monday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Walker has repeatedly claimed he “worked in law enforcement,” when in fact he hasn’t.
  • Walker has even lied about graduating from college, which he did not do, then lied about whether he lied about graduating from college, as CNN found he did. He also has layered on further embellishment at times, claiming that he graduated “in the top 1 percent of my graduating class,” which he did not.
  • On Tuesday, Walker publicly acknowledged having fathered a second son with whom he is not in contact after a report by The Daily Beast, which said it had confirmed the 10-year-old boy’s parentage.
  • In an interview with Fox Business in 2018, Walker said that Renaissance Man Food Services was “the largest minority-owned chicken business in the United States,” which was not true.
  • He also said it was “essentially a mini Tyson Foods” with “over 600 employees.” Two years later, in an interview with Scott Murray, a sports broadcaster in Dallas, Walker said the company had “about 800 employees.
  • But in April 2020, Renaissance Man Food Services listed just eight employees on a loan application for the Paycheck Protection Program, the coronavirus-era relief program.
  • Renaissance Man Food Services did not own the chicken-processing plants Walker has claimed it owned, either. As he told the court in a deposition for a wrongful termination suit that was previously examined by The Associated Press, “I don’t mean to speak of ‘own’ in a technical sense.”
  • Asked for the same deposition if he had come up with the name of his company on his own, Walker responded, “Yes, I’m the Renaissance Man.” But when pressed about the name’s origins, he said, “I have no clue where it came from.”

11Alive: Herschel Walker mocked businesses that took PPP money, even though he used it himself: report

Doug Richards, 1/27/22

  • U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker had business interests that took government bailout money during the early stages of the pandemic, records show. Yet, on Twitter, Walker has also ridiculed businesses that took such money.
  • When the COVID pandemic all but shut down the economy, hotels were among the first to lose business. When the government came up with the paycheck protection program or PPP hotels got a share of it.
  • One company benefiting was the Sotherly Hotel Group which includes Atlanta’s historic Georgian Terrace, across from the Fox Theatre, and a dozen other upscale hotels from Philadelphia to Houston.
  • In April 2020, the government reported Sotherly got two PPP loans totaling more than $9.7 million while, at the same time, laying off 90% of its hotel staff, according to documents the company filed with the government. 
  • Sotherly accepted the government’s help at a time when one of its board members was urging big companies to turn it away. That board member was Herschel Walker, now running for the U.S. Senate in Georgia.
  • At that time, Walker was a Texas resident and a bit of a presence on politically conservative sites like Fox News. Just a few days before Sotherly got the PPP money, Walker on Twitter mocked “big companies (that) are giving back their PPP money…. Maybe they felt embarrassed (or) ashamed,” wrote Walker, before he launched his senate race.
  • Sotherly has paid Walker $247,227 the last six years, according to stock disclosure statements filed with the government
  • “Because of that lifeline, a lot of businesses were saved,” said Adam Harrell, who runs a marketing company in Atlanta that also took PPP money.
  • “There’s (a) level of hypocrisy shown when you criticize it and hey, you were part of a company. You serve on a board. You took the money. But instead of saving people’s jobs, you laid people off,” Harrell said.
  • In a statement, Walker’s campaign said “Herschel’s tweet was referring to multi-billion dollar corporations that took multi-million dollar loans, which were clearly meant to keep small businesses afloat.”
  • Since he retired as an athlete, Walker also founded a food company. Walker’s face is on the home page of Renaissance Man Food Services, based in the central Georgia town of Dublin.
  • In April 2020, Walker told the Atlanta Business Chronicle he was “not relying on PPP or the government to save his chicken business,” according to the article’s headline. But a few weeks later, Walker’s company likewise benefited from two payments totaling $182,800 in PPP money, most of which the government has forgiven, according to a ProPublica tracking site. 
  • Walker’s campaign issued a statement:
  • “Like thousands of other small businesses, Renaissance Man Food Services took PPP funding to keep staff on payroll.” 
  • Walker declined an interview request with 11Alive – something he has done consistently since he began his Senate campaign last year.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Herschel Walker sends mixed messages on minority-owned businesses

Shannon McCaffrey, 8/25/22

  • On the website for Herschel Walker’s food service company is a red seal: “Minority Business Enterprise.”
  • Walker, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, has made no secret of the fact that Renaissance Man Food Services is certified as a minority-owned business. The label is all over his company’s website and gives him access to certain grants and contracts. In a 2019 legal deposition he said it was crucial in helping his company win a profitable contract with food giant Sysco.
  • “(T)hey gave me an opportunity to bid because I had been with Sysco for so long, and they were looking for a minority player to be there as well,” Walker said in the deposition, taken as part of a civil lawsuit.
  • Walker said the deal was so good that, “if my dog, Cheerio, was there, he could have made a profit.”
  • But on the campaign trail Walker has repeatedly bashed state and federal programs to support minority-owned firms, suggesting the regulations are burdensome and that the designation creates a barrier between Black businesses and white-owned companies.
  • “They have regulations for everything,” he said at a Hall County Republican event in July.
  • “I found out that I was Black so my company was a minority-owned business. Like wow, a minority-owned business, what does that mean? It means you’ve got to fill out all of these forms,” he continued. “I was like ‘I got to fill out forms to be Black?’ ”
  • Walker’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.
  • The minority-owned business program was created to help level the playing field for Black business owners, said Janelle Williams, principal adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • “It was an effort to end the impact of discriminatory practices that restricted access to credit and to capital,” she said.
  • In order to become certified as a minority-owned business you must undergo a screening process that takes about 90 days, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Among the requirements: The business must be at least 51% minority-owned, operated and controlled.
  • Walker’s website says he is Marriott’s 2016 Diversity Supplier of Year and the winner of the company’s International Diversity and Inclusion Award in 2014.
  • “Renaissance Man Food Services is one of our longstanding and extremely successful diverse supplier partnerships,” the company said as part of the award. “Owned and operated by Mr. Herschel Walker, Renaissance Man has served as an integral food partner to our Courtyard Brand, supplying chicken products to the majority of these properties throughout the United States.”
  • But that didn’t square with what Walker had to say earlier this month at a Republican National Committee roundtable in College Park with Black business owners.
  • “‘I didn’t want to be a Black-owned business,” Walker said. “I wanted to be a business.”
  • Later on, though, he waffled when asked whether there was a need for a way to level the playing field for minority business owners.
  • “There’s always room for affirmative action,” Walker said, “but you have to put the right person at the table.”


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