ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER SCAM: Herschel Walker Caught in Yet Another Predatory Business Venture — The Latest in a Long Line of Lies, Scams, and Controversies

July 11, 2022

On Friday, a new CNN investigation revealed that Herschel Walker partnered with the subsidiary of an energy company that was “repeatedly targeted by states’ attorneys general and utility agencies over allegedly deceptive practices” and “enticed potential customers into long term contacts falsely saying they would save them money, allegedly included the elderly and those with language barriers being put into contracts they did not understand.” 

It’s just the latest in a long line of revelations about Walker’s record — which is filled with scams, widespread lies, million-dollar lawsuits and wild exaggerations. The Republican candidate often touts his business record as evidence of his qualification for U.S. Senate, but report after report shows that record is built on predatory business practices and outright lies.

Read up on the growing list of Walker’s predatory business practices and personal record below:

Herschel Walker partnered in 2012 with arm of energy company accused by multiple states of deceptive practices

CNN, 7/8/22

  • Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker was once a “partner” and “spokesman” for a subsidiary of an energy company, Just Energy, which was repeatedly targeted by states’ attorneys general and utility agencies over allegedly deceptive practices.
  • Walker, the former football player turned businessman, and his technology company 34 Technologies in 2012 partnered with Momentis, a multi-level marketing subsidiary of Just Energy, to sell an online marketing service. 
  • Before Walker and Momentis’ partnership was publicized in 2012, Just Energy, at times doing business under their previous name US Energy Savings, was repeatedly targeted for enforcement action by attorneys general in New York and Illinois. The parent company’s practices allegedly enticed potential customers into long term contacts falsely saying they would save them money, allegedly included the elderly and those with language barriers being put into contracts they did not understand.
  • Walker and Momentis’ relationship began in 2012, according to a CNN KFile review of his business record, when Momentis and Walker’s company partnered on a product called M-Marketing Systems. Walker was featured heavily in the promotion of the product on the Momentis company’s website and at a conference in 2012.
  • “This is a product that has the power to make a tangible difference in the business community,” Walker said in a video hosted on the website on Momentis in 2012 and 2013. The video said Walker found the product “was so compelling” that “he decided to buy into the company that was backing up the technology.”
  • Walker spoke at a Momentis convention about M-Marketing Systems in 2012, where the CEO of Momentis Andy McWilliams described Walker as a “partner” in the company.
  • “We obviously want you to know that Herschel is not just somebody we brought up on stage,” McWilliams said. “He is a partner in Momentis.”
  • Though much of Walker’s business record — and lawsuits and false claims around it — have been widely covered, his ties to Just Energy have not been scrutinized.
  • In 2014, the Massachusetts attorney general’s office alleged that the multi-level marketing practices pushed by Just Energy and Momentis’ salespeople falsely represented or misled customers about Just Energy’s products, including that the products would save customers money, were offered through a state-run program and that the company made special efforts to purchase state-based renewable energy.
  • The state of Massachusetts and Just Energy and Momentis agreed to enter into an “assurance of discontinuance” action — a legal agreement between the attorney general’s office and another party to resolve the alleged unlawful practice without litigation — against Just Energy. Just Energy denied all wrongdoing but agreed to pay $4,000,000, most of it going to consumers. 
  • The parent company Just Energy’s practices also resulted in settlements and payments to a state watchdog group in Illinois in 2006 and state regulators in Ohio in 2010 and 2016. Just Energy settled all of them by agreeing to pay large fines and restitution and promising to change their sales tactics. 
  • Just Energy filed for bankruptcy in March 2021 after the Texas energy crisis left millions without power and losses for the company. A spokesperson for Just Energy told CNN it sold all of Momentis’ assets in March 2014 and has had no relationship with the company since then.
  • It’s unclear what happened to M-Marketing Systems. By 2015, the website for M-Marketing was defunct, according to snapshots archived online.
  • 34 Technologies also appears to have been short-lived. By 2014, two of 34 Technologies’ executive officers were already working at a different multi-level marketing company partnered with Walker called Livio International that sold skincare products.

The Strange Tale of Herschel Walker and the Chicken Empire That Wasn’t

New York Times, 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.”

Herschel Walker’s ties to veterans program face scrutiny 

AP, 5/21/22

  • Herschel Walker, the football legend and leading Republican Senate candidate in Georgia, often boasts of his work helping service members and veterans struggling with mental health.
  • In interviews and campaign appearances, the former Dallas Cowboy and Heisman Trophy winner takes credit for founding, co-founding and sometimes operating a program called Patriot Support. The program, he says, has taken him to military bases all over the world.
  • “About 15 years ago, I started a program called Patriot Support,” Walker said in an interview with conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt last October. “People need to know I started a military program, a military program that treats (thousands) of soldiers a year,” he told Savannah TV station WTGS in February.
  • But corporate documents, court records and Senate disclosures reviewed by The Associated Press tell a more complicated story. Together they present a portrait of a celebrity spokesman who overstated his role in a for-profit program that is alleged to have preyed upon veterans and service members while defrauding the government.
  • But Patriot Support is not a charity. It’s a for-profit program specifically marketed to veterans that is offered by Universal Health Services, one of the largest hospital chains in the U.S. Walker wasn’t the program’s founder, either. It was created 11 years before Universal Health Services says it hired Walker as a spokesman, which paid him a salary of $331,000 last year.
  • Court documents, meanwhile, offer a far more troubling picture of its care for veterans and service members.
  • A sprawling civil case brought against Universal Health Services by the the Department of Justice and nearly two dozen states alleges that Patriot Support was part of a broader effort by the company to defraud the government.
  • Prosecutors allege Universal Health Services and its affiliates aggressively pushed those with government-sponsored insurance into inpatient mental health care to drive revenue. That’s because, unlike typical private insurers, government plans do not limit the duration of hospital stays for psychiatric care so long as specific criteria are met, making such patients more profitable, the government alleged.
  • To achieve this end, the company pushed staff at its mental health facilities to misdiagnose patients and falsify documents in order to hospitalize those who did not require it, according to court records. In other cases, they failed to discharge those who no longer needed hospitalization, according to the DOJ.
  • A lengthy 2016 investigation by the website BuzzFeed included interviews with former patients, including a veteran, who said they went to Universal Health Services seeking a consultation or counseling only to find themselves held in inpatient care, sometimes against their will.
  • The company hired “military liaisons” to visit bases and develop relationships with military medical staff, treatment facility commanders and clinicians, court documents state.
  • “To maximize the flow of military patients, UHS engaged in an aggressive campaign … to market its ‘Patriot Support program,’” a company whistleblower who ran the admissions program at a Utah hospital stated in a 2014 court document.
  • As a celebrity spokesman, Walker was part of the public relations blitz.
  • Universal Health Services reached a $122 million settlement in 2020 with the Department of Justice and the coalition of states. The company denies government’s allegations and said it agreed to the settlement to “avoid the continuing costs and uncertainty of continued litigation.”

Herschel Walker spent years promoting health products with dubious claims 

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4/28/22

  • Senate candidate Herschel Walker has spent years promoting and developing health-conscious products with dubious benefits and skepticism from the medical community, a review by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has found.
  • He looked to “revolutionize” the health market with products he said would prevent aging, help weight loss and even protect against the damages of smoking—despite little evidence, his company admitted in filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • In many cases, the products were commercial failures, cost Walker and his business partners millions of dollars and put his companies into deep debt, for which creditors have repeatedly sued Walker and his associates to recover, as revealed by previous reporting by the AJC.
  • Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Walker has more recently promoted a product that he said “will kill any COVID on your body” despite no evidence for his claim.
  • Soon after Walker retired from professional football, he founded Renaissance Man, Inc. Through this company, Walker developed, sold and became the spokesperson for Aloe-Lu-Ya, an aloe-based drink.
  • In promotional materials, Aloe-Lu-Ya was described as containing “ActiVin”, a grape seed extract that the company’s marketing claimed protected against damage caused by smoking cigarettes, among other benefits.
  • Aloe-Lu-Ya was launched through Walmart in 1999 but was a “commercial failure”, Walker’s company said in a later SEC filing.
  • In its marketing, the company boasted of the “phytonutrients” within Sunutra, a plant extract which included three to five servings of fruits and vegetables per serving. These phytonutrients reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and more, the company said in government filings.
  • The company noted, though, in its legally-required disclosures to Wall Street investors, the medical community did not share this view.
  • “These beliefs are not supported by medical evidence generally accepted by the medical community,” the company said in an SEC filing.
  • A little over a year later, the company said in another SEC filing that Nu Specialty paid Walker’s company just $25,000 and defaulted on its other payments. ACMG never found another buyer. The company would continue to rack up roughly $7 million in debt until, in 2013, the agency revoked its securities status.
  • Since the collapse of ACMG, Walker has continued to promote health and lifestyle products. In 2014 Walker was a brand ambassador for Livio International, a multi-level-marketing company that sold an anti-aging skincare product which promised to turn “back your biological clock”.
  • In 2018, Walker served as a spokesperson for Novagen, a testosterone-boosting supplement Walker said boosts libido and strength.
  • More recently, Walker promoted two COVID prophylactics that he said were EPA and FDA approved and would “kill any COVID in your body” in an August 2020 appearance on conservative host Glenn Beck’s podcast.
  • “Do you know, right now, I have something that can bring you into a building that would clean you from covid as you walk through this dry mist?” Walker said. “As you walk through the door, it will kill any covid on your body. EPA-, FDA-approved.”
  • While many leading political figures urged Georgians to get inoculated from the coronavirus, Walker amplified a false tweet from performer Nikki Minaj about the vaccine causing swollen testicles and initially refused to tell the AJC whether he had received the shot.
  • At a meet-and-greet with conservative voters this month, he told the audience he didn’t “get one because I don’t think the government should be telling you to get one.

Herschel Walker Claims to Own Companies That Don’t Exist 

Daily Beast, 4/13/2022

  • 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.
  • While the chasm between Walker’s vision and reality often appears staggering—and applies not just to business but to multiple dimensions of his personal life as well—he might be playing fast and loose with the concept of “ownership.” But it’s unclear whether he transposed this fanciful structure onto his candidate financial disclosure, which claims a net worth of between $29 million and $65 million, and which, according to a Georgia Public Broadcasting report, merits further scrutiny.
  • 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.
  • “I started this little [inaudible] drapery company, where I still have about 250 people that sew drapery and bedspreads for me,” the former Olympic bobsledder told an audience at the University of North Texas on Feb. 10.
  • Two days before that, he told WRGA radio, “I built my own business, a very successful business, two businesses, a matter of fact, that I built them…. also in the drapery business, I built that one up as well.”
  • 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.
  • Similar statements pop up again and again, going back several years. It’s unclear, however, what business Walker is referencing, because Renaissance Hospitality dissolved last year. Walker also isn’t on the articles of dissolution; his friend and former business partner, George Mappin, is.
  • In fact, Walker’s mysterious claims about the upholstery company, which he “started,” appear to reference a now-defunct financial agreement he once had with Mappin’s other company, South Carolina-based Renaissance Manufacturing. But that company also dissolved last year.
  • And because both companies have since dissolved, it’s not at all clear what entity Walker was referencing on Feb. 10 when he said, “I still have about 250 people that sew drapery and bedspreads for me.”
  • Of course, Walker’s concept of ownership appears to have always been loose.
  • Over the years, Walker has claimed numerous times, falsely, that Renaissance Man is the largest minority-owned food business in the country. And since launching his Senate bid last August, he’s said it was either the nation’s largest minority-owned food company, food service company, or chicken distributor at least five times. On Feb. 24, he told Savannah’s Fox 28 it was one of his top qualifications for the Senate.
  • “Well, people need to know about me. They know I’m a winner. They know what I work. Well, people need to know I started a company. People just think of me as a football player. I started a company that became the largest minority-owned food company in the United States,” Walker said.
  • 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.
  • The spokesperson replied that, “This story has already been written repeatedly by CNN and others, like The Daily Beast, who want to help Raphael Warnock get re-elected—you’re a couple months behind.”
  • While CNN does not appear to have broken any news about Walker business claims (AJC and the Associated Press have), the cable network did recently report that he has overstated his academic record for years.
  • The Associated Press reported that, in recent interviews, Walker has touted annual revenues between $70 million and $80 million. But The Daily Beast obtained a deposition in federal court from 2019, where Walker pegged the combined net earnings of three related entities—Simmons Foods, Renaissance Man Foods, and H. Walker Enterprises—at $14 million. Further, that number was spread out between 2009 and 2017, for an annual average of about $1.5 million.
  • 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.
  • The Daily Beast previously reported that the two-time Pro Bowler once hawked a “dry mist” COVID cure that would “kill any COVID on your body”—another echo of Trump, who floated the unscientific and dangerous internal use of disinfectants as a COVID prophylactic a few months before Walker’s pitch.

Herschel Walker’s business record reveals creditor lawsuits, exaggerated claims
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 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.
  • The largest venture within H. Walker Enterprises appears to be Renaissance Man Food Services, a poultry products and distribution company, according to court records and Walker’s own public statements. 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 first loan in April 2020 amounted to $111,300 and has since been forgiven.
  • 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. In reality, manufacturers supply chicken to Renaissance Man Food Services which the company then sells to retailers and other businesses under one of Walker’s food brands, court documents show.
  • In a 2018 lawsuit against his company, Walker backtracked from previous public statements he’d made about the poultry business and his involvement in the chicken processing plants. He acknowledged that the company didn’t own any plants, but that he partnered with the company that actually owns the plants to sell his branded chicken products.
  • 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.
  • In a separate 2011 lawsuit, First Chatham Bank in Savannah sued Walker and Mappin for defaulting on a $300,000 loan related to an unnamed venture.
  • The company’s marketing materials say nothing about its financial struggles. 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. A Texas judge granted a default judgment against Walker and his business partner, Brandon Scrushy, in both cases after they ignored the court, records show.
  • “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.
  • But 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.” 

Herschel Walker owes $600k in unpaid restaurant loans, courts say

Columbus Ledger Enquirer 2/11/22

  • U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker and a business partner have failed to repay $625,000 in loans used to fund a pizza franchise, court records reviewed by the Ledger-Enquirer and McClatchy News show. 
  • The former NFL star and Brandon Scrushy, president of Zoner’s Pizza, Waffles and Wings, personally guaranteed the repayment of two loans issued by a Texas bank.
  • Two Georgia counties used a Texas court judgment to place a lien of more than half a million dollars against Walker, Scrushy and the business to try to get them to pay. Fulton County Superior Court filed the lien in December, and Johnson County, where Walker’s hometown of Wrightsville is located, recorded the lien later that month.
  • Veritex filed the first lawsuit over a roughly $500,000 loan in September 2020. A second suit over a roughly $100,000 loan was filed in June 2021.
  • Veritex accused Zoner’s of defaulting on both loans and said Walker, Scrushy and Zoner’s declined to repay despite agreeing to do so.
  • Walker avoided involvement in the Texas lawsuits. Security guards would not allow legal documents to be personally delivered to Walker, who lives in a gated community in Westlake, a town northwest of Fort Worth. Attempts to contact Walker by phone were unsuccessful, court records show.
  • Court documents state Walker and his codefendants failed to appear in court to answer the charges in the lawsuits.
  • The courts ruled in favor of the bank in both cases, and ordered Walker, Scrushy and Zoner’s Restaurant Group LLC to pay back the loans as well as attorney fees and other related costs.
  • Walker is referred to as an owner and majority stockholder in several news stories about various Zoner’s locations. He identified himself as an owner of more than “two dozen restaurants across the country, including Zoner’s Pizza, Wings and Waffles” during a speaking event in Fort Irwin, Calif., in 2019.


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