Walker’s Pattern of Lies & Exaggerations on Everything from his Business to Academic Record Continues to Raise Questions

April 18, 2022

Georgia Public Broadcasting: “It raises questions when we’re at the candidate phase of if they’re going to be forthcoming with this information when they’re actually in charge” 

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Exaggerated claims,” a “string of defaults,” and “court records and other public documents contradict[ing] statements Walker has made.”

CNN: “Walker has been overstating his academic achievements for years.”

Daily Beast: “Georgia Senate candidate’s history of exaggerating his business success is even worse than anyone thought…claims to own companies that don’t exist”

MSNBC: “Given that the GOP candidate tends to point to his business record as proof of Senate qualifications, this seems like a rather significant problem.”

Rolling Stone: “Accumulating examples of Walker’s deceptions and false statements…”

Herschel Walker’s pattern of lies and exaggerations on everything from his businesses to his academic record is adding up. The Daily Beast released a bombshell report exposing his “previously unexamined, and particularly egregious, false claims” — including proof that Walker “claims to own companies that don’t exist” — and a new report from GPB News raises “red flags” about potential “conflicts of interests” in Herschel Walker’s personal financial disclosure, which is “missing key information” and contains major “inconsistencies.” It’s just the latest in a long line of lies from Walker, who has established a pattern of spreading falsehoods about his educational background and business record.

Here’s a recap of the stunning revelations Walker has been unable or unwilling to answer for:

Herschel Walker Claims to Own Companies That Don’t Exist

Daily Beast, 4/13/22

  • Herschel Walker 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.
  • 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.”
  • 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.
  • According to a review of business records, that company—either Renaissance Manufacturing or Renaissance Hospitality, depending on the telling (though both are now dissolved)—was not his in any common sense of ownership.
  • 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.
  • Similar statements pop up again and again, going back several years. And even today, the website for his company—H. Walker Enterprises LLC—lists “textile fabrication” among its areas of expertise, claiming the “HWE and Renaissance Hospitality provides major hotels, restaurants and hospitals with custom fabric bedding, drapery and window treatments.”
  • 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.
  • Of course, Walker’s concept of ownership appears to have always been loose. For instance… [Walker] repeatedly inflated the size and revenue of another company, Renaissance Man Foods, including in statements on the campaign trail. Over the years, Walker has claimed numerous times, falsely, that Renaissance Man is the largest minority-owned food business in the country.
  • 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 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.
  • These are by far not the first specious business claims linked to Walker, which range from the serious to the bizarre.

Herschel Walker’s business claims seem ‘divorced from the truth’

MSNBC, 4/14/22

  • It’s no secret that Herschel Walker is running for the U.S. Senate despite not having any background in politics, policy, governing, or elected office. But the retired athlete launched a Republican campaign in Georgia anyway, pointing to his success in the private sector.
  • On the surface, this isn’t necessarily a ridiculous claim. After a successful football career, Walker has been involved in a variety of business ventures and amassed a fortune. But just below the surface, his record is more of an embarrassment than a foundation for a statewide campaign.
  • The Associated Press reported last summer, for example, that Walker’s record includes “exaggerated claims of financial success” and a history of alarming business associates with his “unpredictable behavior.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a related report in March, highlighting the false claims, lawsuits, and unpaid loans as part of Walker’s private-sector background.
  • But The Daily Beast advanced the story further in ways that probably ought to embarrass the first-time candidate.
  • …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 … The Daily Beast has reviewed documents and other records that shine new light on previously unexamined, and particularly egregious, false claims.
  • To fully appreciate the details, you’ll have to dig in on the full report, but to briefly summarize some of the highlights, The Daily Beast found that Walker claimed to run, among other things, the largest minority-owned food company in the United States and the country’s largest minority-owned apparel company.
  • Reality suggests otherwise. In fact, the article added, “The claims about the upholstery business appear particularly divorced from the truth, as that business, as Walker describes it, doesn’t appear to exist.”
  • Given that the GOP candidate tends to point to his business record as proof of Senate qualifications, this seems like a rather significant problem.
  • Making matters slightly worse is the fact that Walker has very little to fall back on. Circling back to our earlier coverage, the Republican has made clear that he knows effectively nothing about public affairs. Voters have also learned about allegations of domestic violence and other dangerous personal behavior. He hasn’t even told the truth about his educational background.
  • As for Walker’s recent rhetoric, he’s tried to argue that the late-Rep. John Lewis was a senator who’d oppose the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. We learned soon after that Walker had falsely claimed the FDA had approved an unproven “dry mist” mystery treatment for Covid-19. The Republican then said it was “totally unfair“ to ask for his opinion about the bipartisan infrastructure law.
  • Last month, Walker suggested the existence of apes calls evolutionary biology into question and seemed to argue that in-vitro fertilization doesn’t work “because there has to be a God.” He tried to talk about energy policy this month and offered little more than a garbled word salad.
  • There was a debate this past weekend for the six Republicans running for the U.S. Senate in Georgia, featuring five candidates and an empty podium. Is it any wonder why Walker was the only contender who refused to show up?

Ethics experts say Herschel Walker’s U.S. Senate financial disclosure bears further scrutiny

Georgia Public Broadcasting, 4/11/22

  • Trump-backed Georgia Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker’s personal financial disclosure is missing key information that could help voters spot potential conflicts of interests if elected, several campaign finance experts say.
  • A review of Walker’s financial disclosure shows inconsistencies in reporting sources of income and positions (both compensated and uncompensated) held, as well as a failure to list any sources that paid Walker more than $5,000 in 2020 and 2021.
  • Three campaign finance and government ethics experts who reviewed Walker’s disclosures said the lack of required information could prevent voters from understanding potential conflicts of interests if he becomes a U.S. senator.
  • All three also had questions about H. Walker Enterprises LLC, Walker’s flagship company, which has a reported value of between $25 million and $50 million and netted him more than $3 million in shareholder income from 2020 to 2021.
  • The business is listed on the disclosure form as “business consulting and professional services.” But without a listing of clients that might have paid Walker or the company more than $5,000, the true picture of Walker’s finance is incomplete, said Stephen Spaulding with government watchdog group Common Cause.
  • “According to this candidate’s financial disclosure form, no person or entity paid more than $5,000 for any services provided by him — at the same time, he disclosed an interest in an LLC valued at more than $25 million and that provides ‘business consulting and professional services,’” Spaulding said. “This may raise questions for voters trying to screen for conflicts of interest who want to know more about who got what from the consulting and professional consulting firm that bears his name and pays him millions in shareholder income.”
  • A spokeswoman for Walker’s campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment or clarification about his financial disclosure and H. Walker Enterprises. 
  • “The lack of sources of compensation over $5,000 definitely raises some red flags,” said Delaney Marsco, senior legal counsel for ethics at the Campaign Legal Center. “It’s very odd that there would be somebody who has a consulting firm, has a lot of money from that consulting firm but is not reporting any clients that are paying over $5,000.”
  • “It raises questions when we’re at the candidate phase of if they’re going to be forthcoming with this information when they’re actually in charge,” she said. “If they actually get elected, how much information are we going to get when there’s policy on the line?”
  • Brett Kappel, a Washington, D.C.-based campaign finance attorney, also said the way H. Walker Enterprises was listed on the form is unclear and echoed the other experts’ questions about what, if any, consulting the company actually does.
  • “It isn’t clear whether or not Mr. Walker himself provided those services,” Kappel said. “If so, he should have disclosed the identity of each client who paid the LLC $5,000 or more for his consulting/professional services in Part 10.”
  • Kappel also added that Walker did not disclose whether or not he held a formal position with H. Walker Enterprises, listed in Part 8 of the disclosure.
  • “You would expect that an individual whose name is included in the name of the LLC would have a formal position with the LLC — as a member, the managing member or as the sole member of the LLC,” he said.
  • A Columbus Ledger-Enquirer report found Walker failed to repay $625,000 in loans he personally guaranteed for a pizza chain called Zoner’s, listed on his disclosure under “Corporate Securities, Non-Public Stock.”
  • The Associated Press did a deep dive on Walker’s “exaggerated claims of financial success,” and found his business records were inflated. 

Herschel Walker Appears to Have Been Lying About His Business Record, Too

Rolling Stone, 4/13/22

  • The Associated Press reported last summer on “exaggerated claims of financial success” by Herschel Walker, the Trump-endorsed Georgia Senate candidate. The investigation found Walker inflated the earnings and size of his chicken business, Renaissance Man Food Services. The extent to which Walker owns his business as opposed to lending his name to it was also questioned by associates, according to testimony in a recent court case.
  • There’s more. The Daily Beast on Wednesday reported new information regarding the former football star’s business record and the “particularly egregious, false claims” surrounding it.
  • “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 report states.
  • During a 2016 appearance on a podcast called the Dum Ass Club, Walker went even further by claiming, falsely, that his upholstery company was the largest in the U.S. The upholstery business “doesn’t appear to exist,” however, according to the investigation. Whether Walker is referring to Renaissance Manufacturing or Renaissance Hospitality is unclear, but both are dissolved, and any evidence that he owned either is scant, as his name isn’t on their business records.
  • Despite this, Walker claimed just two months ago in a speech at the University of North Texas, “I still have about 250 people that sew drapery and bedspreads for me.”
  • The accumulating examples of Walker’s deceptions and false statements may be one reason why he received an endorsement from former President Trump, who wrote in his 1987 book The Art of the Deal that he often deployed “truthful hyperbole” as “an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.”
  • In addition to using this tactic for his business ventures, a CNN report earlier this month found that the former Georgia Bulldogs running back repeatedly lied about his academic background. Walker did not graduate college in the top one percent of his class, nor was he valedictorian of his high school.
  • Trump’s support for Walker comes as some Republicans are concerned that the evolution-skeptic candidate’s “baggage is too heavy” to beat Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock. Walker skipped the first GOP primary debate last Saturday, a move his rivals claimed would also harm his chances against Warnock should he win the nomination.
  • Walker has indicated he won’t be participating in any primary debates. In light of the investigations about his past, perhaps he doesn’t want to face tough questions.

GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker has been overstating his academic achievements for years 

CNN, 4/1/22

  • For years, Herschel Walker has told the same inspiring story: that he graduated in the top 1% of his class at the University of Georgia. He’s told the story, according to a review of his speeches by CNN’s KFile, during motivational speeches over the years and as recently as 2017. The only problem: it’s not true.
  • Walker, who is a candidate in the Republican primary race for US Senate in Georgia, acknowledged in December that he did not graduate from Georgia after the Atlanta-Journal Constitution first reported that the false claim was listed on his campaign website.
  • But a CNN KFile review found that Walker himself has been repeating the claim for years. Walker’s comments in 2017, and others made over the years, show the former football star repeatedly misrepresented his academic credentials.
  • “And all of sudden I started going to the library, getting books, standing in front of a mirror reading to myself,” Walker said in a 2017 motivational speech. “So that Herschel that all the kids said was retarded become valedictorian of his class. Graduated University of Georgia in the top 1% of his class.”
  • Walker also made the claim in another interview in 2017. “I also was in the top 1% of my graduating class of college,” Walker told Sirius XM radio.
  • Walker did not graduate from Georgia, where he was a star running back after entering as a prized high school recruit. […] 
  • The claim was removed from his website between December and January, according to screenshots from the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.
  • […] That was not the only claim about Walker’s education that was adjusted on his website at the time. After a review of the revised site, CNN’s KFile found another little-noticed claim was removed that said Walker graduated valedictorian of his high school. The website now says that Walker graduated “top of his class.” The claim still remains on the Heisman Winners page for Walker.
  • While Walker was a top student at his high school and the president of the Beta Club — he maintained an “A” average to be in the school’s Beta Club — CNN’s KFile found no evidence he was the class valedictorian.

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.
  • 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.”


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