We have asked VISI corporate for their side of the story, the official response is here:
Recently promoted Arctic Diamond partners, Michael O’Brien and Tim Lunsford have taken legal action against both Visi Corporate and it’s Master Partner Rick Hagar. They allege a breach of contract for non-performance by Hagar, and collusion by Visi and it’s CEO Kent Lewis to allow Rick Hagar to stop paying O’Brien and Lunsford what they are owed.
Hagar recruited Lunsford and O’Brien to Visi in January of 2014 with promises that he never intended to keep. Hagar along with CFO, Paul Frampton, instructed both of them on how to structure their business so not only Lunsford and O’Brien could have great success, but their team would be set up to thrive as well.
Lunsford and O’Brien had immediate success with the help of their top partner, Jen Purga. They came in and vaulted thru the ranks in quick fashion. Lunsford states, “I’ve been around this profession for a long while now, but I’ve never worked with a group of individuals in my team that are such high quality people of integrity.”
Within four months Lunsford and O’Brien had reached the rank of Emerald that paid them $10k a week, but with that fast growth came some grave concerns. O’Brien states, “we began to see very quickly that Hagar was not keeping his promise with us, and that our agreement was going south very fast.” Lunsford and O’Brien voiced those concerns to all the corporate officers and they were assured that if Hagar violated the agreement that they would be taken care of.
Sold on Visi by the notion that Kent Lewis was a humble family man with that “aw-shucks” way about him, Lunsford and O’Brien were happy to be in an environment not built on hype. That unfortunately fell apart very rapidly. Lunsford says, “Ego at the top will always harm a company. We were independent 1099 reps and our CEO was acting like a dictator in nearly every discussion with Michael and myself, treating us like little kids. It became very apparent that the environment at Visi was very toxic.”
This behavior wasn’t just for Lunsford and O’Brien apparently, no less than 8 employees working for Visi quit in a 12 month period beginning in August of 2014. Mind you, this a company that is very small and has less than 15 employees total not counting a few customer service reps. “On two separate occasions when asked why people left, we were told, the departing employee was “having family problems and needed to take time off”, only to find that both had already started work at their new jobs,” Tim recalls.
“I think what really sealed it for me, was when our top partner, Jen Purga, recruited an extremely successful network marketer, and the company completely disregarded the “right of sponsorship”, and initially offered her a position above Jen and our entire team. After many days of fighting for the right thing to be done, that recruit was finally placed in our team. Little did we know however, she was somehow also placed above all of us. CEO Kent Lewis then called us to pre-warn us that he had offered her a fake rank position of Arctic Diamond without her having to produce the sales required to achieve that rank. This frustrated and undermined the entire field as they sensed something was fishy,” states O’Brien.
In July of 2014, Hagar had not held up his end of the agreement. This obligated him to give Lunsford and O’Brien half of his weekly paycheck. While Lunsford and O’Brien had made that agreement based on numerous documented promises from both Hagar and the CEO of Visi, they had no idea that their pay would be cut by nearly 40%.
“We found ourselves losing about $16k a month in income that we were entitled to, based on the volume our team was generating,” Lunsford states. “When we went to Kent Lewis we were stonewalled even though we were promised on multiple occasions that they wouldn’t let this happen.”
From that point on Lunsford and O’Brien were in the most unenviable of positions. They had an amazing team that was thriving, and the company was using “their story” to promote Visi, but they were not getting paid based on their rank, sales volume nor their agreement.
From July 2014 until December of 2014, Lunsford and O’Brien resigned themselves to the fact that they had been double-crossed by both Hagar and the collusion of the corporate team. Then it got worse. On December 12th, Hagar decided to no longer abide by the contract, by paying less than the agreed amount. When Lunsford and O’Brien approached CEO Kent Lewis about this situation his response was “that’s between you and Rick.”
For the next four months Lunsford and O’Brien tried to work the problem out, but had no success. In late April, 2015 right before the Visi Convention, Lunsford and O’Brien had their attorney send Hagar a letter demanding what was owed. Hagar responded to that letter with a frivolous lawsuit. It stated that Lunsford and O’Brien had violated the agreement, which was completely false. Hagar then proceeded to no longer pay Lunsford and O’Brien another penny.
Responding to the demands of Lunsford and O’Brien, CEO Kent Lewis brought the parties together for mediation on May 11th of 2015 in Salt Lake City, UT. As it turned out the supposed unbiased mediator was none other than Visi’s outside council. While at the meeting, Lunsford and O’Brien stated that they had a signed declaration from former VP of Field Development, Ryan Anderson. Anderson was intimately aware of the details and intent of the contract. When this information was revealed, the corporate executives flipped out. “They were shocked to learn that we had a relationship with a former employee, which seemed to have made them nervous” O’Brien says. That not withstanding it seemed the parties might still come to a resolution.
The Visi attorney presented the one caveat to the agreement. “The Ryan Anderson clause”. This meant in order to collect just 60% of what Lunsford and O’Brien should have been making, Lunsford and O’Brien had to agree to have no contact with Ryan Anderson. Oddly, just about every person that came into their team between January 2014 and August 2014 had a great relationship with Ryan Anderson and many were very close friends with him. This was the last straw for Lunsford and O’Brien. Visi was now telling independent reps who they could and could not associate with. Lunsford and O’Brien for principle sake walked away from the shady negotiations.
Subsequently, Visi made up false accusations and suspended Lunsford and O’Brien when Lunsford made a Facebook post suggesting that every CEO should read the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. Kent Lewis claimed that Lunsford’s post was directed at him, and he suspended the duo. Lunsford and O’Brien were cut off without any pay from corporate and zero pay from Hagar while Visi did its “investigation”. This “investigation” lasted three weeks, and in the end Lunsford and O’Brien were rightfully re-instated, but forced to pay $1400 for Visi’s attorney fees.
Now with no apparent resolution in sight, Lunsford and O’Brien have filed a motion to add Visi Corporate to their lawsuit in an attempt to collect the multiple six figures that they were promised. This comes after being wrongfully terminated. Lunsford and O’Brien will also be seeking future earnings.
It is the opinion of Lunsford and O’Brien that the company is no longer a viable option, as investigations have made it difficult to find supporting evidence and documentation of the 95% absorption rates of the Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein. In addition the “trademarked” AC2 technology is not a technology. “Simply stated it is just marketing hype, lacking all proper clinical research and studies to prove the efficacy of the supposed technology,” says Lunsford.
It is also the opinion of Lunsford and O’Brien that soliciting of existing partners to “re-up” and pay another $1000 or more to earn a temporary 20% of sales, violates the Direct Selling Association’s standards and view of front loading, garage qualifying and illegal business practices.
Michael O’Brien concludes, “On behalf of this great profession that we are apart of, and so many of the companies that do business the right way, we feel obligated to see this through and not allow this to happen to other unsuspecting individuals.”
Get more information, facts and figures about Visi, click here for the Visi overview.