Was it just poor judgement, or something more?
Rafael Cruz has shared an inspiring story of achieving the American dream through hard work and faith after fleeing communist Cuba, as he travels around the country campaigning for his son, Senator Ted Cruz. His book, “A Time For Action” was released in January of this year, where he also recounts his experiences, including the time in 1990, when the oil services company he founded collapsed. Their properties were foreclosed on, and he had to declare bankruptcy.
The NY Times has reported details on a business venture of Mr. Cruz that has not been included in his speeches or his memoir. Cruz was also an independent sales associate with Mannatech, a nutritional product company, from 2003 to 2009, according to Mannatech company records.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Mr. Cruz became a top salesman for Mannatech, according to interviews and court records. For several years he also was a consultant to Mannatech’s founder, a role that landed him in a federal lawsuit brought by investors over the company’s sales practices. Allegations against Mr. Cruz were ultimately dropped from the suit.
According to the lawsuit, Mr. Cruz was the company’s “Mexican director” and was “trying to get individuals in Mexico or who traveled to Mexico to agree to accept large shipments of Mannatech products, which the recipients were then supposed to resell to customers in Mexico.” At the time, Mannatech did not have permission to sell in Mexico. “This was ‘a way around’ the rules against Mannatech selling directly in Mexico,” the lawsuit said. [/pullquote]
The NY Times reports that when asked about Rafael Cruz’s work for Mannatech, the campaign said he had never tried to sell products in Mexico, and that he had never traveled to Mexico for Mannatech.
However, in his memoir, Cruz writes that after his oil company went under, “We were in dire need of income, so I began working for a company that required extensive travel,” Mr. Cruz wrote. “Monday through Friday I worked in Mexico, opening an office, and then I flew home for the weekend.”
Mannatech is now a global company and according to a press release, officially launched operations in Mexico on January 24, 2011. The company reported $180 million in sales last year. Understandably, Mannatech would have needed representatives to fly to Mexico to negotiate their expansion there. At issue are the allegations that, according to the lawsuit, Cruz was part of an effort to sell Mannatech products in Mexico BEFORE the company was actually licensed to do business there.
Another discrepancy, according to the NY Times, is that Linda Caster, the wife of Mannatech’s founder, Sam Caster, claimed that Mr. Cruz actually started working for the company as early as 1993. She said Cruz was instrumental in helping to translate Mannatech literature into Spanish and served as an interpreter during business trips to Mexico.
A former top official in the company said Mr. Caster had a reputation for pushing legal boundaries, such as having priests in foreign countries not yet approved for Mannatech business try to recruit customers and sales associates from their congregations.
Cruz was eventually dropped from the lawsuit, and was never charged with a crime, but the case against Mannatech was settled in 2007 for $11.25 million.
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