Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Hearing features video of then-Attorney General Mark Shurtleff
Testimony » Utahn said he lost $100k in 18 months of operating mall kiosk with company’s products.
First Published Mar 05 2013 07:45 pm • Last Updated Mar 06 2013 07:54 am

A Utah man who bought the rights to sell the green tea products of a Lehi company testified Tuesday he lost tens of thousands of dollars, counter to assurances of the potential for profits made by the firm’s representatives.

To boost their case against Green Tea Co., state investigators also played a video recording at a hearing Tuesday of then-Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff as they tried to establish that the company had broken Utah and federal laws that regulate the sale of franchises or business opportunities.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Green Tea has been served by the Utah Division of Consumer Protection with an administrative citation for allegedly violating those laws. The Tuesday hearing was to give it a chance to hear the state’s evidence and to convince a judge the company did not commit the violations.

The Shurtleff video, which had been posted on YouTube, showed the state’s top law officer talking in 2009 about how Green Tea’s products had helped him concentrate during recovery from a motorcycle accident and finish a book he was writing. Shurtleff also praised a part of Green Tea’s business model known as multilevel marketing, which is controversial among some because only a few people earn most of the commissions from it, while most others lose money or make little.

"The purpose of the division in showing this video was to restate the quotes there, that it’s a solid product and if you just follow the rules, you can be wildly successful, and that this is endorsed and supported by the attorney general," said investigator Elizabeth Blaylock.

She said the video and another of company officials at a meeting with prospective clients made the point that "selling Green Tea is simple, easy, low cost, low risk. A great way to derive income by starting your own business."

For Shurtleff, his inclusion in the hearing is the latest revelation about his appearances before or connections to several companies that have later been the subject of a regulatory action.

Gary Zaccaria of Salt Lake City testified Tuesday that after seeing a spreadsheet at a 2008 meeting with Green Tea representatives showing the products could generate $50,000 a month in sales after only three months, he bought a franchise. Sales would be made from at a kiosk in a San Diego-area mall.

But after an initial investment of about $30,000 — including fees and the purchase of products — he said the best month for sales turned out to be about $15,000, which barely amounted to a profit, while most months produced $10,000 or less.

"Over a period of 18 months, the accrued loss I had from the business, and these are hard losses, was over $100,000," Zaccaria told Administrative Law Judge Angela Hendricks, who took the case under advisement.

story continues below
story continues below

An owner of the Green Tea Co., Roger Hendrix Jr., countered in his testimony that a number of kiosk businesses, including some run by the company, proved quite profitable. But he acknowledged that the company at times did not follow best business practices, saying that with limited resources it had a difficult time keeping up with its business and that many contracts the state points to as evidence went unsigned.

"We had limited resources to respond, sign, receive a fax back," Hendrix said. "We were just small. We weren’t capable."


Twitter: @TomHarveySltrib

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.