In an interview with East Idaho News today, Melalecua CEO Frank Vandersloot promised to resign his executive position with the company if his world record rowing attempt fails. VanderSloot will attempt to complete a 100-meter row on a Concept 2 Rower within 15.3 seconds on Tuesday, which also happens to be his 70th birthday.
When asked why he was undertaking such a risky bet, VanderSloot said that if he fails “maybe it’s evidence that I’m aging as rapidly as anyone else.” The CEO claims that Melaleuca’s Peak Performance Vitamin and Mineral pack has changed his life and others’ lives who “use it consistently”, and he’s confident that it will help him break the world record, even at a 4,000 ft. elevation (most world records like this are set at sea level where oxygen levels are more favorable).
Frank VanderSloot founded Melaleuca in 1985 out of the remnants of Oil of Melaleuca Inc., a multi-level marketing company that shut down after the FDA began investigating the company for illegal medical claims. Melaleuca sells nutritional supplements, household cleaning products, bath and body products, as well as essential oils, none of which have been tested by the FDA. According to the company’s income statistics, 89% of customers/distributors will earn less than $600 annually selling the product. Less than 1% will earn over $2,000 annually.
The FTC filed a report on the MLM industry in 2011 and found that the odds of winning from a single spin of the wheel in a game of roulette in Las Vegas was “22 times as great as the odds of profiting after enrolling as a Melaleuca distributor.” The same report recorded a number of misleading income representations that the company and its representatives were making while concealing the fact that the vast majority of distributors will lose money.
With the profits from Melaleuca, VanderSloot started or invested in a host of other businesses including:
- Riverbend Ranch, one of the largest cattle ranches in the United States.
- Natural Guardian Limited Partnership, a real-estate holding company that owns/leases roughly 1,500 acres of land in Idaho.
- Riverbend Communications, a group of radio stations.
- Snake River Cheese Factory
- HighStone, an asphalt construction and maintenance company in Idaho Falls.
In 2004, Forbes estimated VanderSloot’s net worth to be $1.4 billion, making him the richest person in Idaho. He has used his profound wealth to invest heavily in conservative political interests, and served as Mitt Romney’s finance chair during his presidential campaign in 2012.
It’s safe to say that a lot of people will be watching on Tuesday when VanderSloot starts rowing. But we won’t hold our breaths on Vandersloot resigning, whether he wins or not.