LEHI — A YouTube video featuring former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is evidence in a legal hearing this week over whether a green tea company violated state law.
Green Tea Co. is being investigated on whether it has been operating as a franchise without filing the appropriate documents.
Companies operating as a franchise must register with the state or file for an exemption, and Utah officials said the Lehi-based company hasn't done either. The state also alleges the company made profitability claims to retailers, without providing proof.
According to the citation from the state, Green Tea Co. told mall kiosk retailers that if they put in about $22,000, they could see a profit of $64,000 in about six months. However, state officials said there has been no substantiation of those numbers.
A 2009 YouTube video of former Attorney General Mark Shurtleff talking about the company and its products will be used as evidence in the case. At the time of the video, Shurtleff was promoting his upcoming book and said the product, Green Tea HP, gave him energy. He also addressed the benefits of the company's multilevel marketing, or MLM, tactics.
"You can get people and then if they follow the rules and the stuff you are all talking about tonight on how to do it, if you do it right, you can be wildly successful," he said in the video. He went on to praise the sales model by adding that anyone can join the grassroots effort and get involved with sharing the product.
When asked about his comments in the YouTube video, Shurtleff said he was merely referencing general practices of MLM businesses and how people can be successful if MLM businesses have legitimate products and are following the rules.
The company could face up to $200,000 in fines. The company is expected to argue its case in a hearing before an administrative judge on Tuesday.