Making Vanguard Proud – The Mays Men Bring Executive Success To Arkansas

Keith “The Vanguard” Raniere has started quite a few businesses over the years.

Consumer’s Buylime, Inc. 

The first was Consumers’ Buyline, Inc. (CBI) – a company he started in 1990 that was closed down after being investigated by two federal agencies and more than two dozen State Attorneys General.

Keith Raniere hired actor Eddie Albert to be a spokesperson for Consumer’s Buyline, Inc.

Raniere used to claim on his personal website, – which, by the way, is no longer accessible – that CBI was an astoundingly successful business:

“As an entrepreneur, Keith Raniere transformed a five-person organization into a corporation of nearly 400,000 in a mere two years. His company, Consumers’ Buyline, Inc., was responsible for an estimated one billion dollars in product and service sales in its second full year of business and was featured on the American Spotlight. A millionaire at the age of thirty, Keith Raniere was worth $50 million only two years later.”

But his personal bio failed to note that CBI was shut down because it was deemed to be an illegal pyramid scheme.

One of the places where Raniere and CBI ran into trouble was Arkansas.

As was reported by the Times Union back in 1992, Arkansas had concluded early on that CBI was an illegal operation.

“They’re essentially operating what appears to be an illegal pyramid,” said Perrin Jones, a spokesman for the Arkansas Attorney General. “Everything depends on you bringing in more and more people until the thing collapses under its own weight.”

Raniere and CBI also had troubles in New York State.

In the complaint that it filed against CBI, the Office of the New York State Attorney General asserted: ”The emphasis in CBI is clearly not on the sale of a product but on recruiting new organizational rows to boost membership. Indeed, the only product in CBI is the membership. . . CBI is a classic pyramid scheme. The emphasis in CBI is clearly not on the sale of a product but on recruiting . . . to boost membership. Like all pyramids, CBI’s matrix is destined to collapse.”

CBI was eventually shut down for good in the Fall of 1996 when Raniere – and his top two CBI management staff, Pam Cafritz and Karen Unterreiner – all signed a “Consent Agreement” and agreed to pay $40,000 to Office of the New York State Attorney General.


Raniere Tried to Erase his Past

Raniere was always looking for some way to undo all the bad press that CBI had caused him – especially in New York State and Arkansas.

Which is why he jumped at the chance to hire two attorneys/lobbyists who had very strong political connections in those states.

In New York State, it was Doug Rutnik, father of current U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand.

Doug Rutnik with his wife Gwenn Bellcourt

And in Arkansas, it was Richard L. Mays, a close friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton – and a former justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Richard Mays, Sr.

Rutnik was unwilling to do many of the things that Raniere wanted him to do – and was eventually fired and sued by NXIVM/ESP. Rutnik settled that lawsuit by paying back his entire retainer fee of $100,000.

Mays, however, became a devotee of Raniere – and even got his daughter heavily involved in taking NXIVM/ESP training courses (They both attended at least one V-Week).

And Mays was willing to do whatever Raniere asked – as long as the fees were big enough.

Mays also was instrumental in establishing NXIVM/ESP’s relationships with Hillary Clinton – and with former Arkansas Governor and Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.


In recent years, Mays has sought to downplay his relationship with NXIVM/ESP and Raniere.

Questions about it generally go unanswered or receive a quick “No comment”.

But, as it turns out, Mays has apparently taken some of the ethical principles that he learned from Raniere back to Arkansas.

And he’s also apparently taught them to his son, Richard L. Mays, Jr., with whom he practices law at the Mays, Byrd & Associates law firm in Little Rock, AK.

Mays, Byrd & Associates, P.A.

Based on available public records, it appears that Junior and the law firm have been named in several Pulaski County lawsuits involving what is alleged to be illegal disbursements from the firm’s escrow account (We have not checked all the other Counties in Arkansas).

One such lawsuit, in which Junior and the law firm are both named as defendants, includes the following charges:
– Count 1: Negligence
– Count 2: Breach of Contract
– Count 3: Breach of Fiduciary Duty
– Count 4: Conversion
– Count 5: Civil Conspiracy
– Count 6: Fraud and Misrepresentation
– Count 7: Violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act
– Count 8: Violation of the Arkansas Securities Act
– Count 9: Civil Action By Crime Victim
– Count 10: Unjust Enrichment

And there have been several other lawsuits in Pulaski County against the Mays men and/or against their law firm.


But, wait, there’s more…

Turns out that Junior was a quick learner – and even came up with his own scams.

While serving as a member of the Arkansas Parole Board Commission, Junior voted to parole two inmates that he had represented during their criminal trials.

When that news became public, he quickly resigned from the Parole Board Commission. But according to several fellow members, his resignation came after he was accused of altering records and misleading his colleagues about the two case.

According to the Committee to Expose Dishonest and Incompetent Judges, Attorneys and Public Officials, which is based in Little Rock, AK, Junior was found guilty of the following:
– Engaging in the illegal practice of law while employed by the Parole Board Commission;
– Engaging in a conflict of interest;
– Engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice;
– Preparing a false interview document – and lobbying fellow commissioners to sign the falsified document;
– Illegally removing a parole board file and destroying an interview document; and
– Engaging in conduct involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty or misrepresentation.

That’s not a bad start, Junior.

But you’ve got a long way to go to catch up with Senior.

And don’t even think about trying to compete with the Vanguard.

About the author


News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.


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  • Yeah in the CB days he also hired the big DC firm of Patton Boggs & Blow – blew a shitload of money on that losing cause. Par for the course.

  • Richard Mays Sr. has dodged justice for most of his post-judicial career. If DOJ ever investigates some of his business deals, he’ll be in federal prison for the rest of his life.

  • There are so many names that keep bubbling to the surface in connection with NXIVM/Raniere/ESP, etc. Would you consider starting a NXIVM wiki? It would be so helpful for us in the peanut gallery to keep everyone straight and have a quick look-up reference. I’d be willing to volunteer to help populate it, and I’m sure some of your other loyal FR readers would too. 6 Degrees of Keith Raniere.

  • So, Rutnik deserves some kudos from the FR for declining (nefarious) work from Raniere and returning his 100 K retainer. Correct?

  • “For a $219 yearly fee, members are promised “exclusive low prices” on everything from automobiles to legal services and skin care products and “can cancel at any time,” Raniere said. Affiliates, whether members or not, sell memberships in exchange for commissions.”

    This came directly from Vanguard’s venture in Amway. A neighbor took us to an Amway “event” (saying only we’d love it) – in his brand new luxury van (said he bought it outright with Amway $$). Despite the hype and denials Amway is plainly a pyramid scheme (with soap at the bottom) – and all the fabulous fame and fortune hype is grossly overstated and unachievable. (Next month said neighbor’s fancy van was re-possessed)

    Consumer’s Buy Line & Nxivm were naught but pyramid scams – sans the supporting soap – and the fact that some creepy perverted empty suit narcissist could so completely BS so many ostensibly smart people for so long remains an enigma – and more than a little disconcerting to me.

  • Stupid is what stupid does and the Mays duo are really stupid dudes.

    Nancy Salzman went to a luncheon in Arkansas where Bill Clinton was the head speaker. (This was after he was President). Mays invited her.

    Of course, Nancy Salzman tried to pimp herself out to Clinton. She told me she got that (Clinton on a heartbeat)… gross

    What I didn’t know at the time was she was working on political influence.

    Salzman must have been “too over the hill” for Clinton at the time. She should have sent in Lauren. She’s more the Monica type.

    • No need to make a mess on the dress, He could just put it in her nose.

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