Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission and three state attorneys general announced that they were shutting down a national marketing company named Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing of Lexington. The reason? It’s allegedly a “global pyramid scheme.” According to Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, the shut down is “the beginning of the end for one of the most prolific pyramid schemes operating in North America.”
So why do we mention this national business story on MrSEC.com? Because the president of Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing is Paul Orberson. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Paul Orberson Football Office Complex which was built on the University of Kentucky campus a decade ago as part of the Nutter Field House. The Danville, Kentucky native reportedly gave $100,000 to John Calipari’s “Hoops for Haiti” organization.
Now, the UK athletic department has plenty of boosters with plenty of coal money (maybe not so much as a few years ago) to help fund its sports programs. But in this economy, any time a mega-booster goes down an athletic department is going to feel it. And this comes just as Kentucky is launching a multi-million dollar project to upgrade Commonwealth Stadium and its football facilities.
Orberson’s company claimed that its 160,000 independent representatives were selling everything from vitamins and security systems to Dish Network subscriptions. Dish Network officials told Montana state regulators that their company had no relationship with Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing at all. Ironically, the co-founder and chairman of the board at Dish is Charlie Ergen, a prominent University of Tennessee booster.