Some of you know that Mannatech, under scrutiny for years for product claims, has been sued by the Texas AG, and its chairman, Sam Caster, just resigned last week.

This past week, with great fanfare, the company announced they terminated one of their top ten reps, Ray Gebauer.

I first interviewed Ray in 1996, two years after he’d signed up with Mannatech. He’s been with the company since its first year.

The paper reports this about Ray’s troubles:

“The jury found that Mr. Gebauer failed to file taxes from 1998 through 2001. During that period, his gross income exceeded $3.5 million, most of which was earned through his network’s sales of Mannatech products, Ms. Johnson said. Mr. Gebauer owes at least $316,000 in taxes for those four years, she says, and last filed a tax return in 1996. He could face 20 years in prison when he is scheduled for sentencing in November.”

I don’t take issue with the story here. I was not there.

I have three questions:

1. Did they really terminate him or was the press conference just for show? To make him a public whipping boy and take the legal spotlight and heat off themselves?

2. What if they really did terminate him? Did they do him wrong?

Ray has been building with Mannatech full-time since 1994. They were just a year old when he joined them. Today, nearly 17 years later, he’d built a business which earns him significant income.

Ray’s offense had nothing to do with how he earned his income. He violated no company policies, admitted the current CEO in the public announcement (see above). In fact, Ray Gebauer was a featured speaker this March at their annual national sales conference, MannaFest.

If they terminated him, as they ceremoniously announced, Mannatech and his upline (Jett) get to keep all Ray’s income – which he worked 17 years, full time, to attain. Nearly $1 million dollars per year, if the income figures for 1998-2001 reported are still accurate today. Even HALF that is huge income to have just snatched away with the stroke of a pen.

3. Wouldn’t it be right to put his income and distributorship into a trust for Ray so he can get some of the fruits of his years of work, especially now when he probably needs it most?