Much-maligned direct marketing behemoth Amway has opened its first American storefront at Citi Field, home to the financially ravaged New York Mets, Capital New York reported.
The Mets’ ownership group has been seeking out sources of revenue to help its address its debt problems, including a proposal to develop a casino next to the stadium. Moreover, in May 2012, a joint venture between Related Companies and Sterling Equities, a real estate company owned by Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, was tapped by the city to spearhead a mixed-use development on a 62-acre site next to the stadium.
The Mets’ owners have been battling lawsuits from the victims of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. At the same time Amway has also been in the legal spotlight, and recently agreed to a $155 million settlement on a class-action lawsuit that accused the multilevel marketing company of being a “pyramid scheme.”
Robert FitzPatrick, president of Pyramid Scheme Alert and expert witness in the class action suit against Amway, told Capital New York that the only possible reason for the retail storefront was to provide Amway a shade of legitimacy by associating with it a prominent Major League Baseball franchise.
Indeed, a Mets home schedule and team logo is prominently featured on the business center’s website. The business center is described on the site as a “dynamic, one-of-a-kind facility” that will help Amway’s network members “freely connect, learn new valuable insights, and share the exciting Amway opportunity with prospects.” The site does state, however, that no solicitation of materials is permitted outside the confines of the center.
An Amway spokeswoman confirmed to Capital New York that the opening took place on Saturday, but declined to comment further. The Mets did not respond to Capital New York’s calls for comment. [Capital New York] –Hiten Samtani