Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), the multi-level marketing company selling nutrition and weight loss management products, hired former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa “seemingly as a way to combat its tattered reputation” among the Latinos across the country, according to Alma Morales Riojas, CEO of MANA, a National Latina Organization.

Herbalife

According to Riojas, the latest move of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) in engaging the services of Villaraigosa is questionable. She believes that the former Los Angeles mayor does not fully understand the damage inflicted by the company through its empty promises to unsuspecting Latinos who want to start a thriving business but ended up earning less than the minimum wage and in debt.

Last month, Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) appointed Villaraigosa as senior adviser to the company’s CEO Michael Johnson and to its board of directors. His primary task is to provide strategic business development and global community outreach for the company.

Villaraigosa understands the business model of Herbalife

Jonhson said Villaraigosa is fully aware and understands the business model of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF). In fact, Villaraigosa praised Herbalife’s contribution in Los Angeles and strong presence in the Latino community and he was excited to help the company continue to grow.

Riojas said, “Villaraigosa should seriously reconsider this new endeavor and at the very least have Herbalife come clean on its practices.”

Riojas through MANA requested the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigate Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) alleging that the company conducted “deceptive business practices and abuses.” According to the National Latina Organization, the company lured Latinas to become distributors by promising unattainable wealth and success.

In an article published by Los Angeles Business Journal, Riojas said that among the Latinas who were attracted by the “exciting business opportunity” promised by Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) was her aunt. Riojas wrote, “During the years before her passing, I personally watched my proud tía as she enthusiastically promoted the products and thoroughly invested her time and energy in Herbalife’s many nutritional and weight-loss supplements as a distributor for the company, pouring her heart and soul into her business efforts.”

However, Riojas noticed that her aunt’s excitement begin to vanish as her home became filled with boxes and bottles of Herbalife inventory. She said her aunt “felt dismayed, disappointed and expressed deep disillusionment with the entire situation and herself.”

Riojas said, “The worst part was seeing her lose faith in herself.” According to her, the story of her aunt was not an exception because of the many recent widespread allegations and long history of questionable and secretive business practices of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), which should be reviewed by authorities.

FTC to carry out a comprehensive review on Herbalife

Riojas said, MANA together with the National Consumers League, League of United Latin American Citizens, Hispanic Federation, and a handful of Hispanic members of Congress share the same view in urging the FTC to carry out a comprehensive review on Herbalife.

“If Herbalife is indeed innocent of these accusations and has nothing to hide, it should welcome the opportunity to let the facts speak for themselves and clear up any misgivings and misperceptions,” according to Riojas.