Longaberger headquarters basket building

A-tisket, A-tasket, I lost my yellow basket. And if that girlie don't return it, don't know what I'll do” - Ella Fitzgerald (1938)

About 33 miles east of Columbus in Newark, Ohio, sits an empty basket. Tami Longaberger, whose father founded the Longaberger Company, an Ohio-based manufacturer of hand-made goods for the home, lost her yellow basket while leaving the city of Newark holding the bag. (You may remember her from 2005, when George W. Bush appointed her chair of the National Women’s Business Council, or from Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign as co-chair of “Ohio Women for Mitt”.)


The direct-sales basket company sold out to Dallas-based CVSL in 2013. After the sale, Tami remained CEO of Longaberger and was given a position on the Board of Directors at CVSL. Two years later, in March of 2015, she left the Board and resigned as Longaberger’s CEO, for reasons that remain unclear. In October 2015, she filed a lawsuit against CVSL, alleging they owe her over $1 million dollars in loans made to them during the 2013 acquisition.

John Rochon Jr., vice chairman of CVSL Inc., replaced Ms. Longaberger at the request of his chairman father, John Rochon Sr., in order to “fulfill God’s desire that the Longaberger Company have a future and a hope”. Daddy and son changed their “blessed” company’s name to JRJR Networks and are currently fighting both Tami Longaberger and the city of Newark over money they owe.

The Longaberger family and the people of Newark, Ohio must be wondering, “Oh, why was I so careless with that basket of mine?” I know I am wondering why they were. Tisk... tisk...

Bonnie Bertelson

Bonnie Bertelson

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