A court-appointed receiver will retain control over Equinox International Corp. for at least the next two weeks, according to a statement released by the Nevada attorney general's office.
Sales at the Las Vegas-based company came to a halt Aug. 6 after federal and state officials filed a lawsuit that accused Equinox of operating an illegal pyramid scheme.
U.S. District Judge Johnnie Rawlinson had issued a temporary restraining order in conjunction with the filing of the lawsuit. She also froze the company's assets and appointed a receiver, who took control of the company Aug. 6.
Bill Gouldd, the company's founder and chief executive officer, issued a news release last Wednesday in which he announced that Equinox had reached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission and reopened for business.
Chief Deputy Attorney General Richard Linstrom responded to that announcement late last week by saying, "Our understanding is that the Equinox press release was improperly issued on behalf of Equinox without approval of the court-appointed receiver."
Linstrom said the receiver, Robb Evans, "has assumed full control of Equinox and has removed William Gouldd and all others from control and management of Equinox."
On Monday, Rawlinson denied a request by Equinox to dissolve the temporary restraining order and to remove the receiver.
"After hearing arguments from both parties, the judge ruled that the TRO would remain in effect and, thus, that all assets would remain frozen and that the receiver would retain control over the company until the preliminary injunction hearing," according to the statement from the attorney general's office.
The hearing is set for Sept. 1 and 2.
According to the statement from the attorney general's office, the plaintiffs agreed that limited funds could be made available for Gouldd to pay "his reasonable living expenses."
Rawlinson ordered Gouldd to submit a weekly accounting to the plaintiffs of all funds used to pay his living expenses, according to the statement.
The plaintiffs in the case have agreed to five terms, which will remain in effect until the injunction hearing. Under those terms, the receiver may:
Equinox has headquarters at 10190 Covington Cross Drive, near Summerlin Parkway and Town Center Drive. It was founded by Gouldd in 1991.
The company sells products such as water and air filtration systems, dietary and personal care products, household cleaning products and cosmetics through independently contracted sales representatives.