Published: Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 6:42 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 9:18 p.m.
Rex Venture Group, which operates the online penny auction site Zeekler.com and affiliates program Zeek Rewards, has closed its headquarters for the remainder of the week for undisclosed reasons.
The company, known to most as Zeek, posted three signs on the windows of its headquarters at 803 W. Center St. in Lexington by about 4 p.m. on Thursday that stated the office will be closed, telling visitors to "check the website for more information." As of 6:22 p.m., there was no further information available on Zeekler.com or zeekrewards.com.
Zeekler.com and zeekrewards.com were offline as of 9 p.m.
The company also announced it is canceling its upcoming "Red Carpet" event, scheduled for Wednesday. The announcement, made on zeekrewardsnews.com, also advised readers to continue to monitor its websites for more information to be forthcoming.
On Monday, the company also advised Zeek Rewards affiliates there would be no training, recruitment and leadership calls during “the next few days while planning is going on,” according to a message on zeekrewards.com.
Both Zeekler.com and Zeek Rewards have recently come under the scrutiny of the North Carolina Attorney General's office, after dozens of users filed complaints and inquiries in the past six months. The company, which is rooted in its penny auction website, has expanded in the past year to let users buy in through an "affiliates program." Some say the company is a good way to make a little more cash while others condemn it as the makings of a pyramid or Ponzi scheme.
Paul Burks, chief executive officer of Rex Venture Group, could not be reached for comment. Dr. Clifton Jolley, the company's media representative, also could not be reached.
Details about the closing were conflicting on Thursday.
Dozens of people arrived at the company's headquarters throughout the afternoon on Thursday, only to find locked doors and confusion. The Dispatch spoke to about eight different people gathered outside at about 5 p.m., all of whom refused to comment on the situation.
One man, who said he was speaking on behalf of Zeek but wished to remain anonymous, said the building was being closed so Zeek could answer inquiries from the Attorney General, made in the form of a Civil Investigative Demand (CID).
According to N.C. General Statutes, a CID is an administrative subpoena that can be issued by the Attorney General whenever there is reason to believe a person, or entity, has information that is relevant to an ongoing investigation.
The Attorney General's office could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
A Zeek Rewards affiliate, who refused to give his name, said he went to the company's headquarters at about 3 p.m. to conduct business, only to find the sign on the door stating the business was closed.
The affiliate said a Zeek employee changed the locks on the doors. He watched as another employee exited the back door, carrying a box full of office supplies, he said.
According to company officials, Zeekler.com has more than 200,000 retail bidders, domestic and abroad. It's unclear how many affiliates actually use Zeek Rewards, despite online reports that claim the number exceeds 700,000.