Lindell in 2020
Michael James Lindell
June 28, 1961
Mankato, Minnesota, U.S.
|Occupation||Founder and CEO of My Pillow|
|Net worth||~US$300 million (2018)|
(m. 2013; div. 2013)
Early life and career
Prior to inventing MyPillow, Lindell launched and operated a number of small businesses including carpet cleaning, lunch wagons, and a few bars and restaurants in Carver County, Minnesota. During the 1980s and 1990s, Lindell was addicted to cocaine, crack cocaine, and alcohol, leading to foreclosure of his house, and his wife filing for divorce. Lindell stated that he achieved sobriety through prayer in 2009, and, since then, has been clean.
Lindell invented the MyPillow pillow in 2004 and grew the business into a major Minnesota manufacturing company. The company laid off 150 employees in 2019. Citing possible future political ambitions, Lindell named his son Darren as the company's chief operating officer.
In 2016, Lindell's My Pillow company was sued in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland, California for running ads with false claims of the pillow helping with snoring, fibromyalgia, migraines and other medical conditions. Prosecutors in nine California counties brought the charges against the misleading infomercials. MyPillow settled for about $1 million, while admitting no wrongdoing.
In 2017, the Better Business Bureau revoked accreditation of MyPillow, lowering its rating to an F based on a pattern of complaints by consumers. The BBB cited a Buy One, Get One offer that became a continuous offer and therefore the normal price of the product, not a sale price or free offer. In a statement, Lindell said, "Naturally, I am terribly disappointed by the BBB's decision."
Foundations, memoirs, and autobiography
Lindell created the Lindell Foundation, a faith-based foundation. The company and foundation donated goods to victims of Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The foundation's focus was then broadened to help people with addictions, cancer victims, and veterans.
Lindell also founded the Lindell Recovery Network to "bring hope, recovery, and mentorship" to those struggling with drug addictions; the network shares stories from recovered addicts and provides information on Christian recovery organizations.
In March 2017, Lindell produced The Mike Lindell Story: An American Dream, about having overcome drug addiction and building a business. The autobiography was filmed at the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In January 2020, Lindell released his memoir, What Are the Odds? From Crack Addict to CEO.
In August 2016, Lindell met with then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, and became an avid supporter, calling Trump "the most amazing president this country has ever seen in history", following his 2016 election. In a speech at Liberty University in August 2019, Lindell said "When I met with Donald Trump, it felt like a divine appointment, and when I walked out of that office I decided I was going to go all in."
On October 19, 2016, Lindell attended the final presidential debate in Las Vegas. He spoke at a Trump campaign rally in Minneapolis on November 6, 2016, and attended the Official Donald Watch Party on November 8. He attended Trump's inauguration, and Trump gave him an inauguration lapel pin as a personal gift.
At a rally in Fargo, North Dakota on June 27, 2018, Trump commended Lindell's business acumen. Lindell spoke at a Trump rally on October 4, 2018, in Rochester, Minnesota. Lindell spoke at the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference, in which he promoted Trump as "the greatest president in history" and "chosen by God."
In a March 2020 appearance on Fox News, Lindell said that his company's bedding factories had been refocused on face mask production at the behest of the Trump administration. Later that month, Lindell appeared with Trump at a White House coronavirus press conference, at which Lindell praised Trump: "God gave us grace on November 8, 2016, to change the course we were on. God had been taken out of our schools and lives, a nation had turned its back on God. I encourage you to use this time at home to get back in the word. Read our Bible and spend time with our families."
Lindell has publicly considered running for governor of Minnesota in 2022 against Democratic incumbent Tim Walz. reportedly at Trump's urging. He attended a Republican Governors Association meeting, at which he was encouraged to run. In May 2020, he became the campaign chair for Trump's reelection campaign in Minnesota. A few hours before Trump spoke at a 2020 Mount Rushmore Independence Day celebration, in response to an audience question at a small rally nearby, Lindell said he's "99% sure" about running for Minnesota governor.
In White House meetings with Trump and public appearances, Lindell has promoted a plant extract, oleandrin, as a "cure" for COVID-19, saying "This thing works — it's the miracle of all time." In a television appearance, Lindell made a misleading statement about the testing of the substance. Lindell has a financial stake in Phoenix Biotechnology, a company that makes oleandrin, and sits on its board. Lindell's unsubstantiated claims alarmed scientists, since there is no scientific evidence that oleandrin is a safe or effective coronavirus treatment, and since the plant is poisonous at low doses. After the efforts by Lindell and HUD Secretary Ben Carson to promote oleandrin, Trump said his administration would "look at" the substance.
Lindell has been married twice. He married his second wife, Dallas Yocumin, in June 2013; however, a few weeks later, in mid-July 2013, Yocumin filed for divorce. Yocumin said they "don't have anything in common and [he] ruined the last two years of [her] life." Lindell stated that they had a prenuptial agreement.
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