About 35 employees for a Draper multilevel marketing company that sells juice have ceased working there, with some of them claiming they were fired after an unsuccessful attempt to take over the company from the chief executive officer.

The employees worked for Zrii LLC, a company that was incorporated in Delaware in 2007. Zrii's "nutritional drink supplement," as it's described on the company's Web site, is made with amalaki, an Indian gooseberry. The product is endorsed by the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, associated with New Age author and physician Deepak Chopra.

Zrii's CEO and founder is Bill Farley, according to the company's Web site, although many of the former employees claim to be co-founders with Farley and are disappointed with the direction he has taken the company, according to a statement by their attorney, Stephen C. Clark.

They claim Farley had gotten the company into unnecessary debt and used company money for personal items. "Continuing to work with him under the circumstances would represent a profound betrayal of their individual integrity and personal relationships as well as Zrii's founding principles," Clark said.

Some employees founded the Wellness Acquisition Group Inc. to pursue a possible buyout of Zrii, according to Clark.

"They proposed discussions with Farley to enable the co-founders and management to buy out his interests and take the measures necessary to restore the opportunities for prosperity Zrii promises," Clark said. "Farley has refused to participate in any discussions or respond to the substance of the group's concerns."

An attorney representing the company, David Griffin, confirmed that the employees had left the company but did not say if they were fired.

The company "continues its normal operations," he said. "Zrii continues to take orders, ship products, pay commissions and meet its other obligations such as its payroll."

Farley said in a prepared statement that Zrii "is not for sale."

"Zrii had an explosive first year of growth, and we continue to be excited about its future," he said.

E-mail: lhancock@desnews.com