WOMEN
12/12/2013 04:06 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Inside The Rainbow Gulag: The Technicolor Rise And Fall Of Lisa Frank

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To her fans, Lisa Frank is almost as mythical a figure as her beloved unicorn. For women in their twenties, thirties, and forties, Frank's name alone conjures up a specter of koala bears clinging to rainbow-flavored ice-cream cones, neon tiger cubs frolicking with surfing penguins, and, of course, majestic unicorns prancing before a swirl of hearts and stars. But the company is now a shadow of what it once was, and its fall from grace—a story of scandal, greed, and abuse—is in stark contrast to its shiny, happy aesthetic.

It's unclear whether Lisa Frank—the real woman and artist who founded the school-supplies brand in 1979—was fully aware of the whispers that had been circulating for years around her company's headquarters in Tucson, AZ. It's possible that she had no idea what people were saying about her husband, Lisa Frank Inc. CEO James Green. Rumor had it that Green was an unfaithful monster with a cocaine problem; employees feared he would destroy the company.

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