By Eva Lynch
James “Jim” Biden, brother to Joe Biden, reportedly told executives at a healthcare firm that the presidential candidate’s cancer initiative would promote their business as part of a pitch to potential investors in the firm, according to Politico.
According to Michael Frey, CEO of Diverse Medical Management who participated in the phone call, James Biden made this promise on or around November 8th, 2018 as part of a phone call with Integrate Oral Care, a healthcare firm based in Florida that is suing him. At the time, James Biden’s business partners were seeking a potential investment in the firm. Integrate was introduced to James Biden and his associates through Frey.
During the call, James Biden allegedly promised to Integrate executives that he would convince the Biden Cancer Initiative to sanction and promote an Integrate-manufactured oral rinse used by cancer patients. Participants in the call, specifically Frey, said James Biden even mentioned the former vice president by name, saying his brother would be very excited about the product.
James Biden’s spokesperson and supporters heavily dispute these allegations as well as Frey’s account.
“These charges stem from a frivolous lawsuit and are pure fantasy. We are not surprised that such baseless accusations have emerged during the Democratic primaries,” said David Fuscus, spokesman for James Biden. “Jim Biden has been clear and consistent that he does not, and has never, discussed his business ventures with his brother.”
Diverse Medical Management (DMM) is suing James Biden and his partners in Tennessee, claiming they duplicitously offered to invest in the firm but were driven by ulterior motives to urge the firm into bankruptcy and steal its business model. The allegations against them include sworn declarations by Michael Frey that James Biden specifically invoked the political clout of his brother and promised to invoke it further to help the firm land business. Frey’s account also claims that James Biden promised his brother would incorporate DMM’s rural healthcare model into his presidential campaign policies.
James Biden’s account denies engaging in any fraudulent schemes and instead attacks the plaintiffs, claiming DMM has failed to repay loans made by the defendants, which include Platinum Global Partners.
In a separate lawsuit, James Biden’s partners in Florida are being sued by Integrate, which alleges a breach of contract and failing to complete an agreed-upon investment in the firm of $3 million. This suit was filed in June against Platinum Global Partners, the Florida-based investment firm with which James Biden has collaborated on many healthcare-related business ventures. While the original allegations do not name James Biden or the Biden Cancer Initiative, Integrate filed a secondary request in early September to produce all documents corresponding to the Biden Cancer Initiative and its business and products which reference or relate to Integrate.
Platinum Global Partners and its representation, Faegre Baker Daniels, which has also represented James Biden and Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden numerous times, have fought to have the case dismissed.
The Biden Cancer Initiative was a private foundation launched in 2017 by Joe Biden and his wife, and it quickly became the center of Joe Biden’s post-White House life. The Bidens conceived the initiative as an extension of Obama’s Cancer Moonshot and in honor of Biden’s late son Beau, who suffered and died of a brain tumor in 2015. Both Cancer Moonshot, which was overseen by Biden during his service as the Vice President, and the Biden Cancer Initiative aimed to develop cancer treatments and a cure.
Before he launched his presidential campaign in April, Joe and Jill Biden stepped down from the executive board of the initiative before it closed permanently this summer. However, there is no evidence of James Biden having any involvement with the cancer initiative.
Critics and supporters of Joe Biden alike worry about what these allegations mean for his campaign. However, Biden remains unfazed and maintains his previous stance that, if elected, he will keep his relatives’ business dealings separate from his administration.
“I have never discussed, with my son or my brother or with anyone else, anything having to do with their businesses. Period,” Biden said. “And what I will do is the same thing we did in our administration. There will be an absolute wall between personal and private [business interests] and the government.”