He’s neither plaintiff nor defendant, but Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is a central figure in a legal battle between his brother and a Tennessee businessman.
McMinnville businessman Michael Frey is accusing Biden’s brother of using the former vice president’s name to con him in what Frey describes in a U.S. District Court lawsuit as a scheme to steal away his rural health care business model.
Now, Jim Biden is using his brother’s name to defend himself against Frey’s fraud claims in both his legal response to the lawsuit and a public statement issued by spokesman David Fuscus.
Frey and Diverse Medical Management partner Dr. Mohannad Azzam contend in the federal lawsuit they came up with a way to turn struggling rural hospitals into one-stop shops for physical and mental health services for residents — and make money doing it.
Jim Biden and Michael Lewitt, a hedge fund manager whose claims of money management expertise landed him on the pages of Forbes magazine and The New York Times, tricked them. He used Biden’s brother’s star power to get them to share the details of their business model and stole it, the lawsuit alleged.
The lawsuit, filed by attorney Robert A. Peal, accused Biden and Lewitt of deception and fraud and included copies of text messages and emails as evidence.
Lewitt’s The Third Friday Total Return Fund hedge fund; the Platinum Group USA hedge fund and its owner Amer Rustom; and Americore Health rural hospital operator and owner Grant White are also defendants in the litigation. They are all alleged to have played a role, according to the lawsuit.
But the lawsuit paints Biden and Lewitt as the chief fraud puppet masters, painting Biden as a con artist who uses his ties to his brother to lure his victims and Lewitt as a bully who uses threats of lawsuits to keep them at bay.
The lawsuit states Frey and Azzam were in talks with Grant about merging with Americore in early 2018 when Biden offered up his business card bearing Americore’s name and promised his brother could take their health care model nationwide.
Frey and Azzam allege in the lawsuit Biden and Lewitt promised they would find international investors — made easier because of Biden’s brother — and, in the meantime, offered them loans through Lewitt’s hedge funds and pushed them to buy up hospitals they couldn’t afford.
The lawsuit claims Biden inadvertently confessed to the plot to steal the plan and bankrupt Frey and Azzam in the process, according to a text message now entered as an exhibit in the case.
“We can wrap a/c into Frey’s entity further diluting them both in the process? After we take control of both,” the text reads, according to court documents. “Just a thought. We must have complete control, too many moving pieces. Jim.” READ MORE: