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  Feb 10, 2012                  

ME: Heidi Bauer vs the Whittemores + Dr. Lombardi PI at WPI


1. Heidi Bauer vs the Whittemores
Dr Lombardi PI at WPI

I hope some of my readers liked or were puzzled enough by the previous Nederlog to dive a little deeper into the logic and mathematics of representing.

Now I turn for a brief while to consider the standing and adventures of Harvey and Annette Whittemore that I discussed before here:

1. Heidi Bauer vs the Whittemores

I received the following quotations from CFSChronicles, that I don't know well, by one Heidi Bauer, about whom I know little, but who seems to be a patient advocate who has supported the Whittemore Peterson Institute for quite a while, but now got disappointed and angry.

Here are some selections and remarks. The selections are indented. My remarks unindented.

The most recent news of the Whittemores finds them at odds with Harvey’s business partners, the Seeno brothers. Talk about being blinded by desperation. How could it have escaped my attention that Harvey Whittemore was in business with a billionaire group from California known for organized crime and part of an ongoing investigation by the FBI since 2010

Well... I don't know. My own problems here are that (1) I don't know the US or Nevada and (2) I don't know how to weigh this sort of information. Also, while I have no reason to put my trust in Harvey, this association may not be his fault. Besides, in Amsterdam and Holland lots of apparently very decent, quite rich, ostensibly well-behaved and kind people,  especially in housing and law and politics, are somehow involved with the mafia, without anyone being able or daring enough to say precisely how.

The same applies to many Dutch lawyers, especially the well paid and well known ones, and applies to such an extent that a currently popular Dutch term for "lawyer" is "mafia mate": Many are, and owe their income, and quite possibly a lot more, to this kind of entrepreneurs.

Now for some summarizing by Ms Bauer:

The Seenos are suing both Harvey and Annette Whittemore for embezzling money from the Wingfield group, where supposedly the Seenos invested $44 million to save the crumbling business after Harvey went “broke” in 2008. But, Harvey had a history with the Seenos years before the Wingfield group. Jill Lufrano of the Daily Sparks Tribune writes that “In early 2004, the Whittemores sold half of their ownership interest in various companies, including Argus Media, Inc., Wild West Sound Company, Inc., Redlabs U.S.A., Inc., Dr. Pepper/7-Up Bottling Company of the West, Coyote Springs Water Corporation and Coyote Springs Land Development corporation to Thomas Seeno’s Company, TNSS, LLC.” Daily Sparks Tribune

The Whittemores countersued the Seenos claiming they are mafia-related, sent a burly guy named Ray to reclaim property directly from their home as well as cash from a safe, and threatened bodily harm to them.

I have no TV since 1970, but I do recall Dallas, which was a black and white US TV series about a rich oil magnate and his family. This is better than Dallas, with Harvey as JR (the bad guy in "Dallas") while the sums of money that are involved are also quite a lot larger. Then again, it may well be true, and the Whittemores may have found themselves involved with a Genuine Godfather and his family, with a Sicilian background, name ("Cino, capiche?") and policies. If that is remotely as it is in Holland, which seems likely, the Whittemores are in bad problems, for the mafia is usually beyond the reach of the law.

Then again, from their lawyers' writings, it may be the case that in fact both the Seenos and the Whittemores are broke, having grown big in a market - housing, property - that has collapsed. And a multi millionaire or billionaire who tells his flunkeys to tell is business partners that he's coming down to break their fucking legs, does seem to have IQ and character problems, and seems to lack the strong arms to do the dirty work he wants done.

Through their lawyer they wrote, ‘“These allegations are false. We will take any and all steps necessary to preserve the reputation for integrity that we have built in this state for over 40 years.”’ Daily Sparks Tribune I hate to think of any of my friends, current or former, being threatened in this way. But, perhaps being a rich lobbyist/politician/lawyer precludes a person from understanding what integrity is in the first place. Integrity to me would mean choosing one’s business partners much more carefully than selling half of your assets to a long established organized crime family.

It doesn't work that way in business, and Harvey may have been forced to, somehow. Besides, one doesn't get rich by being nice, or by pondering more about integrity than about profitability. I agree good business covers not dealing with the mafia, but then one may not know one is, or may have been forced into it.

There can be no claim of naivité on Harvey Whittemore’s part either in my opinion. As Francis McCabe points out “Whittemore once was considered the most powerful legislative lobbyist in Nevada and one of the nation's top gaming attorneys. He represented the Nevada Resort Association, an organization of the state's top casinos, individual casinos and 100 businesses. He had worked as managing partner for Lionel, Sawyer and Collins' Reno office for many years. He now operates a small law office in Reno.” Las Vegas Review Journal

In Holland and Amsterdam a large but unknown part of the property market - housing, offices - is mafia-related, for it's a way of laundering large sums of money into legality. If one is dealing seriously in property in Amsterdam, one is dealing, directly or indirectly, with people who are dealing with the mafia, though many - most - of the relevant facts are not public information. Of course, one may decide to restrict one's business to speculating in Communion Wafers, but even Our Holy Mother Church is not free from pretty nasty and probably quite correct aspersions, while even Communion Wafers may be used in unsavory ways as well, or be sold by or to persons having ties with the mafia.

How could a grant be handed over to people willing to be involved with the Seenos? And how can patients ever again trust that they are handling money honestly? It is a clear waste of tax payer money to hand over $300K to the Whittemores.

Bullshit: It's a fallacy, guilt by association. Also, I am personally not so much concerned how they get money to invest in research into the disease that I have, nor concerned about their motives, if the research looks sound from a scientific point of view. And one just cannot know most or all about the persons one deals with, in virtually any case.

My problem with the Whittemores is that I don't believe the research looks sound, at present, though that is not their fault, nor indeed in their interest.

I have withdrawn my consent to be involved in any study at WPI (see below) in large part because of the enlightening news of the Whittemores' involvement with the Seenos, but also because I do not like to be part of a brand new PI’s project. I tend to hate teaching hospitals as well. I like experience. I will also write to Dr. Beisel and his superior to request reconsideration based on the current legal scandal. I was considering writing to Chase Giving and Vivant as well, but I have a hard time lately finding anyone willing to support WPI fundraising anyway. In fact, it seems all support, even among doctors initially interested, has been partially lost at WPI.

Yes, the last at least looks likely to me: Unless Lipkin's study supports the Lombardi-paper, if perhaps only indirectly, neither the WPI nor Judy Mikovits have much of a chance carrying on in ME/CFS-land.

Apart from that, it seems to me that Ms Bauer is indulging in wishful thinking, but I can understand why she would feel let down or angry, though I find it a bit odd that she - and quite a few other patients also, it seems - want to withdraw consent from being involved in studies of the WPI: Clearly, patients need scientific research to be done, and scientific researchers need patients for data to research. Also, both may benefit, even if those who supply the money for the research and the researchers may be tainted or questionable.

In any case, here is some related news about the WPI:

2. Dr Lombardi PI at WPI

My source is Jon Cohen in Science, who has this brief update

  • Embattled Institute Retains Major Grant to Study Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The news consists of two points and some comments by Cohen that I skip:

The Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease (WPI), well known for a retracted study published by Science in 2009 that linked a mouse retrovirus to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), will continue to receive funding from the U.S. government for a $1.5 million, 5-year grant to study the disease.

I suppose that is good news for the Whittemores, the WPI and dr. Lombardi, who was the main author of the 2009 paper in Science that is now withdrawn.

Also, there is this about dr. Lombardi:

NIAID staff members visited WPI on 15 December and assessed the qualifications of researcher Vincent Lombardi, a co-author of the retracted paper who still works at the institute. NIAID officially approved Lombardi as the new principal investigator yesterday, noting that he had the “technical expertise and experience directly applicable to the studies in Aim 2 of the grant,” which focuses on genetic susceptibility to the disease and dysregulation of the immune system. Aim 1 was to identify and confirm novel viruses linked to CFS.

This - genetic susceptibility to the disease and dysregulation of the immune system - does seem to me an interesting topic that deserves research, and I also suppose that the rest is more or less what one could expect in the circumstances.


Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.


As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):
1.  Anthony Komaroff Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)
3.  Hillary Johnson The Why
4.  Consensus of M.D.s Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5.  Eleanor Stein Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)
6.  William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7.  Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8.  Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
 Maarten Maartensz
ME in Amsterdam - surviving in Amsterdam with ME (Dutch)
 Maarten Maartensz Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Short descriptions of the above:                

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:

7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam/ with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.

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