Former Vice President Joe Biden may have resumed his position as the front runner among Democratic presidential candidates, but that has only prompted an increase in scrutiny regarding his family’s questionable business dealings.
James Biden, Joe’s younger brother, is currently entangled in a legal battle involving a bankrupt rural healthcare company and allegations that he improperly used his brother’s political clout to fraudulently enrich himself at the expense of others, the Washington Examiner reported.
Failed rural healthcare venture
At the heart of the controversy is a now-bankrupt company known as Americore Health, which purchased and managed rural healthcare clinics and hospitals. That company ended up in debt and ultimately bankrupt after it became financially overextended and failed to receive substantial injections of cash from Middle Eastern investors that had been promised by Biden, who touted his politically-connected brother’s status as a reassurance that those investments would eventually materialize.
Meanwhile, as the promise of significant foreign investment loomed, Biden is alleged to have helped Americore secure a short-term loan from a hedge fund with which he was associated. Following that, however, Biden allegedly received a six-figure loan himself from Americore — again, under the assurance that all would soon be made right by Middle Eastern investors — that was never repaid to Americore, which has now filed for bankruptcy after being unable to pay its workers or vendors.
The dubious affair was spelled out in a lengthy piece by Politico, which noted that James Biden had declined to comment on the allegations and also noted that Joe Biden’s campaign had distanced the candidate from the story by claiming that the former vice president never discussed Americore or other business deals with his younger brother.
“Smoke and mirrors”
“It was all smoke and mirrors,” Tom Pritchard, a former Americore executive, explained to Politico of James Biden’s unfulfilled promises of major foreign investment for the healthcare company that all rested on the connections, influence, and political status of his older brother.
“He could get us in front of the unions. He could get us in front of certain people in government. He could get us in front of the right people,” Pritchard added of pledges allegedly made by the vice president’s brother.
Another former Americore executive, who chose to remain anonymous, told Politico that James often talked about his connection to his brother — who had designs on the White House — and how that could prove beneficial to the company and its venture into rural healthcare.
“His brother was very interested in rural health care and very interested in veterans’ health care, and it was something he really wanted to get behind,” the former executive remembered James saying about Joe. “This would help his brother get elected if it were to take off and go.”
As for the supposed multi-million dollar investments from groups in Turkey and Qatar — though the actual source was never made completely clear — that never materialized, the anonymous executive said, “That linkage was supposed to come via Jim Biden via whatever influence he had through his brother in the Middle East.”
Trading on the family name
To be sure, Politico noted that James Biden hasn’t been charged or even openly accused of committing any sort of crime, but that could change as multiple lawsuits proceed through the legal system. It is also worth noting that in January, the FBI conducted a raid at the home of Americore Holdings’ CEO and a Pennsylvania hospital it managed, a development which could potentialy spell trouble for those associated with the enterprise.
At the very least, it appears that James Biden used his family connections as a selling point to encourage his business partners to take on loans and other obligations while enriching himself at the same time — a dubious practice to say the least and a scenario capable of damaging his brother’s reputation at a most inopportune time.