Accolade Inc. today filed an S-1 with the SEC for a planned IPO. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined. Accolade intends to list its common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol ACCD.
Accolade offers a service usually provided to enterprises that helps guide their employees through the healthcare maze to get the care that they need. Comcast is a major customer, by itself accounting for 35% of Accolade revenue in 2019.
Accolade is jointly based in Philly (Plymouth Meeting) and Seattle. The plurality of employees (about 500) are based in Plymouth Meeting, according to. LinkedIn, out of 1174 total as of November 30, 2019 as reported by the company. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Carrick Capital Partners, Madrona Venture Group, McKesson Ventures, and Humana.
Revenue is up more than 47 percent so far this year: $88.1 million for the nine months ended in November 2019, with a net loss of $49.2 million for the same period. Its fiscal year ends this month.
Accolades’ last stated valuation was around $620 million. The $100 million target for the IPO mentioned in the filing is merely a placeholder.
Tom Spann was the Founding CEO of Accolade. Now it is headed by CEO Rajeev Singh, who cofounded SaaS travel expense tracker Concur and sold it to SAP for $8.3 billion in2014.
I’ve been following Philly-based Sidecar for quite a while, but must admit I’ve never fully understood exactly what they do. It sounds like SEO for ecommerce retailers, with a common platform for all enhanced with channel & customer-specific models. There are external data sources involved, and what Sidecar describes as machine learning in using that data.
Sidecar has well over 200 employees now, a prestigous roster of investors (its raised $31.5 million to date), and a sophisticated customer base.
Much of Sidecar’s recent expansion has come from adding new channels to its coverage. Last year the company added solutions for Amazon and Pinterest to its toolbox. Today’s latest step is the introduction of the next generation of Sidecar for Facebook & Instagram. In addition, the company’s heightened focus on audience strategy now extends to Google Display and Videos ads.
“One of the biggest themes of Sidecar’s 2020 product roadmap is driving scale,” said Mike Perekupka, Senior Product Manager for Sidecar. “As we covered in our Q1 product webcast, we’re developing our core technology to empower retailers to scale their ability to engage with audiences, leverage changing ad formats, and adapt to shopper behavior across channels. Our new Facebook features and display support align perfectly with this mission. As always, we’ve developed these new rollouts with the same hyper focus on retail that’s marked our offerings from day one.”
“Our success in 2019 was the result of expanding well beyond our origins as the best-in-class Google Shopping solution and continuing to address our customers’ evolving pain points across all major paid acquisition channels,” explained Andre Golsorkhi, founder and CEO of Sidecar, in January. “Retail marketers are recognizing the need to break down channel silos and think more holistically about their portfolio. We’re helping retail and brand marketers align with and capitalize on this new world order through a cohesive approach to digital marketing that identifies and taps into white space for their business.”
The question of whether President Trump has it in for three of his self-described media nemeses – Comcast NBCU , AT&T (having swallowed Time Warner / CNN), and Amazon boss Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post – remains an issue. Trump declared each a target of his wrath prior to his election in 2016.
On Friday night in a speech Las Vegas, Trump ripped into Comcast:
But how bout MSDNC? They’re worse than CNN. And they’re owned by people that really are bad. I think they’re very bad for our country. The owners of Comcast, rotten company, bad for our country, very bad. They try, they have all these PR things to try and keep their image nice and clean. What they do on television is so disgusting. I think in the old days you had to have licenses for this stuff, right? They can say whatever they want to say. Let’s see what happens over the next period of time. Bunch of dishonest people. Comcast, terrible company. Terrible people running that company. And you know what, I had Celebrity Apprentice, I had the Apprentice on for 14 seasons, 14 seasons, and they used to come to my office and they would kiss my ass. Please sign. Please. Please sign.
It’s an interesting story. They came and we signed, you know who signed me, Jeff Zucker. It’s one of the only things he’s done good in broadcasting, but I signed and NBC, as you know, is owned by Comcast, but I signed and they figured the show would be a total failure. So they only signed me for one season. You know I was going to have it. It was go on and then the show goes, started at ten went to eight, went to seven, went to five, went to four, went to two. It went to one. I had the number one show in all of television. Number one. It was a phenomenal and the final episode, remember that? With the, you remember that? Do you remember the final? We had, I don’t know, it was one of the biggest shows of the year. It was a tremendous success there.
But here I was, I signed with NBC and they didn’t even want to waste the ink on an option. Usually they have an option for not, you know, just like they didn’t do it. You stupid people. So they paid me very little for the first season I think $25,000 a show, which is considered not good. That’s okay. It was fun. I didn’t know it was going to be success, you know? Hey, just like this was successful. It’s a recent.
Because when I left and Arnold Schwarzenegger and I like Arnold said some very nice things, so I’m not, but the show did not exactly succeed when I left, but I had it on and they wanted me to sign for more and I said, no, I’m going to run for president but I’ll never forget.
I looked at, I didn’t know anything about this business and I had an agent, wonderful guy from William Morris, and he said, sir, I don’t want you to sign. No business show has ever done well on network television. Well, it’s not business, it’s entertainment, celebrity. Sir, I don’t want you to sign. Sir, don’t sign. I said, yeah, okay. But I have a problem. I shook the hand of somebody I have to.
And Mark Burnett was great. He was my guy and but we shook hands. So I have to, but I agreed, you know, I didn’t know that no business or no business type show had ever succeeded on a network television. So he said, I don’t want you to sign sir, break it. I said, I can’t break it. Can’t break it. Anyway, so the show I said started at ten, went to nine, went to became, it was the number one show all of a sudden, and the agent called me up and he said, sir, I remember it was six in the morning. I was in bed. He said, sir, the show just went to number one. I’d love to see you because I think I’m entitled to more money. I said, you didn’t want me to do the show. Well, not really. I mean, I was okay. He said, I’d really like more money. I said, Jim, I like you very much, Jim, you’re fired. Get out.
Anyway, I had 14 great seasons over about 11 years because it was so successful, they kept… They would have run it. Remember when they did the three hours, the whole night was the Apprentice. I said, wait a minute. Gone With the Wind, to mention the movie a second time, Gone With the Wind is shorter. They had the Apprentice on for three hours. I said even I think it’s too long. You can’t put it up for three. You got leave a little bit like I want to come back next week.
But they had it on for three weeks. We did fantastically with it. Comcast did great. NBC did great. They wanted me to sign for another three years. I said, no, I’m going to for president. And that was actually the time when I knew I was going to run. Because you know how they were paying a lot of money and whether you’re rich or not, it’s still a lot of money. I don’t care how rich you are. It’s a lot. Millions and millions of dollars. And I said no, I’m going to run for president. And I did that. But from the day I ran, they went from being, you know one…
But from the day I ran, they went from being wonderful, they were nice. They were nice. I guess if I didn’t do well with the show they wouldn’t have been nice because they weren’t nice to other people that failed. People that didn’t have good ratings, that business is a very simple business. If you have good ratings, you can treat them like garbage. If you have bad ratings, you can say, “Sir, I really respect you so much.”
Get out of here. Get him out of my yard. They’re very ruthless people. But Comcast is a rotten company. They forgot totally. And they are worse than CNN. I will tell you that right now. Comcast is worse than CNN. We should call it Comcast, because that’s their beautiful maiden name, Comcast. They’re worse than CNN.”
In late 2018, Trump responded favorably on Twitter to complaints by the trade group representing small cable system operators (the ACA) that Comcast, in the president’s words, “routinely violates Antitrust Laws.”.
A week ago, Amazon won an injunction, blocking the Department of Defense from proceeding with work on the JEDI project, a $10 billion DOD contract that was initially reported headed to Amazon Web Services but awarded to Microsoft after the Administration alledgedly interfered. Amazon stated that it was “important that the numerous evaluation errors and blatant political interference that impacted the Jedi award decision be reviewed”.
One year ago, a federal appellate judge upheld a lower court ruling against the Justice Department’s suit to stop the AT&T / Time Warner merger. It was surprising to some observers that DOJ had sued in the first place, as. this was a type of merger that antitrust law usually doesn’t address, and even more surprising that DOJ appealed.
Jim Biden has been at his brother’s side at nearly every critical junction in Joe’s life. He’s also repeatedly tapped into Joe’s political network for help with his finances, and used Joe’s fame to promote his business ventures.
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Jim Biden was in a bind. An investor had put up $1 million to help Jim and his nephew Hunter buy a hedge fund. Then it turned out that the fund’s assets were worth less than the Bidens had thought. Now the investor wanted its money back.
It was December 2006, not long before Jim’s older brother and Hunter’s father, Joe Biden, then a Delaware senator, would announce his second campaign for president.
Jim and Hunter Biden got a loan from a bank founded by one of Joe’s political backers — William Oldaker, an attorney for the senator’s presidential campaign and Hunter’s partner at a Washington law and lobbying firm.
Oldaker had strong ties to Joe Biden’s political operation, and at the time, the bank, WashingtonFirst, had nearly half a million dollars in deposits from a Joe Biden political committee Oldaker had helped set up.
But WashingtonFirst was less than three years old, and a $1 million loan was large for its size. The bank required that loans be well secured by borrowers’ assets. Jim Biden put up his house in Merion Station, Pennsylvania, as collateral, but he already had $1.5 million in three mortgages against the property, then roughly valued at just over $1.1 million. Hunter offered as security his recently purchased Washington home, for which he had borrowed almost the entire purchase price. Oldaker did not return phone calls, and a source close to Jim and Sara Biden said all of their loans were properly secured.
It was not the first time — or the last — during his long career that Jim Biden turned to Joe’s political network for the kind of assistance that would have been almost unimaginable for someone with a different last name. Campaign donors helped him face a series of financial problems, including a series of IRS liens totaling more than $1 million that made it harder to get bank financing. Jim Biden took out two more loans from WashingtonFirst before its sale in 2018.
These transactions illuminate the well-synchronized tango that the Biden brothers have danced for half a century. They have pursued overlapping careers — one a presidential aspirant with an expansive network of well-heeled Democratic donors; the other an entrepreneur who helped his brother raise political money and cultivated the same network to help finance his own business deals.
Jim Biden, 70, has cycled over the years from nightclub owner to insurance broker to political consultant and fundraiser to startup investor and construction company executive. But the through line of his resume was his bond with his brother, a Democratic Party stalwart in a position to push legislation or make government contracts happen.
“My sense is that Jim really has been trying to peddle himself on the Biden name for some time,” said Curtis Wilkie, who covered the Bidens as a Delaware political reporter.
Key Loans to Jim Biden
Joel Boyarsky Donor and fundraiser Businessman and former Jim Biden employer
Up to $200,000
Leonard Barrack Donor Attorney and former Sara Biden employer
Thomas Knox Donor and fundraiser Businessman
WashingtonFirst Bank William Oldaker, co-founder Campaign lawyer and lobbyist
John Hynansky Donor Businessman
Trustar Bank William Oldaker, co-founder Former Biden campaign lawyer Lobbyist
Sources: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, recorder of deeds; clerk of the circuit court, Collier County, Florida
Spokespeople for Jim Biden and Joe’s presidential campaign declined interview requests for the brothers. In response to questions, campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said that Joe Biden had no involvement in Jim Biden’s loans and did not arrange for supporters to help his brother. Bates also said that the former vice president knew “nothing” about his brother’s investments and was unaware that Jim had often been delinquent on his federal taxes or that the IRS had placed liens on his home. Bates said Oldaker is not involved in the 2020 campaign.
“The vice president and his brother have always understood and agreed that James’ business ventures are separate from and independent of Joe Biden’s career in public life,” Bates said.
A source with knowledge of Jim Biden’s finances said that he and his wife, Sara, have sometimes failed to pay their taxes on time because “they are largely self-employed and sometimes have an unclear picture of how their year will end financially,” but that they have always paid in full, including interest and penalties.
Recognizing a potential minefield, Joe has avoided responsibility for or financial involvement in his brother’s ventures, according to longtime advisers. Yet on occasion, as Jim pursued opportunities, Joe met with his potential clients or partners, at Jim’s request.
In 2002, Joe addressed a Washington conference of the National Association of State Treasurers, whom Jim was courting on behalf of lawyers who wanted to represent state pension funds. “Jim offered that his brother,” who usually took the train home to Delaware in the evening, “was just happening to be in town,” said Pamela Taylor, then the group’s executive director. “He said: ‘He’s going to spend the night in D.C. Would you like him?’”
Taylor reached out to Joe, who had previously been invited by Delaware’s state treasurer but hadn’t firmly committed. Joe spoke to the group over breakfast, analyzing the prospects for war in Iraq. “It was perfect,” Taylor recalled.
Jim Biden has been at his older brother’s side at nearly every critical juncture in Joe’s personal and political life. As fundraiser for his brother’s first Senate race in 1972, he helped launch Joe’s political career.
That same year, Jim broke the news to Joe that his wife, Neilia, and baby had died in a car accident, and he then watched over his brother day and night. When Joe was hospitalized with a brain aneurysm more than 15 years later, it was Jim who “was working the phone,” looking worldwide for the best neurosurgeon, according to Richard Ben Cramer’s book, “What It Takes,” which profiled the candidates for president in 1988.
But Jim has also been a political vulnerability. While a plagiarism scandal put pressure on Joe to drop out of the presidential race in 1987, protecting his brother from reporters asking about Jim’s shaky finances was the final impetus for Joe’s withdrawal, according to Cramer. “They were going after Jimmy; it wasn’t just Joe anymore,” Cramer wrote.
In the 2020 campaign, Joe’s family ties have again dogged him. President Donald Trump’s impeachment stemmed from allegations that he sought to damage Joe, a potential reelection opponent, by pushing Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden’s relationship with a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma. Joe promised to establish clear boundaries for family business ventures.
On this week’s “Trump, Inc.” podcast, we’re looking at what happened in Ukraine from a different vantage point: not the politics but the finances.
Those close to Joe Biden say his relationship with Jim illustrates his fierce family loyalty. In the 2020 race, one adviser said, Jim “is trying very hard to stay out of the limelight.”
“For all his — let me find a kind word for it — entrepreneurship, Jimmy understands that he needs to keep his business separate from Joe’s career. Whether his relationships with unions, treasurers, law firms are the result of people who want to be nice to Jimmy because he’s Joe’s brother, that’s a thankless position to be in,” the adviser said.
In his 2007 autobiography, “Promises to Keep,” Joe gave a sense of Jim’s priorities. In the 1972 Senate campaign, Joe wrote, he changed his position on a capital gains tax reduction that would benefit potential big donors. Jim, his chief fundraiser, stewed for hours and then warned him, “I sure in hell hope you feel that strongly about capital gains because you just lost the election.” (Joe Biden won the race.)
It wasn’t their only clash. During Joe’s abortive presidential campaign in 2007, a Biden aide said, Jim “raised almost no money. He came in at the end when we were the most desperate.” Asked why, the insider said, “Family tensions.” At the same time, “there were always questions around Jimmy’s business dealings — what kind of blowback would there be for the campaign?”
Their upbringing shaped the brothers differently. Their father, Joseph R. Biden Sr., known as Big Joe, was a Wilmington car salesman. Joe later wrote that “money was so tight … I had to put cardboard in an old shoe until Dad’s next payday.”
Hard times kept the family close. “We could fight among ourselves inside the house, but we were not allowed to say a single syllable against a sibling on the outside,” Joe continued. One family friend said the Bidens’ struggles “rubbed off on how each of the boys were wired. With Joe it translated into, ‘I want respect.’ With Jimmy it translated into, ‘I want money.’”
Joe won a scholarship to the elite Archmere Academy and became a football star and class president. In 1962, he was a pool lifeguard in a predominantly African American Wilmington neighborhood, an experience he credits with helping him to understand race relations. He graduated from the University of Delaware and Syracuse University Law School.
Jim, six and a half years younger, went to local public schools. He was “aloof and had, perhaps, a bit of an attitude,” said classmate Steven Bennett. “Good luck in Senior High,” Jim wrote in Bennett’s junior high yearbook. “You’ll need it.” Jim studied at the University of Delaware over four semesters but did not earn a degree there, according to a university spokesperson.
Jim went into the nightclub business soon after Joe’s first Senate victory. With funding from Wilmington’s Farmers Bank, Jim and four partners operated a restaurant-lounge, Seasons Change. Its formula of dance music and Top 40 hits caught on, and when a larger space became available, Jim opened another club called The Other Side.
“They had a helluva run for a couple of years,” recalled Bob Bowersox, a band booker for both clubs who now runs a theater company in Key West, Florida.
Jim reported a net worth of about $10,000, but he and a partner were able to borrow $300,000 from First Pennsylvania Bank of Philadelphia for the expansion. His brother then sat on the Senate Banking Committee.
The Other Side made a splash, but not a profit. “I was a naive kid is what it was,” Jim told the Sunday News Journal in Wilmington in 1977.
Seasons Change folded in 1978 with more than half a million dollars in debts. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which had assumed the Farmers Bank loans, sued Jim and his partners in 1980 for more than $168,000. (ProPublica could find no record of the lawsuit’s resolution.) By then, Jim had left the nightclub business, and Wilmington, for California.
“I remember as a banker thinking, ‘Thank God, I didn’t finance it,’” said Fred Sears, a retired Wilmington banker and Biden family friend. “I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, is this going to spill over to Joe?’”
Three former Farmers Bank officers told the Wilmington Morning News in 1977 that they had financed Seasons Change because they believed the Biden name “would help attract a trendy free-spending crowd.”
And Joe Biden had called Farmers chairman to complain about a bank vice president threatening Jim, telling him that failure to pay would embarrass Joe. “They were trying to use me as a bludgeon,” Joe told the newspaper.
William Oldaker was not the only Joe Biden ally to boost Jim’s career or lend him money.
In the mid-1980s, Jim worked for a consulting and actuarial firm for employee pension plans headed by Joel Boyarsky, national finance chairman for Joe’s unsuccessful 1987 presidential bid. He and Jim did fundraising together for Joe.
As a Biden, Jim “gave me credibility,” said Boyarsky, now 81.
Boyarsky not only taught Jim about pensions but also helped him financially when Jim and Sara, a former Government Printing Office general counsel, bought a $650,000 villa outside Philadelphia.
The sellers gave them a full mortgage. And on the 1997 purchase date, Boyarsky also loaned them as much as $200,000, records show. Boyarsky said he may have made the loan but doesn’t remember it.
The next year, the IRS filed its first lien against Jim’s home to recover about $145,000 for two years of his overdue federal taxes.
The Bidens finished repaying Boyarsky in 2000. They borrowed more than $350,000 that year from Leonard Barrack, a Philadelphia lawyer and former DNC finance chairman. Joe Biden, the Senate Judiciary chairman, had named Barrack, a campaign donor, to his honorary council of advisers. A few months after the Barrack loan, Jim paid off the IRS.
Jim and Sara Biden’s relationship with Barrack soon soured. Barrack’s law firm sued the couple in 2004, alleging that it had hired Sara at Jim Biden’s request to court local government and pension fund clients. Jim Biden would also help generate business “through his family name and his resemblance to his brother, United States Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware,” the complaint said.
Instead, the firm alleged, Jim and Sara had used law firm resources to fuel their consulting company, the Lion Hall Group. The law firm said that it had paid Sara nearly $250,000, plus salary, for the couple to travel to Alaska, Hawaii, France and Italy.
Jim and Sara countersued and the parties reached a settlement in 2004, although its terms are unclear. Barrack did not respond to requests for comment.
The loan from Barrack was satisfied in May 2004, records show. A few months later, the couple borrowed $400,000 from businessman Thomas Knox, a Joe Biden donor and fundraiser who ran unsuccessfully for Philadelphia mayor in 2007. Jim Biden, a donor to Knox’s campaign, finished paying the loan in 2013.
Jim “has been a friend of mine for a while,” Knox said, adding that he may have met Joe through Jim. “There is nothing nefarious here.”
Roy Pinto was among those who discovered that Jim’s business ventures, like Joe’s campaigns, were a family affair.
In 2006, Pinto became vice chair of Corrections USA, an advocacy group for public prison guards. One of its members’ needs, he knew, was better insurance coverage. They worked dangerous jobs in buildings that were often antiquated and overcrowded. Disability insurance was limited to job injuries; if a stress-related condition flared up in retirement, they had to pay out of pocket.
So Pinto solicited bidders to supply comprehensive insurance for his then-8,000 members. A little-known brokerage, Biden & Caveney LLC, expressed interest. The firm had been established when Edward Caveney, who had negotiated insurance deals for dozens of Massachusetts cities and towns, hooked up with Jim Biden. They met through Boston connections, including Larry Rasky, a public relations consultant who had been communications director for both of Joe Biden’s presidential campaigns.
“Ed’s the guy with the feet on the street, (Jim) Biden would provide the name and contacts,” said one insurance executive who worked with Caveney.
Part of the brokerage’s strategy was to parlay the Biden name into access to law enforcement unions and organizations that admired Joe’s support for police. At one event, held in a luxury box at Fenway Park during a Boston Red Sox game, Jim courted representatives of police and firefighter organizations, with the help of James Machado, executive director of the Massachusetts Police Association.
Machado said in an interview that he was friendly with Caveney, who had pitched insurance products to law enforcement before. When Caveney asked for help and mentioned the Biden connection, Machado agreed. He had only met Jim once, but he’d known Joe “way back when,” and his police association had honored Joe.
“We provided an entree into some of the police departments for them to try and go in and pitch that product,” Machado recalled. “I was familiar with the Bidens. I felt comfortable with the Bidens.”
Caveney also hoped that Jim Biden could help him grow business beyond Massachusetts, where he’d been entangled in a controversy. As insurance broker for Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Caveney let what was known as its “stop loss” coverage for employees’ health care lapse — despite taking almost $300,000 in city money to pay for it.
As a result, the city was exposed to $628,000 in claims. It was a “deep, deep shock,” said its treasurer, David Kiley. In the ensuing furor, Kiley was forced to resign, the mayor decided not to seek reelection and the Massachusetts attorney general launched an investigation into the city’s finances. Caveney reimbursed the $628,000 and half of his fee and was not criminally charged.
Pinto, the Corrections USA vice chair, was unaware of this incident. He was a registered Republican, but he admired Joe Biden’s criminal justice record. In meetings with Corrections USA executives, Jim and his partner offered an attractive package and emphasized their Washington clout. Jim “makes sure he tells you his brother is Joe Biden,” Pinto said. “‘We’re brothers, we’re close.’”
One day in 2007, Pinto recalled, was an all-out Biden blitz. In the morning, he and other Corrections USA executives took Amtrak from Philadelphia to Washington for meetings. When Jim boarded in Delaware, he “brought Joe back to say hello,” Pinto recalled.
On Capitol Hill, Pinto’s group met with the senator, who chaired the Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on crime and drugs. Pinto had his photo taken with Joe, and a Biden aide discussed the group’s priorities. That evening, Pinto said, they dined with Hunter Biden, then a lobbyist with Oldaker in Washington.
Biden & Caveney gave a benefits overview at the group’s annual conference.
Then the deal fell apart. Pinto and another association executive said the group balked at Jim’s demand for an unusual arrangement to pay Biden & Caveney’s fees. They had assumed that Corrections USA would pay the fees out of member dues. But Jim insisted that the guards pay all dues — roughly $750,000 a year, deducted automatically from their paychecks — to Biden & Caveney. It would keep its fees of about $120,000 and disburse the rest to Corrections USA.
Spokespeople for Jim Biden and the Biden campaign disputed Pinto’s account of the breakup but did not explain why.
After registering as an insurance agent in at least 10 states, Biden & Caveney dissolved in 2011, records show. Dennis DiMarzio, formerly an insurance executive and Boston’s chief operating officer, who helped Biden & Caveney land government contracts, said that Caveney ended the partnership.
“In spite of the name Biden, I don’t think Jimmy was successful in bringing in contracts, which is surprising, because the name carries a lot of weight,” he said.
Both ex-partners stayed in the benefits business. Caveney established an employee benefits firm in Puerto Rico. Approached at his Massachusetts home, Caveney declined comment. Later, he did not return phone messages.
Jim Biden and his wife are principals of BBS Benefits Solutions in Connecticut, which caters to large employers and labor unions.
Its motto: “When families feel secure about their future, they can have peace of mind for today.”
Ed Caveney had problems in Pittsfield before he hooked up with Jim Biden. Some of Jim’s other associates encountered legal trouble after he worked with them — or while they were discussing potential partnerships.
In August 2007, Jim accompanied Joe to Oxford, Mississippi. The senator was running for president, and his supporters were holding a fundraiser for him at the Oxford University Club.
Among the hosts was plaintiff’s attorney Dickie Scruggs, dubbed “America’s most powerful trial lawyer” in a book by Wilkie, who teaches journalism at the University of Mississippi. Unbeknownst to Joe, Scruggs was then under federal investigation for bribing a local judge. The brother-in-law of former Republican Senate majority leader Trent Lott, Scruggs had gained fame — and nearly a billion dollars — by brokering a landmark 1998 settlement with four major tobacco companies, which paid more than $200 billion to 46 states to resolve tobacco-related health care claims.
That deal had come after the companies and state attorneys general first sought to wrap the state cases in a single federal settlement requiring the companies to pay more than $360 billion. As the bill reached the Senate, Scruggs retained Jim and Sara Biden’s Lion Hall Group to lobby for its passage.
In a lawsuit deposition, Scruggs vaguely explained Jim and Sara Biden’s role. “I’m not sure they’re lobbyists, but they are a firm that’s headed up by … the person I deal with in the firm, I don’t know who heads it up, is a gentleman named James or Jim Biden, B-I-D-E-N, who’s the brother of Sen. Joseph Biden,” he said. “And he gave us a great deal of advice about what was going on on Capitol Hill during the tobacco legislative effort.”
The bill, which Joe Biden supported, died in the Senate. Scruggs then crafted the settlement with the states, which did not require congressional approval.
Nine years later, when Jim came to Oxford, his old tobacco connections offered a new business opportunity. Among the other fundraiser hosts were Scruggs associates Steve Patterson and Timothy Balducci. Patterson was a former state auditor who resigned in 1996 and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of filing a false affidavit to keep from paying county taxes. A former aide to Mississippi Sen. John C. Stennis, Patterson had raised money for Joe Biden’s 1987 presidential bid.
At the time of the fundraiser, Patterson and Balducci, a lawyer, were looking for a Washington presence for a practice they were setting up in New Albany, Mississippi.
They added Sara Biden to the venture, to be called Patterson Balducci & Biden. But it collapsed as a federal bribery investigation caught Balducci on wiretaps arranging a $40,000 bribe for a local judge.
Balducci pleaded guilty and turned over details of the scheme that drew in Patterson, Scruggs and others. All pleaded guilty.
One of Scruggs’ lawyers early in the case was Joey Langston, who would soon plead guilty in another Scruggs-related judicial bribery case. Langston had hosted fundraisers for Joe Biden and solicited the senator’s legislative help.
Despite Langston’s guilty plea and subsequent disbarment, he and Jim Biden eventually became business associates. Both showed up as managers in Earthcare Trina International, a marketing firm affiliated with a Sacramento, California, health care company called Trina Healthcare.
“Biden was going to have a big bite of the apple,” said Shad Ellison, a corporate dealmaker who was asked to help raise money to open medical clinics that would administer Trina’s new diabetes treatment.
Trina’s “artificial pancreas treatment” was controversial. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had stopped paying for the procedure in 2009, citing evidence that it doesn’t improve health outcomes. The American Diabetes Association agreed. Nevertheless, Trina’s founder, lawyer G. Ford Gilbert, tried to push a bill through the Alabama Legislature requiring private insurers to cover the treatment. He pleaded guilty in January 2019 to federal bribery charges and was sentenced to six months in prison.
Langston did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for Jim Biden did not respond to emailed questions about Trina.
In December 2013, Jim and Sara Biden invested $2.5 million in a luxury vacation home on Keewaydin Island near Naples, Florida. The six-bedroom house can only be reached by boat, and Joe Biden vacationed there when he was vice president.
While Jim and Sara Biden racked up renovation debts, the IRS slapped them with another $589,000 lien for unpaid 2013 federal taxes.
The financial obligations led them to another Joe Biden supporter. In May 2015, as first reportedby Politico, they got a $500,000 mortgage loan from a corporation recently set up by auto dealer John Hynansky. Hynansky’s corporation at the time already had a mortgage on Jim and Sara Biden’s Pennsylvania house, records show. Hynansky did not return phone calls.
The Bidens paid the back taxes and then unloaded the Florida house for $1.35 million in 2018. Hynansky’s company released its mortgages on both properties.
One of Jim’s old patrons came to his aid as well. Oldaker — whose WashingtonFirst Bank loaned Jim and Hunter $1 milion in 2006 — is now a founder and director at a new bank, Trustar, based in Virginia. Jim Biden got a $250,000 loan from Trustar last December, records show. He secured it with another mortgage on his Pennsylvania house, which is now on the market for just under $2 million.
The new office reinforces Signant Health’s values and focus on customers in its layout and design
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Signant Health, an industry-leading clinical research technology and solutions company, is proud to announce that it has officially opened a new, leading edge office facility in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. Construction on the new office, which is the largest workplace in Signant Health’s global network, completed in February 2020.
Answering strong demand for its patient-centric technology, the new facility represents another significant milestone for the company. The Philadelphia area is rich with diverse talent, and the new location gives Signant the opportunity and capacity to further expand staffing, capabilities, and collaboration with global customers and team members. The site will initially be home to over 600 Signant Health team members and represents the third significant facility investment by the company in the last 12 months.
The office is designed as a modern, integrated workspace that brings teams together, both physically and virtually. Featuring a mix of vibrant and flexible collaboration and connection spaces, Signant Health’s values are reflected in its contemporary design features. The goal of the space is to support and reinforce the positive impact Signant Health teams have on customers and on patient lives through the work they do every day. The office is also intended as the technology hub for the global company, featuring connectivity and collaboration solutions to link with the other locations around the world.
The Signant Health team’s operational excellence capabilities were evident in their successful collaboration with global real estate advisor Savills, Inc. and their team of Greg Soffian, John Flack & Andrea Borrelli, along with Tony Palomba from architectural firm D2 Groups, IMC Construction, and landlord Spear Street Capital. Together, they created the vision for the space and swiftly brought it to life.
Mike Nolte, CEO of Signant Health, stated, “Moving to our new Blue Bell location marks an important moment for Signant Health. I’m personally very excited as I believe it is a space that allows our teams to more effectively collaborate around innovative ways to support our customers’ important work. It reflects our business and cultural aspirations while also bringing together teams that had previously been located in other, space constrained locations in the Philadelphia area.
“IMC Construction was excited to be a partner with Signant Health in helping them achieve their vision,” said Robert Cottone, President & CEO, IMC Construction. “Their commitment to collaboration and innovation mirrors IMC’s commitment to our clients. Our shared values were a great match for success.”
Signant Health’s new home is located at 785 Arbor Way, in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.
The best technology succeeds in the background. Signant Health (formerly CRF Health and Bracket) provides solutions that simplify every step of the patient journey to make it easier for people to participate in, and for sites and study teams to run, clinical trials. Signant unites eCOA, eConsent, Patient Engagement, IRT, Clinical Supplies and Endpoint Quality into the industry’s most comprehensive patient-centric suite – an evolution built on more than 20 years of proven clinical research technology. Our intense focus on the patient experience, deep therapeutic area expertise and global operational scale enable hundreds of sponsors and CROs (including all Top 20 pharma) to extend the reach of drug development, expand patient opportunities and improve data quality – helping them bring life-changing therapies to our families and communities around the world. Take a significant step toward patient-centricity at signanthealth.com.