No stranger to legal troubles
Controversial MS researcher sued numerous times, court papers show
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/01/2015 (2978 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Before he was a medical researcher charging multiple sclerosis patients thousands for experimental stem-cell treatment, Doug Broeska was a lumber broker as well as the regional organizer of a Playboy event.
Court documents show Broeska has been sued multiple times, including by the Business Development Bank of Canada and the Royal Bank.
He was also sued in 2005 by the owner of Coyote’s nightclub following an event Broeska organized there — the Playboy Scramble Girls of Golf event.
After the event, which was to include eight modelling competitions and a wind-up party at the Pembina Highway nightclub, the nightclub’s owner sued Broeska for failing to provide him with several promised all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles for the Playboy Scramble finals. The trip was to include VIP tickets to an afternoon golf party at the Playboy Mansion for the contest winners and for one representative from the nightclub.
In a statement of defence, Broeska conceded most of the facts but denied he had failed to provide the Coyote’s owner with a free trip to L.A. Later that year, the Coyote’s owner discontinued the lawsuit.
Broeska and his latest venture, Regenetek Research, have been under scrutiny following a Free Press investigation that found Broeska charged people with MS and Lou Gehrig’s disease as much as $45,000 to be part of a clinical trial in India involving experimental stem-cell therapy.
In the last three years, convinced by Broeska’s claim the therapy had “curative” effects, roughly 70 people travelled to India. Several patients have now come forward to say they saw no improvement to their chronic illnesses, received no followup — common in a clinical trial — and believe they were duped.
The Free Press also found Broeska falsely claimed to have a PhD and other credentials and overstated the ethical approvals his clinical trial earned.
Last month, the Indian hospital that performed the treatment asked Broeska to step down as the clinical trial’s principal investigator. The hospital’s ethics committee raised several serious issues — that Broeska’s lack of credentials and followup “violated international ethical standards,” that the diagnosis of the diseases of some patients had been manipulated and that some patients were being “enforced/blackmailed to stop certain life-saving medicines” without scientific justification.
Broeska has largely denied the accusations, saying the study has been mischaracterized by the media. He has suggested to worried patients he would hold a news conference this week to offer proof of his credentials and to discuss the study. No news conference has taken place.
The Canada Revenue Agency is investigating, but it’s unclear whether the RCMP or the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba are taking any action.
‘Genesis has officially cut collaborative ties with Regenetek with regards to the Indian study. We want to refresh our objectives and move on to the cleaner future’ — Surjo Banerjee
On Thursday, Broeska’s partner in India, Genesis Ltd., also ended its relationship with Regenetek.
“Genesis has officially cut collaborative ties with Regenetek with regards to the Indian study,” said Genesis director Surjo Banerjee, who was often listed as the clinical trial’s director of operations. “We want to refresh our objectives and move on to the cleaner future.”
Court documents show Broeska and his former company, Hardwood Lumber, have been embroiled in often protracted legal troubles, including with former business associates and lenders.
In 2008, the Business Development Bank of Canada sued Broeska to recoup two loans the venture-capital agency made to Hardwood Lumber two years earlier totalling $175,000.
Broeska failed to file a statement of defence and was found to owe $157,000 to the BDC.
A similar lawsuit was filed by the Royal Bank at about the same time, alleging Hardwood Lumber owed the bank nearly $340,000 in loans.
The bank said that in 2008, Broeska repeatedly promised to repay the loans when he received payment from a large customer, who later turned out to be fictitious. Broeska also said Susan Hauch, a Winnipeg physician, was willing to pay out the debt to the Royal Bank.
Federal and provincial companies records show Hauch is on Regenetek’s board and is a director in another business venture of Broeska’s called CliniCard. Stem-cell patients who spoke to the Free Press said Hauch was an active part of Regenetek and occasionally wrote letters of support so patients could apply for medical visas to India.
Earlier this week, following a trip with Broeska to Trinidad to meet with the Indian medical team about a new clinic there, Hauch said she’d been “duped” and “scammed” by Broeska.
In 2009, the courts ordered Broeska to repay the Royal Bank. Court documents show the order was satisfied.
Melissa Martin reports and opines for the Winnipeg Free Press.
Updated on Friday, January 23, 2015 8:21 AM CST: Replaces photo
Updated on Friday, January 23, 2015 12:22 PM CST: Clarifies details of trip to Los Angeles.