The Geiers’ Second Home

2 Feb

Mark Geier is well known within the autism alternative medicine community (think chelation, lupron) and as a consultant and expert for the attorneys in the vaccine court. David Geier is his son and has also been associated with the alt-med treatments (much criticised research, being accused of practicing medicine without a license) and tried to break in to the vaccine-court expert/consultant business. The Geiers are currently suing the attorneys who represented the families in the Ominibus Autism Proceeding (the vaccine court hearings on vaccine causation of autism). According to court papers, the Geiers are seeking $600,000 in fees and expenses they feel are owed to them. The vaccine court denied the application for paying for their fees.

In looking over the documents I was struck by an odd fact: the address given for the Geiers is not the same one I am used to seeing. It isn’t their usual home base in Maryland. So I decided to take a look at what sort of home they are currently claiming as their residence.

Here’s a picture (click to enlarge pictures):

House 1

The home is described online as 7,800 square feet, on a 20 acre lot. The backyard comes complete with a swimming pool.

House 2

Apparently, the estate was listed for $2.6M in 2011, but pulled from the market. Eidt to add: I’ve been informed that Mark and David Geier (not Mark and his wife) purchased the property in Nov. 2011 for $2M.

the Interior is not understated:

B-Room Geier

and

B-Room Geier

If you work out where they live, please don’t post it here. It is publicly available information, but it is not relevant to this discussion. What is releavant is this: there’s a lot of money in alternative medicine and promoting the idea that vaccines cause autism. Mark Geier has 20 years experience working with, and being critcized by, the vaccine court, including for double charging and for charging for costs well outside their roles (such as trips to Europe)

A single study they assisted in preparing for the Omnibus was billed at $440k, even though it was of low quality and was not useful in the case. The special master was very clear:

Clearly, no rational “hypothetical paying client” of the PSC would have agreed to pay for the production of such a flawed study. Thus, the fact that the Young-Geier article did not add any value to the petitioners’ causation presentation in this case is a very strong reason why I should decline to compensate the PSC for the cost of producing the article.

The Special Masters of the Court of Federal Claims (the vaccine court) appear to have closed the door on payments to the Geiers. But not until nearly two decades of low quality work was compensated. Mark Geier has lost his license to practice medicine in multiple states, but, again, not until after he was able to spend decades “treating” people with and charging people for therapies which make no sense.

The Geiers may not get the $600k they believe they are owed for work on the Omnibus. Their multistate franchise of lupron treatment centers may be closed. They may not be able to charge the American taxpayer for future low quality “expert” reports for the Court. Perhaps Mark Geier will have to retire a little early (reportedly, he’s 64), to his new home. Shared with his wife and son. Except for the living out one’s retirement with David Geier, I’m not seeing this as a difficult time for him. As to David Geier, one does wonder if he will ever amount to anything. Extrapolating from existing data, I’m not betting on it. But, as with his father, I don’t see cause to worry for his future. The U.S. taxpayers, and medical consumers, have taken care of this father/son team far better than we have our disabled citizens. And with less return to show for it.


By Matt Carey

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39 Responses to “The Geiers’ Second Home”

  1. Allison February 2, 2013 at 23:47 #

    I hope to see them in jail some day. It’s not enough that Daddy Geier is being methodically stripped of his medical license as more states learn of his bullshit, and that Son Geier was found guilty of practicing medicine without a license. They both need to serve jail time. At least one year for every unproven dangerous treatment they’ve provided to each helpless child they’ve tortured.

  2. Broken Link February 3, 2013 at 01:22 #

    They made money both by charging the parents for all the testing and doctor’s visits they needed to come up with data for those low quality studies. And they want to be paid a second time for the studies themselves. Talk about your double-dipping.

  3. Clay February 3, 2013 at 02:01 #

    Outrageous and despicable. That mansion looks pretty empty to me. I hope they drink themselves into oblivion to forget how they came by it. (And yeah, they should go to prison, for umpteen different reasons.)

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 3, 2013 at 02:29 #

      Clay,

      the photos were from a real estate site from when the house was for sale. Possibly the home was not occupied at the time.

  4. Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 3, 2013 at 02:27 #

    I’ve been informed (and checked) that the Geiers purchased the home in November 2011 for $2M. I’ve added to the article above.

    It strikes me odd that this is in Mark and David’s names, not Mark and his wife, or David alone.

  5. Brian Deer February 3, 2013 at 08:06 #

    And then there’s the lab in the garage…

  6. Tsu Dho Nimh February 3, 2013 at 11:55 #

    Mark – They are perhaps interested in the “homestead exemption”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homestead_exemption_in_Florida

  7. Lawrence February 3, 2013 at 12:00 #

    @sullivan – wow, that’s extreme, in the extreme. Reminds me on Dr. Burzynski’s massive estate in Texas – alternative medicine pays extremely well (and in cash).

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 3, 2013 at 17:29 #

      It was suggested to me that my selection of images may have understated the house. Here are more, for whatever they may be worth.

      I have no problem with people being well compensated. But for anyone who doesn’t think that alternative medicine can be a well-compensated profession, esepcially when combined with working the vaccine court system, think again.

      I do not think that the services the Geiers have provided to the U.S. taxpayer and the autism community warrant such compensation. Far from it.

  8. Lawrence February 3, 2013 at 18:06 #

    @Sullivan – damn, the CEO of my company (a Fortune 500, multi-national) doesn’t have a house that big……

  9. Science Mom February 3, 2013 at 18:43 #

    Very tacky which suits them. Their Maryland digs are worth over 700K currently. Who knew that chemically-castrating special needs children and milking vaccine court could be such a posh living? Gah what scum.

    • Lawrence February 3, 2013 at 19:05 #

      @Science Mom – I can’t tell you how much it pains me that this crooks are from Maryland……

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 4, 2013 at 02:44 #

      One point to make clear–David Geier never really entered into the vaccine-court “expert” business. He tried to with the Omnibuses (both the autism and the Hepatitis B omnibus proceedings) but was rejected as even having the qualifications to be a “consultant”, much less expert.

      One of the main “contributions” he had to the Autism Omnibus was in the fabled “Young-Geier” study, where an epidemiologist from GWU worked with the Geiers on a study which puported to show that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism. The special master in the Dwyer case noted about the Geier studies aside from Young-Geier:

      The only studies demonstrating a relationship between TCVs and ASD are those
      in which Dr. and Mr. Geier appear as co-authors, including the Young study published in
      May, 2008, and funded by the OAP PSC. Tr. at 3665; Young, PML 665, at 117.
      Because petitioners’ own expert commented that the Geier studies were not reliable as
      evidence (Tr. at 122-23) and they were thus not addressed by respondent’s experts, I
      do not discuss the earlier Geier studies any further. In view of the numerous criticisms
      of the earlier Geier studies300 and petitioners’ own expert’s dismissal of them, I have
      placed no reliance on them.

      Yes, the main epidemiologist employed by the petitiones–the guy working for the families–said that the Geier studies were not reliable (something which might have been important to Prof. DeSoto in her paper, but that’s another story).

      So, the Geier efforts at epidemiology were disregarded because the witness *on their side* said they were not valuable.

      As to the Young-Geier study, the petioners’ attorneys did not enter it into evidence until after their own epidemiologist had testified and been dismissed. It isn’t like the study was a surprise to them (the attorneys) given that they had funded it. And the petitioners’ attorneys did not ask for their epidemiologist to comment in post hearing statements.

      The special master found that the Young-Geier study was of low quality (see epiwonk’s New Study on Thimerosal and Neurodevelopmental Disorders: I. Scientific Fraud or Just Playing with Data?, for a good discussion of why) and obviously involved a conflict of interest in that it was funded by the attorneys. So it was given little weight.

      So you have the Geiers who contributed basically nothing to the Omnibus, and David least of all, who want to charge the U.S. taxpayers hundreds of dollars an hour (based on their own accounting, by the way) for a total of $600,000.00. Which was a large fraction of the money for experts/consultants that the attorneys were paid…and they contributed nothing.

      And this isn’t the worst that the Geiers attempted. Heck, for a long time, Mark Geier managed to get paid. He’s just failed in passing the “family business” off to David.

      The idea that they managed to accumulate such wealth on a history of incompetence is the issue here. I have no problem with people who have real expertise being compensated. I have no problem with people spending large sums of money on a home I would walk away from for aesthetic reasons even if I were swimming in cash. And this doesn’t even touch on the nonsense they passed off as “therapies” for disabled children. Making money off that is even worse than managing to use the vaccine court as a source of income for the incompetent.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 4, 2013 at 03:39 #

        While I am on the topic, here’s a discussion from a different Vaccine Court document (http://www.uscfc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/Vowell.Snyder.pdf

        I note that two of the co-authors of this study were Dr. Mark Geier and Mr. David Geier. This is not the first occasion in which other researchers have been unable to verify the validity of the Geiers’statistical analysis. See IOM, IMMUNIZATION SAFETY REVIEW: VACCINES AND AUTISM (Washington, DC: National Academies Press (2004)) at 55-62, 65 (calling their work unintelligible). A number of judges have had similar concerns about Dr. Geier’s work. See, e.g., Graham v. Wyeth Laboratories, 906 F.2d 1399, 1418 (10th Cir. 1990) (Dr. Geier’s calculation error was of sufficient magnitude so as to warrant a new trial); Doe v. Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, 440 F. Supp. 2d 465, 474 (M.D.N.C. 2006) (excluding Dr. Geier’s testimony as based on “hypothesis and speculation.”); Redroot v. B.F. Ascher & Company, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40002 (N.D. Cal. June 1, 2007) (excluding Dr. Geier as an expert, finding his testimony “not reliable.”) Pease v. American Cyanamid Co., 795 F. Supp. 755, 760-61 (D. Md. 1992) (in granting summary judgment, trial judge noted inconsistencies in Dr. Geier’s opinion); Jones v. Lederle Laboratories, American Cyanamid Co., 785 F. Supp. 1123, 1126 (E.D. N.Y. 1992) (“the court was unimpressed with the qualifications, veracity, and bona fides” of Dr. Geier); and Militrano v. Lederle Laboratories, American Cyanamid Co., 3 Misc. 3d, 523, 537-38 (N.Y. Sup.Ct. 2003) (characterizing Dr. Geier’s affidavit as “conclusory and scattershot” and “undermined by many of the materials submitted in support of it”).

        Mark Geier was critized from just abou tthe start of his time with the vaccine court. That’s two decades. But it isn’t just the vaccine court that found him unreliable. As noted above, multiple other courts have criticized him.

        And David Geier isn’t as qualified as Mark Geier.

        The money is one thing, but as the parent of a developmentally disabled child, the real injustice is in seeing people with gifts such as they have wasting them. Millions of dollars can’t buy intelligence, and they threw what they had away in search of an easy buck. At the cost to not only the taxpayer, but to the community they purported to serve.

        What’s the end result? Judges saying, “we won’t let you get paid for junk “expert” reports anymore.” Medical boards saying, “You gotta retire early”. Net result? Mark Geier retires early, and David Geier is set to inherit enough money to keep him bouncing around his father’s mansion for the rest of his life, with income supplemented by giving talks to faux-autism-science conventions?

        I keep hearing a line from “The Princess Bride” in my head: “Jesus, grandpa, what did you read me this thing for?

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 4, 2013 at 04:58 #

        One of the last cases where Mark Geier was paid, and one of the first where David Geier was paid is this one: http://www.uscfc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/GOLKIEWICZ.RIGGINS061509.pdf

        For those who want to see some of what happened:

        Petitioner’s counsel requests $110,386.73 in costs related to S&A’s general hepatitis B
        work, of which counsel has earmarked $97,443.43 as costs (for fees and expenses) owed to Dr.
        Mark Geier and his son, David Geier. P App at 31. The undersigned is not aware of an award or
        request for an award in Vaccine Program history, including requests in other omnibus efforts, of
        this magnitude for consultants, and petitioner has failed to provide a reasonable or persuasive
        justification here. The undersigned understands that S&A argues it utilized the services of the
        Geiers in relation to general hepatitis B matters to prepare approximately 150 cases for
        prosecution, however, the undersigned finds this request grossly unreasonable for the multiple
        reasons described below. The undersigned notes that the itemized request for costs to Dr. Geier
        and Mr. Geier represents the quintessential example of counsel’s failure to monitor costs.

        emphasis added.

        The attorney in this case (Clifford Shoemaker) argued that they could use David Geier to save money. Since he has lesser credentials, he would charge less (a mere $250/hour for a man with a B.A. in biology).

        For virtually every single request for costs for work or travel performed Dr. Geier, an identically described request is made by David Geier (albeit at a lower rate than his father).

        So, Geier and Geier basically double chaged by claiming that father and son both did the same work. That “saved” the program money.

        the same decision cited a previous decison:

        In short, if a well-informed, hypothetical client were asked to pay for Dr. Geier’s services in 2001-2002, the reasonable response from the client would have been to refrain from retaining Dr. Geier.

        A well informed person wouldn’t hire Mark Geier as an expert or consultant.

        In regards to travel (trips to Europe with Mr.Shoemaker) where the Geiers tried to charge more than $20,000, the special master stated: “These requests represent a complete abdication of billing
        judgment.”

        Mark and David Geier further tried to charge for attending a conference in Italy. “In addition, Dr. Geier and Mr. Geier together billed $23,690.00 to travel to Italy to attend the 5th International Conference of Autoimmunity.”

        $24,000 to attend a conference?

        For the trips to Italy and France they billed over $44,000, with nearly $20,000 in just travel time! Yes, the U.S. taxpayer was supposed to pay them $20K to sit on airplanes and take taxis.

        The special master further notes:

        Additionally, the Geiers provided absolutely no supporting documentation, such as receipts, to evidence the $9,399.68, see P App at 60, they allege they incurred in costs for airline tickets, other transportation costs, parking, hotel, “daily expenses,” food, and conference fees during these trips.

        emphasis in the original.

        The Geier’s just didn’t bother to submit reciepts, or even a basic spreadsheet of their expenses. They just racked up about $10,000 in expenses and figured we get to pay for them.

        Thankfully the special master dramatically reduced the charges billed by the Geiers in this instance. In place of the $97,000 requested for both the Geiers, “only” $10k was paid to Mark Geier. Nothing to David.

        While this decision marked the end of the road for the Geiers ability to bill the US taxpayer at whim, it shows the extravagance and worse that they regarded as possible in the vaccine program.

        I don’t see evidence that the Geiers sued the attorney in this case (Cliff Shoemaker), who, coincidentially, is a member of at least one of their organizations. No, they saved the lawsuit for the PSC.

        How much of the estate pictured above is due to billing the American taxpayer for “expert” services which were based on shady accounting and low quality effort? Besides the taxpayer deserving better, petitioners in the program deserved better.

      • Julian Frost February 4, 2013 at 05:43 #

        @Matt: $44,000?!?! Last year, I went on vacation to Portugal for two weeks. It cost me under R30,000 and that included flights there and back and two weeks stay in a hotel. The exchange rate is approximately $1 = R8, so the whole trip cost me about $4,000.
        The Geiers have got to be joking.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 4, 2013 at 19:08 #

        Yes, but you weren’t charging US$200/hour (or thereabouts) to sit in the plane, were you?

        I recently attended a conference. We were asked to keep total expenses under $2k each. That was domestic, but still the idea of spending as much as they did and trying to charge it back to the Court is amazing.

        I hope you had a great trip to Portugal.

  10. Brian Deer February 4, 2013 at 10:38 #

    I’ve never been a big follower of the Geiers, but Mark Geier also made a fortune from the DPT scare of the 1980s, which is where he first set up shop as a purported expert on vaccines. There was his famous “I must have missed a zero” evidence of course:

    http://briandeer.com/wakefield/dtp-garth.htm

    And one of his retracted papers:

    http://briandeer.com/wakefield/geier-mark.pdf

    You’ve just got to feel compassion for those five thousand or so families who thought that people like these, and Andrew Wakefield, were going to win them millions of dollars. And all those years it went on for. Truly appalling.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 4, 2013 at 19:06 #

      Yes, the “missing zero”…That and this case are the two I think demonstrate so quickly and clearly the, shall we be nice and say sloppy?, work submitted by Mark Geier:

      “Petitioners filed Dr. Geier’s second affidavit, dated August 28, 2001. P. Ex. 22. In it, Dr. Geier confuses Hannah’s case with someone else’s because he refers to her death and subsequent autopsy. Hannah is still alive.”

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 4, 2013 at 19:22 #

        I should add another line from the same paragraph quoted above:

        “He also refers to the VAERS reports regarding arthritic symptoms and hepatitis and rubella vaccines. (Hannah does not have arthritic symptoms; hepatitis and rubella vaccines are not at issue here.)”

        Mr. Geier’s “expert” report was describing someone else entirely. Petitioners before the Court deserve better.

    • Anne February 5, 2013 at 07:11 #

      I do feel bad for the claimants and even, though to a lesser degree, for their attorneys, whom I think were misled by Mark Geier and Andy Wakefield, at least initially. Of course the lawyers ended up getting paid, and at some point had reason to know that their reliance was misplaced. But the claimants didn’t recover, and it boggles my mind to see some of them blaming improbable conspiracies for that instead of realizing that they were given bad advice on their claims.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 5, 2013 at 18:06 #

        The PSC went to the end believing in Andrew Wakefield. In the final arguments for one set of test cases, the PSC attorney spent considerable amount of time defending “Andy” against what he thought were unjustified criticisms during the hearing.

        One argument the Geiers could try (probably not successfully ) is that the quality of the expert witnesses used by the PSC were low anyway. So, why not use the Geiers? The thing is, the Geiers didn’t have their expenses denied by the court because they didn’t testify. They had their expenses cut (and didn’t testify) because they don’t qualify as experts. Now, all that is different from whether the PSC owes them money regardless of whether the court denied their fee request.

  11. lilady February 4, 2013 at 23:16 #

    So is the glass and brass palacio located in Florida? In addition to claiming Florida residencies and their “Homestead” status, which exempts homeowners from certain “executions” of civil court judgements, Mark and David Geier will be avoiding Maryland’s considerable State Income Tax, as well:

    http://individuals.marylandtaxes.com/incometax/ratesbrackets.asp

    Where are all the parents of autistic children who underwent the Geiers’ chemical castration/chelation now? Why aren’t they posting in support of them…or condemning them?

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 4, 2013 at 23:30 #

      I’d be more interested in whether this is transferring funds to D. Geier outside of inheritance tax.

  12. Clay February 4, 2013 at 23:18 #

    We all deserve better, and the Geiers deserve prison. Isn’t there anything that can be done to sic someone on them? BTW, if they’re getting the “homestead exemption”, by law, it’s supposed to be their primary residence. Is it?

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 4, 2013 at 23:29 #

      Sometimes the bad guy rides off into the sunset.

      Without stating where this residence is, I can state that the voting records I have seen show the entire Geier family (Father, Mother, Son) voting in this state. D. Geier has a phone there, but there is not one listed for the parents. They still own the Maryland home (I think from the fauna it’s pretty clear this isn’t Maryland).

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 4, 2013 at 23:33 #

        Scratch that, meant flora, not fauna.

    • lilady February 4, 2013 at 23:44 #

      Clay, “homestead exemption” in Florida does require you to be a resident of the State and to be “domiciled” in Florida, as well:

      http://www.stateofflorida.com/Portal/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=38

      All the more reason for the parents of the children who underwent the “Geiers’ treatments” to come forward as witnesses to criminal abuse committed by the Geiers.

      • Clay February 4, 2013 at 23:51 #

        Yep, I read the link given above by Tsu Dho Nimh in its entirety. How could we prod those parents to come forward? (I’m sure they didn’t have “favorable outcomes” or whatever they expected from their children’s expensive, dangerous treatments.)

  13. Todd W. February 5, 2013 at 01:53 #

    I wonder what the IRS might find if they looked into the Geiers pere et fils.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 5, 2013 at 02:03 #

      If their accounting is on a par with what they provided to the vaccine court? It would be an interesting conversation to watch.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 5, 2013 at 02:14 #

      Mark Geier is claiming that he was to be paid for civil litigation $325 per hour “reading time” and $400 per hour spent away including travel and work time but excluding sleep time. So if he were to be paid for going to a conference in Italy, for example, he would be paid $400 an hour, 16 hours a day? Who pays like that? Travel time is compensated at a lower rate in everything I’ve seen. That aside, $400/hour to sit on an airplane?

      Whoever agreed to that must have been expecting the Court to pay up. Someone spending his/her own money wouldn’t do that.

      I need to dig further to see if they submitted examples of actual expenses they claim should be reimbursed.

      • Clay February 5, 2013 at 04:56 #

        Nah, let’s have the IRS dig into the Geiers, father and son. That’s how they finally got Al Capone!

        (Of course, I’d rather have them charged with fraud on the Vaccine Court, and even more, the harm they did with Lupron, but we can work on that while they’re cooling their heels for tax evasion and related accounting larcenies.)

  14. Anna Kirkland February 6, 2013 at 21:13 #

    The compensation payments are paid from a trust fund not from general tax revenue, but from a .75 tax on every dose of covered vaccine. So parents, insurance companies, the federal government, basically everyone who pays for vaccines, paid for this. That makes it perhaps more outrageous, perhaps less, but is worth noting.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 6, 2013 at 21:17 #

      Thanks–

      it is referred to as an “excise tax” often, but it is true that it is not the entire US taxpaying population who has to pay it.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 6, 2013 at 22:37 #

        One thing I forgot–some (if not most) of the money for the Omnibus came directly from taxpayers. There was a line-item in the budget. The Geiers so far have not been paid anything out of that.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Looking back at two decades of Geier | Left Brain Right Brain - October 20, 2013

    […] The Geiers’ have done well, financially. Charging over $50k/year, plus over $10k in tests, could do that. Here’s their home in Florida (The Geiers’ Second Home) […]

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