Dallas Philanthropist Ted Skokos Invested $2.65 Million In a Overhyped Dietary Supplement. Now, He Wants His Money Back.
Ted and Shannon Skokos are heavy hitters on the Dallas philanthropy scene. Their names are engraved most prominently at the AT&T Performing Arts Center, into which they poured more than $2 million, but their largesse is wide-ranging, and they give grants that, per their foundation's website, "positively impact society by, among other things, advancing education, the arts, science, and religion."
Ted Skokos thought he had a winner for the foundation when he discovered Provasca, a near-miraculous dietary supplement that reduces blood pressure, increases good cholesterol, strengthens arteries and generally makes the heart a lot healthier. At least that's how it was billed by its creator, Oklahoma City physician Bruce Daniels, who told Skokos the supplement was backed by extensive research and would be a game changer for medical science.
Last Halloween, Skokos invested $650,000 in Daniels' company, Vascular Health Sciences. A few months later, in February, he kicked in a $2 million loan from the foundation, convertible to a stake in the company.
Daniels soon after changed his tune, or so Skokos claims in a lawsuit that was moved to federal court on Monday. What was, during his preinvestment due diligence, a medical breakthrough poised to revolutionize healthcare forever was actually an unproven product that was far from being ready for market.
To top it off, Daniels didn't disclose to Skokos that he was in the process of cutting ties with VHS, though things get complicated here. VHS was created to market Provasca, and Daniels ceded control of the company to his brother so he could focus on medical research. According to a legal filing in another Provasca-related lawsuit, Daniels claims his brother instead stole the supplement, cutting him out even as they sought to put it on the market.
Daniels' attorney, Jared LeBlanc, said his client "categorically denies the allegations against him, and we are confident that Dr. Daniels will prevail."
Skokos of course thinks otherwise and claims in his suit that Daniels' representations about the drug and his company amount to fraud, not to mention a violation of Texas securities law. As a result, he wants Daniels to return every penny of his $2.65 million investment.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.