Comeuppance can be a wonderful thing, as long as the recipient is someone truly in need of some serious karmic retribution—and Betsy DeVos certainly fits that bill. Which is why it’s sort of hard to feel bad upon learning that the former education secretary got swindled out of $100 million by Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes.
As Daily Beast reports, the DeVos family’s RDV Corporation was one of the organizations Holmes and her ex-boyfriend, Theranos president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, handpicked to “invest” in their bullshit blood-testing devices, which they (knowingly falsely) claimed could detect a variety of diseases and conditions with a tiny needle prick. In 2014, there were definitely more than a few pricks in Silicon Valley when members of the DeVos family traveled to California to meet with Holmes and discuss an investment.
In October 2014, the DeVos family visited Theranos headquarters for an almost five-hour huddle which included Betsy’s sister-in-law Cheri DeVos getting a finger stick test. “To my knowledge, she received the results,” Peterson testified, adding that she didn’t personally review the lab work, according to courtroom press reports.
Shortly after this meeting, Peterson and DeVos family members gathered in the Theranos parking lot to discuss their planned $50 million investment, which they ultimately doubled, the Wall Street Journal reported. (On Tuesday, the defense presented an email from Peterson that said RDV Corporation, with the blessing of siblings Doug and Cheri DeVos, had agreed to give Theranos $100 million “on the spot.”)
Lisa Peterson, the individual tasked with managing RDV’s private equity investments, took the stand this week to testify against Holmes, who is being charged with wire fraud, and to explain how the DeVos family became financially entangled with Theranos in the first place. When Peterson’s lack of due diligence came under fire, she reportedly became annoyed—but admitted that they did not hire any medical or regulatory experts because “we didn’t think we needed it.”
Peterson acknowledges that the DeVos family investment firm never hired regulatory experts, counsel, or medical experts in the due diligence process, b/c “we didn’t think we needed it.” She keeps interrupting Holmes attorney Lance Wade’s questions and talking over him.
— Dorothy Atkins (@doratki) October 26, 2021
Given the family’s estimated net worth of more than $5 billion, the loss of $100 million isn’t likely causing much loss of sleep in the DeVos household. But for those of us who had to watch as the out-of-touch billionaire made one terrible decision after the other during her four years as education secretary, there’s admittedly a small sense of satisfaction. After all, this is the woman whose most notable achievements included attempting to privatize public schools, pushing for more guns in schools… because of bears, proposing to cut funding to students with special needs, and—the cherry on top—making it easier for college students to get away with raping their classmates.
(Via Daily Beast)