Demands money back from a former business partner.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: Indian American spiritualist, physician and entrepreneur Deepak Chopra has landed himself in the middle of a legal brouhaha regarding a monetary dispute with a former business partner.
According to legal documents filed in Los Angeles state court, Chopra gave former business partner Jim Walsh $150,000 to be used for the creation of “The Consciousness Project,” a non-profit venture. Chopra allegedly wanted to create it for a study of spirituality and its ties to the human consciousness. Instead, however, Walsh allegedly used that money for his own means, specifically to cover-up some financial shortcomings in one of his other companies.
Additionally, Walsh made an informal commitment of $5 million to The Consciousness Project, a donation which would be co-funded by software company SAP. Instead, that money will most likely not come to fruition, as Walsh is now trying to keep it to himself while Chopra attempts to make Walsh honor his commitment and donate the $5 million to the cause.
Chopra’s demands in the lawsuit are that the $150,000 be returned and that Walsh cease to associate himself publicly with Chopra’s foundation. Chopra is also seeking $75,000 that he allegedly gave to Walsh for the latter’s HESA Institute, of which Chopra was seeking a stake in. The HESA Institute is an organization dedicated to finding cures for mental disorders such as autism via computer-based methods, and partners with several top-tier research institutions to further its pursuits.
Chopra apparently became aware of Walsh’s numerous failed business ventures in the past, which is what alerted the alternative medicine guru to the possibility that Walsh may be acting duplicitously with Chopra. According to the New York Post, these ventures include a chocolate company based in Hawaii and a University of Wisconsin psychology professor named Richard Davidson, who claimed that he was promised over half a million dollars by Walsh to fund a study into Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD), a promise which Walsh never fulfilled.
Chopra has been embroiled in court proceedings before, perhaps most notably in 1992, when the Journal of the American Medical Association went after Chopra for co-authoring an article about Maharishi Vedic Medicine, which JAMA claimed was written because Chopra and his co-writers had financial interests in selling the products promoted in the piece. The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
Born in New Delhi in 1947, Chopra began his career has a practicing physician and then as a teacher before devoting his life to yoga and other forms of alternative medicine. “A magnet for criticism,” according to a 2008 TIME Magazine article about him, Chopra has written over 75 books, 21 of which have appeared on the New York Times Bestsellers list.
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