Dr. Helmut Prahl says that his
non-FDA approved pills stop the progression of PLS.
Are his claims true?
Find out. Read my letter to him by scrolling down.
(Find out more by seeing the on-going discussion about Dr. Prahl's pills at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PLS-Rumble.)
Mark Weber, Esq.
95 Campion Road
North Andover, MA 01845-1231
An Open Letter To:
Helmut F. Prahl, Ph.D.
Post Office Box 404
Bokeelia, FL 33922
Dear Dr. Prahl:
For a very short time, you brought me hope--hope that I could stop the progression of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) that was taking away my ability to walk, and could later take away my ability to use my arms and hands and even to talk. I contacted you in the summer of 1997, after I was first diagnosed with PLS. You told me that you had invented a drug, that you called "C-3036". You said that your drug stopped the progression of PLS, but would not reverse the damage already done.
You told me that you were listed in American Men and Women of Science, and that I could read about you there. You told me that you had not obtained approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the drug because you did not have the millions of dollars necessary to do the testing that they required. You added that there are not enough PLS patients in the world to comprise the sample size required by the FDA to do such a study.
You told me to send you $340 in cash to a Post Office box in Wisconsin. You would mail me the drugs in several weeks.
I am an attorney. I prosecuted criminals for eleven years. The last five years of my career, I prosecuted white-collar fraud in the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.
Bright red fraud flags went up in my mind when you told me how to pay for your drug. Few legitimate mail-order businesses refuse credit cards, and none accept cash only. I wondered whether you wanted to avoid a paper trail linking you to the C-3036, or increasing your reportable income, or both.
I ignored the red fraud flags. I was desperate. Traditional medicine offered me no hope, and a depressing prognosis. I prepared to go to my bank's nearest cash machine to obtain the $340 cash.
First I told my wife where I was going. She stopped me.
My wife is a physician. We talked about your drug and what you had told me. After much discussion over a lengthy period I ultimately decided not to buy your drug. I did nothing more.
A year later, I attempted to raise money for PLS research through the National Organization of Rare Disorders (NORD). I planned on sending a letter soliciting donations for NORD's PLS Research Fund to all PLS patients, caregivers and physicians that I could find.
I asked Frank Levy for his PLS Newsletter mailing list since he had previously told me that he would give me the names whenever I wanted them.
He asked why I wanted them.
I told him.
He initially said yes. He called me back later and said no.
I was ultimately able to convince him to put a notice in the PLS Newsletter requesting that donations for PLS research be sent to the PLS Research Fund at NORD.
Shortly thereafter, I received your letter of October 9, 1998. ( Enclosure 1). You stated that there was no need to do any PLS research--you had done all that needed to be done. "Any such research would most likely be misplaced. Not only would it almost certainly be duplicative of my own work over the past thirty-plus years, it is quite unnecessary." ( Enclosure 1, letter, page 1.)
You wrote in your concluding remarks, "Why are you calling for research funds, when further research is clearly the last thing that is needed?" (Enclosure 1, page 4)
It is one thing to try to create false hope. It is another to try to stop real research to find the cause and real cure of PLS--our only real hope.
At that point, I decided to investigate you. Were you everything that you said you were? Had you really been researching the cause of PLS? Most importantly, had you really found a drug that stopped its progression?
My findings follow. First I will compare your claims about your background to what I found. Then I will discuss your drugs. Lastly, I will summarize my conclusions.
I. MY FINDINGS ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND
A. You Claim To Be A "Molecular Neurobiologist" Who Has Been Researching PLS Since 1967
You stated in your letter to me ( enclosure 1, page 1) that:
Based on your statements about your background, I expected that you had a doctorate in neurobiology, and that your doctoral dissertation was in the field of molecular neurobiology. I further expected your work since graduate school to be in the field of molecular neurobiology. Was I in for a surprise!
B. You Have No Education As A Molecular Neurobiologist
You told me that you were listed in American Men and Women of Science. I checked. A copy of your entries from the following sources is enclosed (enclosure 2):
and Women of Science, 1976;
American Men and Women of Science, 1979;
American Men and Women of Science, 1982;
American Men and Women of Science, 1986;
Who's Who in the South and Southwest, 1986-1987;
Who's Who in Technology Today, 1982;
Who's Who in Technology Today, 1984;
Who's Who in Technology, 1989; and
American Men and Women of Science, 1990.
Based on the information in these publications, you are a chemist--not a "molecular neurobiologist". Further, you did not receive an advanced degree in neurobiology, or even in biology.
I wondered if all of these biographical sketches were wrong--if they were never checked and approved by you.
R.R. Bowker Company, (a division of Reed Elsevier Co.) the publisher of American Men and Women of Science ((800) 521-8110), indicated that in order to be listed in American Men and Women of Science, an entrant would have to either supply the information, or verify information that R.R. Bowker had sent to them. In either case, the entrant would have to sign the entry and mail it in. Otherwise, information about a person would not be published in American Men and Women of Science.
The entries that you signed and sent to American Men and Women of Science (enclosure 2) state that you received your doctorate in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1958. The Registrar's Office at the University of Wisconsin (608-262-3785) confirmed this.
The title of your doctoral dissertation was "Novel Aldol Cyclization: Degradation and Synthesis of some Naphtho-bicyclononene Derivatives". (Reference Desk at the University of Wisconsin's Science Library (608) 262-3785.) This is hardly the work of a molecular neurobiologist--but clearly the work of a chemist.
So much for your education--it was in chemistry. But what about your work since graduate school? Perhaps that was in the field of molecular neurobiology.
C. Your Professional Experience Was In Fibers and Polymer (Plastics) Research and Laboratory Management--Not Molecular Neurobiology
You claimed in your biographical sketches ( enclosure 2) that after you received your doctorate, you were the head of Polypropylene Fiber at Chemstrand Research Center, in Decatur, Alabama. In 1960, you became head of Polymer Applications at the Standard Oil Company (Ohio).
In 1962 you moved on to Bjorksten Research Labs, in Madison, Wisconsin, where you were the acting director of their Organic and Polymer Chemistry Division. You climbed through the management ranks from Director to Executive Vice President, and ultimately, to the Assistant to the President in 1965.
In 1972, you left Bjorksten and became the President of Pb SCI Corp.
Starting in 1966, apparently while still at Bjorksten, you became President of Dynatron Research Corporation. A year later you also became executive director of Dynatron Research Foundation, Inc. You maintained these "Dynatron" positions through at least 1990.
D. Your Primary Professional Interest Was In Fibers--Not PLS
You claimed in your 1976 American Men and Women of Science entry that synthetic and natural fibers were your primary research interests. (Enclosure 2.) You were so interested in fibers that you were a member of only one professional organization--the Fiber Society.
Your other listed areas of research were "modification of cotton; polyolefins; polyamides; acrylics; polyureas; polyurethanes; polyesters; epoxies; films; molding resins; adhesives; plasticizers; detergents; monomers; fine chemicals; sugar derivatives; enzymes; (and) process engineering."
Curiously, you failed to mention PLS, neuromuscular disease research, or molecular neurobiology in your 1976 entry in American Men and Women of Science. ( Enclosure 2.) And your entry was sent in at least seven years (1975) after you now say that you not only began "an advanced research program in motor neurone disease, specifically PLS", but also actually financed and constructed a large laboratory "dedicated to this research" (1967). ( Enclosure1, letter, page 1.) Please help me to understand this glaring discrepancy.
In your biographical sketch in the 1979 edition of American Men and Women of Science, ( enclosure 2) you first mentioned an interest in a field connected to neurology. After listing the twenty areas of research listed two (2) paragraphs above, you added the phrase "long chain alcohols as therapy in neuropathies".
Curiously though, you made it appear that you were working on treatments for various neurological conditions, having never done any work on their underlying cause. In addition, there was no mention of PLS in your 1979 entry, and this was twelve (12) years after you claim to have financed and constructed a large laboratory "dedicated to this research" (1967). (Enclosure1, letter, page 1.)
You listed in the 1982 Who's Who in Technology Today, (enclosure 2) under "Achievements", "Development of Ultra-Long Chain Alcohols, Octacosanol, Triacontanol, Doctriacontanol (sic), Tetratriacontanol, Hexatriacontanol as a Therapy in Neuropathies, Multiple Sclerosis, Amyotrophis (sic) Lateral Sclerosis, Parkinsonism, Cerebral Palsy, Stroke, Etc."
Curiously, there was still no mention of PLS in your 1982 entry, and this was fifteen (15) years after you claim to have financed and constructed a large laboratory "dedicated to this research" (1967).
Your memberships also speak of your research interests. The only organizations you ever listed in your biographical sketches during the period 1976 -1990 were the "Fiber Society" and the "Plant Growth Regulator Society of America". (Enclosure 2.) (There is a connection between plant growth regulators and your PLS drugs. More on that later.) I can't understand why you are not a member of any professional organization concerned with molecular neurobiology, neuromuscular disease or medicine. Please explain.
E. You Published Several Articles--But None on PLS
You stated that you had two (2) articles published by 1982. ( Enclosure 2: Who's Who in Technology, 1982 edition.) Yet two years later you claimed to have thirty-three (33) articles published, primarily in the field of polymers (plastics). ( Enclosure 2: Who's Who in Technology Today, 1984 edition.)
The following is a list of all of your published articles that I found. (I found three.)
Bjorksten, Johan, Andrews, Fred A., and Prahl, Helmut F., Anhydrous hydrogen fluoride as a tool in studying crosslinkages in proteinaceous substances accumulating with age, (Bjorksten Research Foundation, Madison, WI), Finska Kemistsamfundets Meddelanden, 71, 69-76 (1962).
Prahl, Helmut F., Henry Tovey, and Chester E. Underwood, (Bjorksten Research Labs, Madison, WI) Short Investigation of Grafting as a method for Improving Abrasion resistance of cross-linked cotton, Textile Research Journal, 36(3), 245-250 (1966).
(Chemical Abstracts is the world's largest chemistry database. It contains citations from more than 8,000 journals, patents, technical reports, books, conference proceedings, and dissertations from around the world. It goes back to 1907. Chemical Abstracts is available on-line and on paper at major science libraries--usually at colleges. For information about Chemical Abstracts (but not access) see http://www.cas.org/.)
(Medline is a database maintained by the National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine. It contains citations from over 4,000 biomedical journals published in the United States and some 70 other countries. It goes back to 1966. It is available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov:80/entrez/query.fcgi?db=PubMed.)
Please supply me with a list of citations of your other thirty (30) publications that you must have written between 1982 and 1983.
Strangely, your published work is not about PLS or any other neuromuscular disease. Please explain.
F. You Obtained Six (6) Patents--But None On PLS
Prahl, Helmut F., Dyeable Polypropylene-stearic Acid Fiber Blends, U.S.Patent 3,231,530, Applied: July 6, 1962, Granted: January 25, 1966, sold to Monsanto Co.
Tovey Henry, Prahl, Helmut F., Hart, Frederick M. (Cotton Producers Institute), Grafting of Cellulosic Fabrics and Treatment with Thermosetting Resins, U.S. Patent 3,434,870, Applied: February 17, 1965, Granted: March 25, 1969.
Prahl, Helmut F., Plastic Radiation: Attenuating and Sound-insulating Compositions Containing Thixotropic Agents, U.S. Patent 3,438,903, Applied: March 22, 1967, Granted: April 15, 1969.
Prahl, Helmut F., Hart, Frederick M. (Dept. of Agriculture and Inspection of the State of Nebraska) Polyurethane Resins Derived from Polyoxyalkylated Arylated Carbohydrates, U.S. Patent 3,466,252, Applied: February 21, 1964, Granted: September 9, 1969.
Prahl, Helmut F. and Hart, Frederick M., (Dynatron Research Corp.) Polyolefin Modified Starch, Patent 3,704,271, Applied: October 29, 1970, Granted: November 28, 1972.
Maloney; Michael J. (Madison, WI); Prahl; Helmut F. (Madison, WI), Gasket forming process, Patent 4,746,402, Applied: April 21, 1986, Granted: May 24, 1988, Assignee: Fel-Pro Incorporated (Skokie, IL).
I cannot understand what someone is doing inventing fiber blends, resins, and a gasket forming process, when he claims to be a molecular neurobiologist who has toiled for over thirty (30) years to discover the cause and cure of PLS and other neuromuscular diseases. Your patents are so completely out of the field of molecular neurobiology. It is almost like there are two different Helmut Prahl's--the chemist and the PLS researcher. Please help me to understand this.
Incidentally, I noticed that your last patent application (on the gasket forming process) was filed on April 21, 1986--eighteen (18) years after you now claim that you started your "advanced research program in motor neurone diseases, and specifically PLS", and "constructed a 4,000+ square foot research laboratory dedicated to this research". (Enclosure 1: letter, page 1.) Did you do your work on motor neuron diseases in your spare time during those eighteen (18) years?
G. Your Dynatron Research Corp. Was Not Dedicated To PLS Research
You claimed in your biographical sketches ( enclosure 2) that you worked for a number of companies since 1967, when you claim to have begun "an advanced research program in motor neurone diseases, and specifically PLS" in your "4,000+ square foot research laboratory dedicated to this research". ( Enclosure 1, page 1.) Was it possible that one of those companies was researching neuromuscular diseases--specifically PLS?
I checked your "Dynatron" corporations, as well as Pb SCI Corp., to see if any one of them could have been dedicated to PLS research. I also checked to see if there were any other companies that you were associated with.
Dynatron Research Corp. was a contract research laboratory--much like Bjorksten Research Labs, according to Michael Mahoney, one of your former colleagues at Bjorksten in Madison, Wisconsin (608-271-6900). They both did research in whatever areas that their clients wanted them to. Although Mr. Maloney indicated that he had heard that you were somehow involved in neurological diseases, it certainly did not sound to me after talking to him that Dynatron was dedicated to the research of PLS and other neuromuscular diseases.
In fact, while working for Dynatron Research Corp., you and Frederick M. Hart obtained U.S. Patent 3,704,271, for inventing a chemical process to create polyolefin modified starch. ( Enclosure 3: Chemical Abstracts, vol. 73, 1973, 45370.) You applied for the patent on June 6, 1968, and it was granted on November 28, 1972. Your work on this invention obviously has nothing to do with molecular neurobiology, neuromuscular disease or PLS.
That Dynatron was a contract research laboratory was further confirmed in a published decision of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. You had appealed your loss of a lawsuit against the Madison (Wisconsin) Police Department. (Enclosures 4 and 5: "$2.5Million lawsuit dismissed by Torphy", Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin), December 16, 1977 (obtained from the Madison Public Library, Reference Desk's newspaper clipping file, (608) 266-6350); and Prahl v. Brosamle, 98 Wis.2d 130 (Ct. App., 1980), 295 NW2d 768.)
In the lawsuit, you alleged that your company, Dynatron Research Corp., lost "significant business"..."more than $435,000 worth of business"--as a result of the actions of the Madison Police Department's SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) team, among others. ( Enclosure 4.) Losing just under a half a million dollars worth of business does not sound like something that a medical research lab would ever claim. They lose grants, not business.
Contract research labs lose business.
The Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision on your case provides further information about your connection to the Dynatron Research Corp. The Court stated ( enclosure 5 at page 772):
Dynatron Research Corp. was clearly established as a profit-making, commercial, contract laboratory. It was clearly not dedicated to the research of PLS. And it no longer exists as a corporate entity.
H. Your Dynatron Research Foundation, Inc. Was Not Dedicated To PLS Research
You initially incorporated the Dynatron Research Foundation, Inc., in 1967. You were one of the initial directors (along with Frederick Hart and your then wife, Marian), and were its registered agent. ( Enclosure 6: Articles of Incorporation of the Dynatron Research Foundation, Inc.--obtained from the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions--(608) 261-7577.)
The purpose of the corporation was,
(Enclosure 6: Article 3 of the Articles of Incorporation.)
Further you added "medical investigations" to the Article. ( Enclosure 7.) I believe that you added these two words to make any real estate held by the Foundation tax-exempt under Wisconsin law. (More on this later.)
You could say that your work to determine the cause and cure of PLS is covered by Dynatron Research Foundation's purpose (in 1967) of "conduct(ing) research to discover and prevent the degenerative diseases"( Enclosure 6: Article 3 of the Articles of Incorporation, 1967.) You still use that language to describe the Foundation's purpose.
On November 26, 1999, you stated that the Foundation's charitable activity
was "research on degenerative diseases".
( Enclosures 8-1996, 8-1997, and 8-1998: United States Internal Revenue Service forms 990-PF from the Foundation, 1997-1999. They are publicly available from the IRS Service Center, Ogden, UT, 84201.)
But you wrote in your letter to me ( enclosure 1, page 1) that, "I have been conducting an advanced research program in motor neurone diseases, and specifically PLS, since 1967". If the Foundation is the corporation through which you did your alleged PLS research, why did you never specifically mention neuromuscular disease or PLS in the Foundation's Articles of Incorporation or in your filings with the IRS?
Whatever the Foundation does, I find it puzzling that neither you nor the Foundation has ever published any medical research in any medical journal since you began the Foundation in 1967. Why? (See Medline at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov:80/entrez/query.fcgi?db=PubMedand search for "Dynatron" and "Prahl". Medline is a database maintained by the National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine. It contains citations from over 4,000 biomedical journals published in the United States and some 70 other countries. It goes back to 1966.)
But there is something even more puzzling about the Foundation. It has spent virtually no money during at least the past six (6) years on any kind of research. It's total expenses for each fiscal year from 1993 follows:
Nothing was spent on laboratory supplies, salaries, telephone, subscriptions to the latest relevant scientific journals, or even office supplies for at least three years. (August 1, 1993 - July 31, 1999) And the amounts spent during the previous three years are hardly enough to subscribe to one medical journal, let alone fund a research project.
It appears that the Foundation has done nothing during at least the past six years, other than spending minimal amounts on "printing and publications" and maintaining its tax-exempt status with the IRS. (More on this latter.)
You supposedly discovered what you call PLS "type 2" in 1996. (PLS Newsletter, Winter, 1996. See also "Age at First Symptoms", PLS Newsletter, Winter, 1998-1999.) You could not possibly have done it without incurring any expenses other than "printing and publications". Assuming your 990-PF tax returns to be true, your alleged work could not have been done through the Foundation.
Incidentally, the Foundation no longer exists as a corporate entity. It was dissolved by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions for failing to file a brief annual report. It had never filed one. (Division of Corporate and Consumer Services, Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (608) 261-7577.))
I. Your Dynatron Research Institute, Inc. Was Not Dedicated To PLS Research
You initially incorporated the Dynatron Research Institute, Inc. (the "Institute"), were one of the initial directors (along with Frederick Hart, and your then wife, Miriam Prahl), and were its registered agent. ( Enclosure 9: Articles of Incorporation of the Dynatron Research Institute, Inc., obtained from the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions--(608) 261-7577.)
The purpose of the Institute was exactly the same as that of the Foundation (enclosure 9, Article 3)
The Institute has no federal tax-exempt status. It, like the Research Corp. and the Foundation, was dissolved for failing to file an annual report. (Division of Corporate and Consumer Services, Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (608) 261-7577.) I found no evidence that the Institute ever functioned.
J. Did Your Pb SCI Corp. Ever Exist?
You claimed that you were President of Pb Sci Corp. beginning in 1972. (Enclosure 2: American Men and Women of Science, 1986 and 1989-1990.)
I found no information anywhere that this alleged corporation ever existed. Please tell me when and where it operated. Who owned it and who were its officers?
K. Did Your International Nutrition Associates, Ltd. Ever Exist?
During my investigation, I obtained a bottle of C-3036 from a patient who no longer took it. The label states "Distributed by: International Nutrition Associates, Ltd., Verona, Wisconsin." ( Enclosure 10: copies of photos of a bottle of "C-3036".)
I found no information anywhere that the International Nutrition Associates, Ltd. ever existed in Verona, Wisconsin or elsewhere in Wisconsin, or in Florida (where you winter), or in any of the other forty-eight (48) states. Did it ever file Articles of Incorporation? If so, when and where? Who owned the company and who were its officers and directors?
You told me to send $340 cash to the International Nutrition Associates, Ltd. at a Post Office box in Verona, Wisconsin. The Verona Post Office is only a few miles from your Struck Road, Middleton house. (Mr. Jim Mueller, Middleton Town Hall, Middleton, Wisconsin (608) 833-5887.)
Isn't the International Nutrition Associates, Ltd. really just a fictitious company--a Post Office box close to one of your homes? (You own five (5) houses, two (2) of which are on islands. Specifically, you own a waterfront home on the island of Bokeelia, off the coast of Florida; a house and an undeveloped parcel of land in Washington Island, Wisconsin; a house near a lake in Tavares, Florida, near Orlando; a log house in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin; a house on the Struck Road/Watts Road property in the Town of Middleton, Wisconsin (owned in the name of the Dynatron Research Foundation, Inc.); and property in Madison, Wisconsin; according to http://220.127.116.11/lio/lio_home_page.htm-- do a "parcel search" using the names "Prahl" and "Dynatron"-- http://www.knowx.com, http://maps.yahoo.com/py/maps.py.and property tax records at Egg Harbor Village Hall (920) 868-3334, Middleton Town Hall (608) 833-5887, and Washington Island Town Hall (920) 847-2522.
L. You Were A Licensed Real Estate Broker
One year after you left Bjorksten Research Labs (in 1972), you became a licensed real estate broker. You renewed your real estate brokers license on several occasions. It finally expired at the end of 1996. (Wisconsin Regulation and Licensing Department. ((608) 266-2112.) The date of birth on the real estate brokers license for Helmut Prahl matched yours--October 16, 1933.
You went to school for forty-five (45) hours and passed two exams--a real estate sales exam, and later a real estate brokers exam--before obtaining your brokers license. (Wisconsin Direct Licensing and Real Estate Bureau (608) 266-5439.) Your company's name and address were PH Realty, P.O. Box 44098, Madison, WI. --the same address as the one on your tax returns to the IRS for the Dynatron Research Foundation, Inc. (Enclosures 8-1996, 8-1997, and 8-1998: IRS form 990-PF for tax years 1997-1999.)
According to the Appeals Court's decision in Prahl v. Brosamle, (enclosure 5) you were actually planning a real estate development sometime between 1975 and 1977--eight to ten years after you say that you started your "advanced research program in motor neurone diseases, and specifically PLS". ( Enclosure 1: letter, page 1.)
Why would a chemist, who calls himself a molecular neurobiologist and says that he has been researching the cause and cure of PLS and other neuromuscular diseases since 1967, obtain a real estate brokers license, start-up a real estate company, and plan a real estate development?
Did your responsibilities as a licensed real estate broker, a real estate developer, a chemist, and an executive with two (2) contract research laboratories leave you with any time for molecular neurobiological research? If so, when did you have time for sailing, amateur astronomy and photography--the hobbies that you listed in the 20th edition of Who's Who in the South and Southwest, 1986-1987 edition ( Enclosure 2)?
M. Why Have You Failed to Pay Your Real Estate Taxes?
Although you have never filed annual reports for the Dynatron Research Foundation, Inc. (the "Foundation") with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, and the corporation was involuntarily dissolved as a result, you still file form 990-PF's for the Foundation with the U.S. IRS every year. I may know why.
Back in the 1960's, you owned a large house on a six-acre lot on the corner of Struck Road and Watts Road, in Middleton, Wisconsin (a town within Madison). (You sometimes use the Watts Road address (6510 Watts Road) instead of the Struck Road address.) The house also contained your laboratory.
In 1968, you sold the entire property for one dollar ($1.00) to the Foundation--the Foundation that you control as the executive director. (Enclosure 11--Deed from Helmut Prahl to the Foundation)
Since the Foundation is tax-exempt, it pays no real estate taxes on this property. (This was verified by Mr. Jim Mueller at the Town Offices of Middleton, Wisconsin (608) 833-5887.) You've used the Foundation's tax-exempt status with the IRS to escape paying real estate taxes on your own house.
But to lawfully be exempt from real estate taxes in Wisconsin, the property must be used "exclusively for the purposes of: medical and surgical research the knowledge derived from which is applied to cures, prevention, relief and therapy of human diseases" (Wisconsin Statutes, Chapter 70.11 (25))(Emphasis added.)
This is why I think you added the words "medical investigations" to the Foundation's Articles of Incorporation back in 1968. (Enclosure 6) You could then argue that the Foundation qualifies for a property tax exemption.
But your house has not been used "exclusively" for medical research--assuming that any part of it was ever used for such a purpose. You used your house as your residence. Further, it contained the laboratory of your for-profit business--the Dynatron Research Corp. The only part of the Foundation that it supposedly contained were its "offices". (See Enclosure 5: Prahl v. Brosamle, 98 Wis.2d 130 (Ct. App., 1980), 295 NW2d 768 at page 772.)
I'll bet that you have saved a tidy sum of money by failing to pay real estate taxes during the thirty-three (33) years since 1968 when you "sold" the property to the Foundation that you control.
But your reason for deserving the real estate tax exemption this year hurts your story about having conducted PLS research for the past thirty-three (33) years in your 4000 square foot laboratory.
This summer, the Town of Middleton decided that your property no longer deserved the tax exemption. The property was assessed at approximately $500,000. You were ordered to pay the past three years worth of real estate taxes on it.
You conceded that there was no ongoing work of any kind, medical or otherwise, carried out on the property. This was obvious when the Assessor inspected the inside of the property. He noted that it looked as if it had not been used in an extremely long time. Indeed, on a worktable in your old lab was an opened appointment book from the mid-1970's.
You said that you used the lab once every two to three (2 - 3) years to make a batch of your compound. You did nothing more there.
You argued that the statute requiring exclusive use for medical research did not require "full-time" exclusive use. Further, "medical research" was not defined. You argued that your sporadic use of the property solely to make batches of your compound constituted "part-time" "medical research", which was enough to satisfy the tax exemption statute.
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue grudgingly agreed. (Jim Mueller, Town of Middleton, (608) 833-5887; and Jim Musser, Assessor, Town of Middleton, (608) 827-1050.)
Although you implied that you actually conducted research on the cause of PLS in your 4000 square foot laboratory, it now appears that you did nothing of the sort. You just made occasional batches of your drug there.
April 30, 2001 Update: Dr. Prahl no longer lives in the house. He ceased living in it at least three years ago.
The Middleton Assessors Office determined that Dr. Prahl had not resided in the house during the period 1998 - 2000. (They can only assess a property and charge for back taxes for the previous three years.) Had they found that Dr. Prahl was still residing there, his claim of "exclusive use" for medical research would have been defeated.
Although Dr. Prahl claimed that he resided in the house in 1975 (the year of the trial in Prahl v. Brosalme, (see enclosure 5)), I do not know how many years he continued to reside there, before he moved to his island/waterfront homes. (He lives on Washington Island and Egg Harbor, Wisconsin, and winters on the island of Bokeelia, Florida.)
O. You Concealed Information from the IRS
Incidentally, you concealed some information from the IRS on the tax returns that you prepared and signed as the Executive Director of the Foundation.
You curiously hid the fact that the Foundation owned the Struck Road/Watts Road property. ( Enclosures 8-1996, 8-1997, and 8-1998.) Instead of reporting the property as "land buildings and equipment" in part II, line 14, you put a line through the section. You listed the total assets of the Foundation as follows:
August 1, 1996 $ 4,048.87
August 1, 1997 $ 1,628.32
August 1, 1998 $ 1,617.77
July 31, 1999 $1,707.57.
(Enclosures 8-1996, 8-1997, and 8-1998: Part II, line 16 of forms 990-PF.)
The assets that you listed consisted solely of cash in a non-interest-bearing checking account.
I'm sure that you know that in order to maintain your tax-exempt status from the IRS, and to comply with the Foundation's Article's of Incorporation, you must devote all of the assets of the Foundation to educational or scientific pursuits--you can't just take them for yourself.
Did you obtain tax-exempt status for the Foundation so that you could avoid paying real estate taxes on your own house? Did you then hide the Struck Road/Watts Road property from the IRS so that you personally could eventually pocket all of the proceeds from the sale of the property?
Of course, I may be all wrong about your motives. Maybe there is an innocent explanation for making your residence and place of for-profit business tax-exempt, and for hiding information about the Foundation's major asset from the IRS. Please explain.
O. Preliminary Conclusions
At this point in my investigation, I felt that I had developed serious holes in your story. Your claim that you are a molecular neurobiologist is not true. You were a licensed real estate broker, a real estate developer, a chemist, and an executive with two (2) contract research laboratories. You also created two (2) corporations--your Dynatron Research Foundation, Inc. and your Dynatron Research Institute, Inc.--that I found no evidence ever did anything. Further, you label your drugs with the name of a corporation that does not appear to exist.
Your scientific interests were primarily in fibers, resins, and process engineering. Twenty (20) years ago--not thirty (30) as you claim--you first claimed to have developed "ultra-long chain alcohols, octacosanol, triacontanol, doctriacontanol (sic), tetratriacontanol, (and) hexatriacontanol as a therapy in neuropathies, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophis (sic) lateral sclerosis, Parkinsonism, cerebral palsy, stroke, etc." (More on this claim later.) (Enclosure 2: Who's Who in Technology, 1982; Who's Who in Technology Today, 1984; Who's Who in Technology, 1989.)
You were also interested in plant growth regulators--interested enough to become a member of the Plant Growth Regulator Society of America. You have not claimed to be a member of any professional organization concerned with molecular neurobiology, neuromuscular diseases, or even with medicine.
You have written three (3) published scientific journal articles, and hold six (6) patents. Curiously, you have published no scientific journal articles, and hold no patents about your ultra-long chain alcohols.
If you really have done research in that area, why have you both failed to publish your work and failed to protect your work with a patent?
In addition, I noticed that there was not one mention of PLS research or treatment in any of your biographical sketches. This is most revealing.
I assume that you will respond to my conclusion that you are not a molecular neurobiologist by claiming that although you had no education in the field, and were never employed in the field, and published no work in the field, and applied for no patents in the field, you nonetheless have enough experience in the field to justify the title.
But you told the Tax Assessor of the Town of Middleton that the only work that you did in your lab was to make a batch of your drugs every two to three (2 - 3) years. Obviously, making your drug, and nothing more, is not the work of a molecular neurobiologist.
I suppose you'll say that you not only make your drugs, but you also track your patients' progress on your drugs. You do this over the telephone. But this is simply not the work of a molecular neurobiologist.
You not only were never educated as a molecular neurobiologist; you never worked as one either. You have no experience as one. In short, your claim to being a molecular neurobiologist is a lie.
There are always reasons that people, especially intelligent ones, make up phony stories about their background. Perhaps you think that your claims of finding "100% efficacious drugs" ( enclosure1: letter, page 1) for PLS would be more believable if you claimed that you worked in a field concerned with PLS and other neuromuscular diseases, and had toiled in that field for many years.
Alternatively, if a person with your education in chemistry, and your work obligations as a chemist, chemistry laboratory executive, real estate broker and developer, and executive director of a "charity" could actually determine the cause of PLS and develop these drugs in his spare time, why didn't you simply claim to be who you actually are? Please help me to understand your answer to this question.
After looking at your past, the focus of my investigation began to shift. Basic common sense indicates that when someone lies about his background, there are more lies to be found. Nonetheless, although your story about your background was not true, it was remotely possible that you somehow stumbled on a drug that actually worked for PLS. I started to focus on your drugs, and whether they worked.
HERE FOR THE REST OF THE LETTER.)