As part of our work in researching the origins of Scientologist-owned GPB Capital Holdings, our previous article documented a 2002 investment Bernard Pismeny and David Gentile of the accounting firm Gentile, Pismeny & Brengel made in Dor Biopharma. The Chernaya sisters and their father Michael Cherney’s US business agent Robert Kessler also invested in Dor Biopharma. Future GPB Capital Holdings insider Evan Myrianthopoulous was the CFO and a Director at Dor Biopharma at this time. The DOR Biopharma shows us where several future key GPB figures, including CEO David Gentile, first appear together in legal documents. Please contact us if you have additional information.
As previously covered, Jeffry Schneider states that he and David Gentile met in 2007:
Where was Jeffry Schneider working in 2007? The evidence shows he was working for four separate companies. When Schneider was with Hunter Biden’s firm Paradigm Global Advisers in 2007, he was also operating his own company called Onyx Capital from inside of Paradigm’s offices. His FINRA Broker Check further also places him at J.P.R. Capital Corp. and Puritan Securities in 2007.
An SEC Pause Alert informs that J.P.R. Capital Corp. was terminated in 2007 following 15 regulatory events. Schneider’s name is not mentioned in the SEC document describing the regulatory events. Schneider had his finger in many pies in 2007. The answer to the question of where Schneider and Gentile is still to be determined. Gentile was working as a CPA at Gentile, Pismeny & Brengel.
We pause here to note here that Jeffry Schneider’s current LinkedIn page now lists only his present job as Managing Director of Capital Markets at Divine Capital Markets, a firm at which he previously worked from 2012-2013 during the GPB Capital Holdings ramp up.
Like other GPB Capital Holdings alumni, Schneider has purged his resume to erase any ties to anything having to do with GPB Capital Holdings. Oddly, Schnieder has even purged his LinkedIn page of any mention of his employment at Mark Martino’s GPB-connected Ascendant Alternative Strategies, LLC where Schneider’s FINRA Broker Check places him at present. Schneider’s name and photo are shown on Ascendant’s website as a founding principal.
Jeffry Schneider also worked at Axiom Capital Management from 2002-2004. He went back to work at Axiom in its Austin office from 2013-2017. Axiom has become an “as named” in a lawsuit against GPB Capital Holdings: “Through Axiom’s Austin, Texas branch (Ascendant), Axiom acted as the primary distribution partner of GPB from 2013 through at least 2016. During that time period, Axiom materially participated in the preparation and dissemination of the GPB Offering Materials and subsequent communications distributed to Plaintiff and other Class members.”
THE CAR GUYS
The earliest beginnings of what would become GPB Automotive Portfolio LP came about with a group of three holding companies that were all named DJD. From the New York Secretary of State Business Entity Search:
April 3, 2009: DJD Holdings is formed in New York. Patrick Dibre is the agent of service.
March 15, 2010: DJD Holdings 1, LLC is formed in New York. Danielle Lash is the agent of service.
September 16, 2011: DJD Holdings 2 is formed in New York. Jeffrey Lash is the agent of service.
Both Dibre and Lash would later become involved in litigation with GPB Capital. After being sued by GPB Capital, Dibre became the first to cross the line and publicly allege in his counterclaim that GPB Capital is a Ponzi scheme.
February 13, 2012: Volkswagen of America and Jeffrey Lash enter into a dealership agreement for Lash to operate Volkswagen Oneonta in Oneonta, New York. Scroll down to the bottom of this article to read the dealership contract which was entered into the record in a 2015 court case.
The dealership contract details the chain of ownership from DJD Holdings 2 LLC to the Chernaya sisters. David Gentile and Robert Kessler are included in the chain of ownership. The Chernaya money enters at this juncture. Of note is the fact that the Chernaya sisters control 100% of the Class A voting shares in the chain of ownership and therefore effectively own and control Volkswagen Oneonta.
As has been widely reported, recent disclosures by whistleblower Toni Caiazzo Neff revealed ties between GPB Capital Holdings and money from purported Ukrainian-Israeli mobster Michael Cherney via his daughters Rina and Diana Chernaya. We showed the relationship between David Gentile and the Chernaya sisters going back to at least October 30, 2012 when the three partners invested in an Irish online gaming company called SeanieMac through their entity RDRD Holding II.
March 15, 2012: Jeffry Schneider forms Ascendant Capital LLC in Austin, Texas. Ascendant becomes part of the GPB Capital Holdings scheme.
March 19, 2013: Scientologist David Gentile incorporates GPB Capital Holdings LLC in Delaware. Scientologist Manuel Vianna becomes a Managing Director.
May 13, 2013: GPB LLC was formed as an LLC in Delaware.
May 14, 2013: GPB LLC changes its name to GPB Holdings Automotive, LLC. The pieces are now in place for GPB Automotive to begin raising money in the private equity market.
June 10, 2013: David Gentile files an SEC Form D to raise $50,000,000 for GPB Automotive Portfolio, LP. Axiom Capital Management, Inc. is designated as the Broker-Dealer for all 50 US States. Minimum investment is $100,000. Jeffry Schneider is an Axiom Capital alumnus so it could be that he set this arrangement up with Axiom boss Liam Dalton.
August 27, 2013: David Gentile, Robert Kessler, Frank Robert, Sal Naro, and Brian Lisi file an SEC Form D (Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities) for a Delaware LLC they have formed called Qello Holdings LLC. The date of first sale is shown as August 15, 2013.
Scroll down to see the Qello Form D. Sal Naro was a partner in Sailfish Capital Partners, a firm that had $4 billion under management — $2 billion of which were hedge fund assets — until the firm was shuttered in the nightmare year of 2008. In 2012, Naro launched Coherence Capital Partners LLC. We mention Qello here to indicate that David Gentile and Michael Cherney’s US agent Robert Kessler have been working together since at least 2012.
That David Gentile was working with people like Sal Naro in 2012 shows his apparent depth of reach into NYC financial circles. Alternately, however, Jeffry Schneider or Robert Kessler could have made the introductions.
Gentile’s participation in the OTT streaming service Qello appears to have laid the basis for GPB Capital Holdings 2016 acquisition of Deep Blue Communications. When GPB sold Deep Blue to Comcast in 2019, it sold a great asset and made money doing so. This begs the question of why GPB sold such a strong tech company in its portfolio as opposed to, say, a few car dealerships. It appears that none of GPB Capital Holdings investors received any distributions from the lucrative profits GPB earned from the sale of Deep Blue Communications.
We move to a seemingly disrelated company. However, it is related to the GPB Capital Holdings story via Manuel Vianna:
May 10, 2012: Scientologist Manuel Vianna is appointed Chief Operating Officer at Okyanos Heart Institute in the Bahamas. Vianna co-founded Okyanos with his fellow Scientologist Matt Feshbach. While Vianna will later become the Managing Director of GPB Capital Holdings, there is an overlap during which he is working at both Okyanos and GPB Capital Holdings. During this period he is also listed as a Director of the Suncoast Rehabilitation Center, a Scientology Narconon drug treatment center in Florida.
2014: Okyanos announces that it has raised $8.9 million in funding for a total of $14 million in funding. The $8.9 million came from Mudhar and Ali Shawkat’s Passion Trust. The father and son team brought $140 million out of Iraq as reported on in the Panama Papers. Mudhar Shawkat was a former Member of Parliament of Iraq. The provenance of the money was such that Appleby’s of London initially refused to accept it. See our previous article: Billionaire Bob Duggan, the Panama Papers, and the Scientology Money Club. The Shawkat money shows ties to Amman, Jordan; Beirut, Lebanon; and the British Virgin Islands. Additionally, Shawkat money is tied to Scientologist Bob Duggan’s Hong Kong firm Genuine First Aid International Ltd., a firm managed by wealthy Scientologist and former Sea Org member Michael Holstein:
According to Kirsti Wachter’s site which tracks Scientology service completions published by the Church, Ali Shawkat became a Scientologist in 2009. He reached the level of OT III in 2013 and remained active through at least 2015. Ali Shawkat and his wife Noor appeared in the pages of a Scientology magazine after donating $5,000,000 to the Church:
The point we make here is that Scientologists Matt Feshbach and Manuel Vianna were working with Iraqi money at the same time Scientologist David Gentile was working with money tied to the purported Russian mobster Michael Cherney. Additionally, the Shawkat money was associated via Hong Kong with Scientologists Bob Duggan and Michael Holstein. Billionaire Bob Duggan is the largest single donor to the Church of Scientology; he has donated at least $360 million as of 2019.
As we previously reported in 2016, after only two years of operation Feshbach and Vianna sold Okyanos to Thorn Medical in the UK. A press release of April 21, 2016 announced the sale of Okyanos. No explanation was provided.
A May 9, 2016 press release added amplifying details about Thorn Medical’s acquisition of Okyanos:
British-based Thorn Medical Plc has acquired Grand Bahama’s Okyanos stem cell facility, and says plans to expand the clinic’s services will make it one of the world’s leading centres – attracting investment and boosting The Bahamas’ medical tourism industry.
Quizzically, Thorn Medical quickly suddenly went out of business in August of 2017. As reported by REDD-Monitor:
REDD-Monitor next reported on June 15, 2017 that a company called Teknisity had purchased Thorn Medical Inc. In his article, Chris Lang of REDD-Monitor went into detail about how strange this all seemed. The article is well worth reading. Lang’s expert research led him to discover that both Thorn and Teknisity appeared to be operated by the same people at the same address.
Why were Scientologists Feshbach, Vianna, and Shawkat in such a hurry to sell Okyanos to dubious firms in the UK?
While these strange events were transpiring, a July 25, 2017 press release announced that Okaynos had been acquired by Black Beret Life Sciences LLC:
Black Beret Life Sciences LLC Leads Acquisition of Okyanos Center for Regenerative Medicine — Houston-Based Life Sciences Firm Adds Bahamas Adult Stem Cell Therapy Company to Portfolio
HOUSTON, July 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Black Beret Life Sciences LLC has finalized the acquisition of Okyanos Operating Company, Ltd., a state-of-the-art adult stem cell and regenerative medicine center based in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
Ali Shawkat’s involvement in Scientology seemed to diminish after the sale of Okyanos. In this same time frame, the US Tax Court refused to allow Matt Feshbach to discharge $3.5 million in back taxes in his bankruptcy. The IRS is now seeking to collect those back taxes. Undeterred by the ups and downs of life, Matt Feshbach started his own stem cell company in Texas in 2017. His financial backers are unknown.
Manuel Vianna was firmly entrenched in GPB Capital Holdings as Managing Director in 2017 while Okyanos was being sold. Indeed, GPB entered the healthcare industry even as Feshbach and Vianna were exiting the stem cell business. From a 2017 press release in which Vianna is quoted:
NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — GPB Capital has established a presence in the healthcare industry through acquisitions of four physical therapy center operators: Back in Motion, Rehab Access, Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, and Whatcom Physical Therapy…
“We are grateful to be able to collaborate with Back in Motion, Rehab Access, Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, and Whatcom Physical Therapy—through a unique acquisition structure—to empower these established physical therapy practices with the financial and strategic resources they need to continue to grow,” said Manuel Frederico Vianna, Managing Partner with GPB Capital. “This opportunity to help both physical therapy practitioners and patients in four different states is the ideal way for us to enter and increase our market share in a new sector.”
We don’t know how deep down this Scientologist-connected rabbit hole goes. However, we will keep following it. Many people ask us why the Feds haven’t stepped in and moved against GPB Capital Holdings. That is the exact same question we ask.
The dealership contract between Volkswagen of America and Jeffrey Lash. Note: Hover your cursor over the document to invoke the page up/page down controls at the bottom of the page frame.Lash.VW.Ownership.Chernayas.Kessler.2012
Qello Holdings Form D:Qello.2013.SEC FORM D
Categories: The Scientology Money Project