America’s Frontline Doctors (AFLDS), an organization of doctors providing independent information from the world’s top experts in medicine and law, is facing internal controversy regarding the rightful leadership of the organization, which has resulted in a lawsuit being filed against the organization’s founder, Dr. Simone Gold.
Joseph Gilbert, who was appointed as AFLDS Chairman of the Board, Chief Operating Officer, and Director of Strategy after Gold was sentenced to 60 days in prison as a part of the January 6 investigation, is a plaintiff in the lawsuit, along with AFLDS and Free Speech Foundation. The plaintiffs allege that the defendant, Gold, spent millions of dollars of funds raised that were meant to support actions taken by AFLDS.
According to the lawsuit, money raised by AFLDS was meant to be spent “exclusively for charitable purposes,” and “to perform, every act or acts necessary, incidental to or connected with the furtherance of its charitable, scientific, literary, religious, and educational purposes, with a focus on educating the public on the enduring importance of the Bill of Rights to America’s history and civic traditions.”
The lawsuit requests “immediate injunctive relief,” which would require Gold to return control of AFLDS resources seized (including email, bank systems, etc.) to the Board of Directors, restrict Gold from using AFLDS finances for personal reasons, and more.
Gold purchased, the lawsuit states, a $3.6 million home in Naples, Florida without authorization from the Board of Directors. She now resides in this home rent free along with former AFLDS employee, John Strand. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that Gold purchased three vehicles with the AFLDS funds, including a Mercedes Benz Sprinter van, a Hyundai Genesis, and a GMC Denali.
In addition to the extravagant purchases, Gold also allegedly spent monthly amounts of $12,000 on a personal security officer and $5,600 on a personal housekeeper, plus other personal items placed on credit cards belonging to AFLDS in the amount of “nearly $50,000 per month.” Gold is also accused of using AFLDS monies to purchase two private plane flights at least twice, with one of the instances exceeding $100,000.
Aside from her own spending, the lawsuit claims that Strand, with whom Gold was living, also had access to the AFLDS credit cards and that he spent between $15,000 and $17,000 per month.
Gold resigned, the lawsuit says, on February 2, 2022 so that “she could devote time and energy to her vision of opening health and wellness centers nation-wide.” At that time, “the Board unanimously voted to accept Gold’s resignation, voted Mr. Gilbert into the Chairman position, Amy Landau as the Executive Director, and the remaining board members as Jurgen
Matthesius, and Richard Mack.” Gold was kept on as a contractor with the intent of her serving as “the face” of AFLDS. She was awarded a $1.5 million signing bonus and a $50,000 monthly consulting fee.
Despite the separation, Gold began using AFLDS employees for work at her for-profit company, GoldCare Marketing Services LLC, “allowing AFLDS to pay their salaries despite doing little to no work for AFLD.”
Gold was sentenced to 60 days in prison for her January 6 involvement on June 22, 2022, and was released from her time served on September 9, 2022. During her time behind bars, the Board claims that they started finding misdeeds done by Gold, resulting in the hiring of a forensic auditor, the completion of a compensation study, and a complete financial audit by a third party.
In October, the plaintiffs say that Gold put herself back in the role of Chairman and President of AFLDS, without any authorization from the board, signing letters in this fashion but not having legal authority to do so. She also began peddling lies about Gilbert, the lawsuit says, telling potential donors that he has been engaging in “financial improprieties, ethical violations, and corruption.”
Gold told AFLDS’ treasurer to not “abide by directions from the Board of Directors regarding funds or the entity’s bank accounts and payments,” and seized control of “electronic mail, website domain name systems (‘DNS’), and other electronic databases,” and also locked some employees out of the systems.
Aside from returning control to the Board, the lawsuit also requests that Gold be ordered to stop making statements against Gilbert, and that she stop presenting herself as a “representative, employee, officer, and director of AFLDS.”
The lawsuit was filed in Florida and demands a trial by jury.
Despite the lawsuit claims, a press release was issued on AFLDS letterhead on November 3 (the day before the lawsuit was filed), stating that Dr. Gold was “reaffirming” her “leadership role as Founder, President, and Board Chairman of AFLDS.” The press release claims that Gold and the Board had discussed her stepping down from her role prior to her “hyper-partisan political incarceration,” but that the move was never legally made.
On Gilbert, AFLDS’s press release quoted Gold as saying, “It is with great sadness that I must announce that Mr. Gilbert has repeatedly acted unethically, exhibiting a clear pattern of inappropriate and damaging behavior…including numerous instances of self-dealing and threats made to employees of financial retaliation and termination if they failed to comply with his demands.”
The release goes on to say that AFLDS will again be put through an internal audit and investigation, reviewing “financial records and board actions taken while Gold was indisposed in prison.”
Dr. Gold has not returned a request for comment on the lawsuit at the time of this writing.