I was working on a quick RHONJ blog round-up, that I will still publish, but I suddenly realized that I needed a whole post just for Amber. I’ve received a some information over the past few days that I was not sure I was going to use, and if I was how I was going to use it. It happens a lot. I read something interesting but don’t always feel compelled to share everything here. After reading the first page of Amber’s blog I thought I should flesh out a few things that she is not sharing. And since it was the focus of a New York Times article or two, I’ve decided to fill you guys in. So, it’s tea time at Tamaratattles.com !
Amber’s blog begins with her giving A LOT of background on her life. She mentions that she is the step-mother to their two oldest boys. It’s unclear whether they have full-time custody. Jim has previously attempted to get custody but failed. Amber says that she and Jim have been married for eight years. She does not mention Jim’s shady past. But I will!
First, it’s math time again! Amber’s blog says her stepson, Michael, is 14 so he was likely born in 2000 and Sebastian age 11 was likely born in 2003 give or take a few months. Back in 2002, Jim Marchese was living in Seattle, Washington married to his former wife. He worked for a company called Cell Therapeutics. It was a pharmaceutical company that was marketing a cancer drug for a very rare form of cancer, affecting only 1,500 patients per year. That small market would not provide any profits for a drug company to be motivated to create a drug.
Cell Therapeutics fired Jim in 2002 alleging he was taking kickbacks from physicians. Jim has denied any wrong doing . A few months later, Jim went to the FDA to “blow the whistle” on Cell Therapeutics claiming that the company was illegally promoting the drug as a viable treatment for more commonly occurring forms of cancer than the tiny population the FDA had approved the drug to treat. Basically, they were alleged to have paid doctors bogus consulting fees to attend seminars encouraging them to use the drug for “off label” purposes.
Now, the deal with these big whistleblower lawsuits is that the person who brings the goods, in this case Jim, gets a cut of the fines levied against the company. The whistleblower usually gets between 15% and 25% of the award by the court. Jim stood to gain $2.8 million dollars.
But that all sort of fell apart when prosecutors determined that Jim was the mastermind of the entire scheme he reported to the FDA! You can read the entire NYT article here, but here is the juicy part.
Prosecutors contend Mr. Marchese engineered a complex scheme that misled oncologists and Medicare into believing that Trisenox had been approved for treating cancers other than A.P.L. Mr. Marchese said that if he did anything wrong, it was an innocent mistake. (Editor’s note, sounds just like Teresa and Joe!)
To make matter worse, prosecutors say, Mr. Marchese destroyed and hid evidence to conceal his role.
A main witness against him is a former girlfriend. She told prosecutors that she accompanied Mr. Marchese in 2004 to a storage warehouse in New Jersey to retrieve company documents for his planned whistle-blower lawsuit against Cell Therapeutics. But she said he told her that he needed to cull the files and destroy materials that would implicate him, filings show. (Editor’s note: Who needs a storage unit to house files from work?)
There is also the issue of an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Marchese, “The Heart of the Matter.” The salesman’s former girlfriend, who is not identified by name in filings, has told prosecutors that she read and helped edit the manuscript, which she says details Mr. Marchese’s days at Cell Therapeutics, including his “successful efforts to illegally market Trisenox.”
For this reason the prosecutors said that he did not deserve any compensation for providing all of the necessary documents to implicate Cell Therapeutics at all. According to the NYT article, this is Jim’s reasoning for being paid.
Mr. Marchese said he had paid a high personal price for talking to the government, including being blackballed from the drug industry.
“I’ve lost six years of my life, my job, my home,” he said. “It has destroyed my marriage and made my life hell.”
When I initially investigated this story, I read that the court, in 2007 awarded him $1.8 million dollars. According to Amber’s blog she had been married to Jim for eight years, placing their wedding at 2006. Jim’s whistleblowing case began in 2002 which means he had been expecting a big pay out since then. Ahem.
One more fun fact about Jim, his cousin is Lori- Ann Marchese one of the wingnuts on Game of Crowns. This tidbit was shared by Dina on WWHL who gave the distinct impression she is NOT found of Jim.
So make of that what you will. Now back to the blog, which isn’t anywhere as interesting as the above.
Here is what Amber had to say about her mean comments about Melissa:
The comment that I made about Melissa “going about success a different way than me by marrying wealth” was not a fair statement, and I want to apologize to Melissa. That comment sounds like I was referring to her a “gold digger.” I do not believe that in any way. Melissa is a college graduate and has always been a hard worker. She always had her head on straight and worked hard for goals. I think this is one of the reasons we got along so well, we had a mutual respect for one another. What I failed to articulate with that comment is that she dreamed of getting married and having a family early on in her life. She aspired early on to be an amazing wife and mother that she truly is today. I am proud of her.
And about TwinTre:
As for the twins, I do care for them, so it hurts to hear Teresa and Rino make such nasty comments about my party and family. The twins were aware of the importance of the party and that it was meant to be an intimate evening. I tried to accommodate them the best we could when they wanted to invite thirty additional guests to my party just one week prior, but clearly that did not seem to make them happy. To hear TA-RE-SA refer to my child as a “little fucking kid” as she left just tore me up. She knows my children; my daughter absolutely adores them both. It was hurtful to hear her say that. A simple rule of etiquette: when a young gentleman, regardless of age, properly greets you at the door, offers to take your shawl and escorts you into a room of guests, you do not refer to him as a “little fucking kid.” For the record, she was referring to my 7 year old son and he properly put her shawl in the closet next to the front entrance.
And about TwinTre’s drunk husband Rino:
As for Rino, I am not really interested in his opinions of my party. I don’t sit here insulting his restaurants. He was a guest at a very meaningful event for me and my family, but he clearly did not care. It was apparent Rino cannot hold his alcohol. He was so drunk that he was making my dog extremely nervous and slurred something about Bugs Bunny and funerals. Sorry, Rino, our party did not meet your expectations.
Sidenote: Thank god drunk people don’t make Banjo nervous! :)
And Dina’s comments about her party:
Speaking of Dina, I got a good vibe from her. She seems nice and I love what she does to help children with cancer. She gets an “A” in my books. Side note, did she really mean to comment about the snowy walkway after showing up three hours after the party started? We had cleared and salted ten times over by that point. Anyway, she seems nice enough, but only time will tell.
Whether or not we like Amber, I think we can agree there will be A LOT to talk about! So let’s get started!