KPCC News is reporting that the two Los Angeles brothers behind the controversial 1-800 GET THIN surgery centers are soliciting donations to a nonprofit charity they formed “in order to put an end to a social injustice they feel cannot stand.” Dr. Michael Omidi and his brother, Julian, a former physician whose license was stripped by the California Medical Board, say on the No More Poverty website that the charity supports Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills and New-York based Hadassah, but officials of those groups say they have no knowledge of he Omidi brothers' charity.
A fourth organization that had been listed, ReSurge International of Mountain View, California, recently asked for its name to be removed from the No More Poverty website.
"In mid-May of this year we received a donation from Dr. Michael Omidi as an individual and the next we heard was about six weeks later when the No More Poverty foundation called us and asked if they could be added to our website as a donor," says Susan Hayes, the president and CEO of the 43-year-old organization. ReSurge International provides free reconstructive surgery for the poor worldwide.
Hayes says that call was followed by a voice mail message this week from someone at the organization asking if ReSurge would like to participate with No More Poverty in a nonprofit fundraising campaign.
"Before we returned that call, we got a Google alert that showed us that they had gone ahead and listed ReSurge International as a foundation partner," says Hayes. "At that same time we became aware of the publicity that had been surrounding Dr. Omidi."
The Omidi brothers are owners of 11 weight loss surgery centers affiliated with the popular 1-800-GET THIN campaign that is at the center of numerous investigations and lawsuits, KPCC says.
KPCC photo by Corey Bridwell