publication date: Jan. 24, 2020
Conversation with The Cancer Letter
Attorney: Moffitt has made a “very irresponsible decision”—Thomas Sellers “never was a participant” in China’s Thousand Talents Program
Brandon R. Scheele
Contrary to declarations by Moffitt Cancer Center, Thomas Sellers, the institution’s ousted director, was not involved in the Thousand Talents program sponsored by the People’s Republic of China, said a Florida attorney who represents Sellers in preparing a lawsuit against the cancer center.
“What he really wants is an apology from Moffitt,” Brandon R. Scheele, the attorney, said to The Cancer Letter. “His reputation has been attacked, and without justification. So, under the circumstances, we have no choice but to file a lawsuit.”
Sellers’s complaint would seek damages for what his attorney’s characterizes as defamatory public statements made by Moffitt about his involvement with a China state-sponsored recruitment program.
“In November 2018, Dr. Sellers opened a bank account in Tianjin,” states a Moffitt report, which the institution shared Jan. 17 with the Florida legislature. “On interview, Dr. Sellers stated that $35,000 was deposited into the account, with another $35,000 to be deposited at a later date.
“Sellers disclosed his participation in the 1000 Talents Program and his Chinese bank account in August 2019, after having attended a Moffitt Compliance seminar on the topic of foreign influence on U.S. academic activities,” the report reads. “On interview, Dr. Sellers initially stated that he had not participated in a Talents program, but then changed his position when confronted with statements in … Continue reading Attorney: Moffitt has made a “very irresponsible decision”—Thomas Sellers “never was a participant” in China’s Thousand Talents Program
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