A billionaire and his wife have doubled down on their commitment to help residents of Idaho defend themselves against “aggressive tactics” by “medical debt collectors,” and will donate an additional $500,000 along with lobbying the Idaho state legislature to protect consumers from “unsavory practices related to medical debt,” according to a published report.
Frank and Belinda Vandersloot originally announced the creation a $500,000 fund called Idaho Medical Debt after published reports detailed what the Vandersloot’s described as “aggressive and unethical” debt collection tactics toward individuals, including those working for Melaleuca, a wellness company owned Vandersloot.
About $400,000 of the original $500,000 investment has been spent, Frank Vandersloot said. The money has been used to help individuals in 140 cases, 35 of which have been settled so far. Nearly 500 people have reached out to the fund for help, Vandersloot said.
“Most of these people have been playing defense, and in just a few weeks, many are going to go on the offensive and start suing the collection agency for their tactics,” VanderSloot said in the published report. “We’ve burned through about $400,000 of the original $500,000. We need to carry this through to fruition, and we’re going to.”
The target for most of Vandersloot’s money has been one collection agency in particular. A spokesman for the owner of the agency made this comment: “This is more laughable nonsense from Frank Vander Sloot. After $500,000 in attorneys fees, his team has won no cases and every single charge he has made here is demonstrably false. Frank’s personal vendetta is both irrational and false. Medical Recovery Services has always operated at the highest level of ethical behavior. We’ve been open and transparent about how we operate.”