This report was published in July 2000. It should be considered outdated and is kept online for historical purposes only.

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Pioneer Profiles: George W. Bush's $100,000 Club
Name: Stephen Kass
Occupation: Ex-CEO?, Meris Laboratories, Inc.?
Industry: Health
Home: Tarzana, California
Political Contributions:
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Bush campaign contribution reports identify this Pioneer as a self-employed investor. Could this be the same Stephen B. Kass who ran a company that was charged with Medicare fraud? That Stephen B. Kass was involved in a bizarre corporate power struggle. The board of a San Jose-based medical lab company, Meris Laboratories, fired Meris’ co-founder, Chris Riedel in ’92. Riedel said his firing was orchestrated by then-Chief Operating Officer Kass. Riedel said he was grooming Kass as his successor—until he developed doubts about Kass’ abilities. After Riedel was canned, he threatened to file two suits against Meris: one for wrongful dismissal and a separate class-action charging Meris with corporate mismanagement. The day after Riedel issued this threat, the company reappointed him as chair. This arrangement was short-lived, as suits and countersuits ensued. In the end, Riedel took an $18 million golden parachute and Kass became Meris president and CEO in ‘93. That same year, the company was hit with a whistleblower suit that accused it of routinely billing Medicare and Medi-Cal for tests that doctors never ordered. The company settled the suit for $5.2 million in ’97 and filed for bankruptcy that same year. Tarzana-based Unilab Corp. bought its remains in ’98.

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