Monday, February 16, 2009

Father takes his autism-thimerosal fight to Tallahassee

By Anna Scott

Published: Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 1:02 a.m.

SARASOTA - Dr. Gary is getting heated.

"Dirt bags!" he says, throwing up his arms in a conference room in his office. "It's a cover-up. They're killing kids."

Gary Kompothecras, who likes to be called Dr. Gary, is a chiropractor who acknowledges that, if you cross him, he can be a bulldog. He made himself a multi-millionaire building clinics to treat people hurt in car accidents and by creating the 1-800-ASK-GARY referral network. He is also one of the state's biggest political donors and a close friend of Gov. Charlie Crist.

Two of his children are autistic. Sarah Alice, 11, repeats back what other people say to her and still plays with a jack-in-the-box. Bronson, 12, is so severely delayed he spent years in therapy to learn the name of his favorite plaything, bottles.

Kompothecras (pronounced kom-PAHTH-uh-kras) believes their disorder was caused by an ingredient in vaccines, mercury-based thimerosal, that they received as infants.

"Dirt bags" is one of the nicer names he has for public health officials who disagree.

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