When New Jersey regulators revoked Steven Brigham's medical license last year for illegally performing risky late-term abortions, he was required to divest his ownership in eight abortion clinics in the state.
Now, the state Attorney General's office has subpoenaed Brigham's corporate records to see if he has added another offense to his long, multistate history of misconduct: faking an ownership transfer to Vikram Kaji, the obstetrician-gynecologist listed as medical director of the clinics.
Kaji, 79, was disciplined in the mid-1990s for sexually abusing patients and, more recently, for doing an inadequate job as medical director of the N.J. clinics, which are headquartered in Voorhees and advertised as American Women's Services.
In May, Kaji testified at a N.J. Board of Medical Examiners' hearing that he did not own those abortion facilities - despite his signature on a purported transfer document - and that Brigham continued to "run the show."
Regulators have charged Kaji with abetting a fraud and are seeking to suspend or revoke his license.
Joseph Gorrell, attorney for both Brigham and Kaji, was away from his Roseland law office and could not be reached on Friday.
In June, not long after Kaji denied ownership, N.J. Deputy Attorney General Bindi Merchant emailed subpoenas for the corporate records to Gorrell, who agreed to have Brigham provide them, according to legal filings.
Three months later - after Merchant sent more requests that Gorrell deferred or did not reply to - she still had no documents, so she asked the Superior Court of New Jersey to intervene.
Late last month, Judge Walter Koprowski ordered Brigham to appear Wednesday to explain why he should not supply the requested documents within five days, and not be held in contempt for ignoring the subpoenas.
Brigham, 59, has a 25-year history - chronicled in public records - of trouble with medical boards, regulators, the IRS, landlords, creditors, and criminal prosecutors.
Activists on both sides of the abortion divide have complained about him to authorities for years. For his part, Brigham has insisted he is a champion of women's right to choose, besieged by potentially violent abortion foes as well as rival abortion providers.
A year ago, Brigham lost his New Jersey license, the last of five he once held, for endangering and deceiving patients. He was initiating late-term abortions in his New Jersey clinics, then surgically removing the dead fetuses a day or so later in a clandestine clinic in Maryland, where he was never licensed. Prosecutors said Brigham used the bistate scheme to evade New Jersey's outpatient surgery safety rules, which his clinics did not meet.
Despite Brigham's difficulties, American Women's Services has continued to operate clinics, even in states where he has lost a license or never held one. New Jersey is among a minority of states where a doctor who is barred from practicing medicine cannot own a medical practice.
Public records also link Brigham to some clinics not listed on the American Women's website; among them is Premier Ob/Gyn in Wilmington. Last month, Premier said it would stop performing surgical abortions in response to state demands that it obtain proper accreditation or shut down. It continues to offer medication abortions.
American Women's Services now advertises 16 clinics in New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. But the two Pennsylvania sites were shut down by the state in 2012, and Maryland revoked the surgical abortion licenses of the four clinics in that state in 2013.