Editor’s note: This story was updated to include a response from Chase.
Lydia Nusbaum co-authored this report.
CAPE CORAL, Fla. (FLV) – Employees of a Florida-based retail health company said JP Morgan Chase Bank suddenly terminated their personal and company bank accounts without an explanation.
One of the employees believes the account shutdowns were politically motivated and due to their employer’s controversial stance on COVID-19.
Another Mercola Market employee said the sudden decision to close her account is creating additional hurdles to help send money to her husband who is bedridden with dementia in the Philippines.
The owner of Mercola Market, Dr. Joseph Mercola, has criticized of COVID-19 vaccines and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Responding to the report, Chase told Florida’s Voice Wednesday that the accounts weren’t closed for political “affiliations.”
“For privacy reasons, we can’t discuss customer relationships, but we don’t close accounts because of political affiliations, and we didn’t do so in this case,” they said.
On July 13, Mercola Market, along with the CEO, CFO and some of their family members, all received similar letters from Chase Bank saying “[they] have decided to close” their individual personal and business accounts.
The letters obtained by Florida’s Voice did not provide a reason why the accounts were suddenly closed. Florida’s Voice reached out to Chase Bank for a response.
A voicemail from a Chase representative to CEO Steven Rye said the reason for closing his personal and wife’s accounts can’t be disclosed “for legal reasons.”
However, Rye believes his the accounts were suddenly shut down because of Dr. Joseph Mercola’s opinions on COVID-19.
“I believe they cancelled all of the accounts because of Dr. Mercola’s (our employer) opinions,” Rye told Florida’s Voice. “He has carried a contradictory view throughout the COVID narrative and co-authored the best selling book The Truth About COVID-19 which exposed the likelihood that this virus was engineered in a laboratory funded by the NIH.”
Rye said he was told his children would not be able to carry accounts with Chase Bank in the future.
“It’s just hard to believe that your family, your wife, your kids can’t have a bank account because of the opinions of your employer and they’ve never done anything wrong,” Rye said. “We all have completely clear records.”
A voicemail from a Chase Bank representative urged Rye to submit paperwork for their accounts to be reconsidered.
“We are going to try because you’re a good client of our institution,” the Chase representative said in a voicemail.
In an email from Chase to Rye Monday, a representative said he is “still trying to figure out what is going on.”
Amalia Legaspi, the CFO of Mercola Market, said both her personal and her son’s personal accounts were canceled. Her son is using the accounts to pay for college expenses.
“I received the letter during weekend and I was surprised that we received the same letters for business accounts with exact wordings,” Legaspi said.
Legaspi’s joint checking account with her husband, who has dementia and is bedridden in the Philippines, was also closed. She uses the account to send money for his medical needs and said she is not allowed to open another bank account in his name.
“I have to provide all the legal documentations including notarized physicians affidavit from the Philippines to prove that my husband is incapable of handling his finances and request the Federal to directly deposit the pension to my own personal account,” Legaspi said.
With regards to the company’s accounts, she said Chase will not give them a reason for the closure to protect the privacy of their clients.
Dr. Mercola said he published articles about the benefits of vitamin D, zinc and quercetin to boost the immune system. He also published testimony from a nurse who claimed patients were being “intentionally killed on ventilators.”
The FDA also sent a letter to Dr. Mercola telling him to take “immediate action” to address “violations” in the letter regarding supplement products the doctor said would aid in COVID-19, calling them “unapproved new drugs” that are “misbranded.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation in May to prohibit financial institutions from denying or canceling services based on political or religious beliefs.