The in-house performance coach at FTX claimed Tuesday the doomed crypto firm’s headquarters in the Bahamas was a “pretty tame place” — despite rampant speculation about its executives’ sex lives and alleged substance use.
Online gossip alleging the group lived in a “polycule” — or network of polyamorous relationships — surged after CoinDesk reported the executives “are, or used to be, paired up in romantic relationships with each other.”
dr George K. Lerner, a psychiatrist, reportedly served as a therapist to disgraced FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and an adviser to many of the firm’s employees. Bankman-Fried and his ex-lover Caroline Ellison were reportedly part of a 10-person group that ran FTX and its sister cryptocurrency trading firm Alameda Research from a “luxury penthouse” in the Bahamas.
“It’s a pretty tame place,” Lerner told the New York Times. “The higher-ups, they mostly played chess and board games. There was no partying. They were undersexed, if anything.”
Lerner told the outlet he moved in June to the Bahamas, where he served as an adviser at FTX for 32 hours per week and also maintained a “small private practice.” The performance coach asserted the FTX executives were workaholics with little in the way of social lives.
“They were working way too much,” he added. “It would have been healthier if they did have more healthy dating relationships.”
The personal habits of Bankman-Fried and other executives are under the microscope following reports that at least $1 billion in FTX client funds is still missing. FTX, Alameda Research and more than 100 affiliates filed for bankruptcy last week.
Lerner also addressed viral rumors about the alleged use of stimulants by FTX executives. Ellison, the CEO of Alameda Research, admitted to “regular amphetamine use” in an April 2021 tweet, while Bankman-Fried has openly discussed his experimentation with Adderall and other stimulants.
Amphetamines can be prescribed under the brand name Adderall as medication to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Lerner told the Times that while some FTX employees may have had prescriptions for ADHD medications, the “rate of ADHD in the company was in line with most tech companies.”
Lerner also acknowledged writing prescriptions to FTX employees whom he treated as patients in his private practice, though he did not clarify which ones he prescribed.
The Post has reached out to Lerner, Bankman-Fried and FTX for further comment.
In a separate interview with Vice, Lerner said he served as a “coach” to “about 100 employees, including 20 to 40 on a semi-regular basis.”
In one Sept. 15, 2019, tweet, Bankman-Fried described habits for optimized productivity in a reply to a fellow Twitter user. That user’s message has since been deleted, but Bankman-Fried’s post is still online.
“Stimulants when you wake up, sleeping pills if you need them when you sleep,” Bankman-Fried tweeted. “Be mindful of where your headspace is: I often nap in the office so that my mind doesn’t leave work mode in between shifts.”
Lerner’s association with Bankman-Fried first surfaced in a now-deleted profile published last September on Sequoia Capital’s website, where he was identified as the ex-billionaire’s therapist. The investment giant was recently forced to mark the value of its investment in FTX down to zero.
The psychiatrist told the New York Times that Bankman-Fried has a number of “nervous habits,” such has “rapidly tapping his foot” — something he is apparently doing in an October interview with Chuck Todd on MSNBC’s “Meet The Press Reports.” During the interview, Bankman-Fried taps his foot so furiously that he appears to shake.
Lerner said Bankman-Fried uses a “fidget spinner” toy and also plays video games to relieve stress.
The shrink also rejected the possibility that Bankman-Fried knowingly committed any wrongdoing.
“I just can’t see him doing that, honestly,” Lerner said. “I mean, I guess maybe I would have to sit down with him and understand why. But I have difficulties making that jump.”