Quivira Partners In Trouble

Quivira Venture Partners, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, may not ever be able to close the $200 million fund it set out to raise last year.

Two of the firm’s founding partners, Larry Wells, 60, and Henry M. Kaiser, 59, pleaded guilty earlier this month to federal fraud charges.

Kaiser (grandson of industrial magnate Henry J. Kaiser, who sat on the board of the Kaiser Family Foundation for 20 years) and Wells were accused of transferring as much as $25 million from SureWest Communications (where Wells’ son Jeffrey worked) into Quivira’s, beefing up the venture firm’s accounts to make it look more appealing to potential limited partners. Quivira was to return the cash to SureWest, but the Roseville, Calif.-based telecommunications firm only recovered $23 million.

The missing $2 million remains lost in a Luxembourg bank account, according to the criminal complaint.

Quivira Ventures planned to invest in early-stage medical devices, life science and health care companies. It invested $8 million in Isonics Corp., a publicly traded maker of semiconductor materials in Colorado, in August 2003.

The firm did not return calls.