Critical Condition

AIDS researcher of high repute. Proprietor of a glamorous Miami Beach spa. Target of a federal criminal probe. The many sides of Dr. Lionel Resnick.

The situation is all the more difficult for the family, Sharpstein adds, because Lionel has always been the least public Resnick, an introvert whose pioneering research has been forgotten amid his humiliating departure from Mount Sinai. "They're confused, and understandably," Sharpstein says. "Because Lionel is being treated like a criminal when he has done nothing illegal. Not one thing."

Ultimately, federal investigators will make their own determination about that. But no federal probe is likely to reveal why Lionel Resnick allowed himself to engage in behaviors that have jeopardized all he has accomplished.

Money would be one obvious answer. But as everyone knows, the Resnick family has plenty of that.

Sharpstein suggests it was simply a matter of naivete, that Lionel Resnick had no idea he was doing anything wrong. That would explain why he didn't conceal the huge payments sent to his home, care of Vironc Labs.

But his critics assert that it was the very pride Sharpstein speaks of that may have led the young researcher to run too fast and trip. That in acquiring his father's immigrant drive for success, Lionel Resnick disregarded the rules that govern others.

The doctor himself has reportedly pondered the matter in more scientific terms. In the midst of his troubles A troubles that could grow much worse in the days to come A he is said to have mused forlornly about his public disrepute, "Maybe it's genetic.

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