As I suspected in a May 19 report, Per Wickstrom's saddle is about to get chapped!
The National Association of Forensic Counselors (NAFC) filed a motion in Oklahoma on September 2 in opposition to Best Drug Rehabilitation's "motion to dismiss" based on lack of personal jurisdiction, and it looks like Wickstrom and Burdge can expect many days in court.
As reported on this blog, Per Wickstrom's Best Drug Rehabilitation, Inc. and the Manistee facility's Deputy Executive Director, Jason Burdge, were among the 82 named defendants in a massive trademark violation lawsuit filed on May 16 in US District Court in Oklahoma's Eastern District by the National Association of Forensic Counselors, Inc. (NAFC) and the American Academy of Certified Forensic Counselors, Inc. (AACFC).
As expected, the suit seeks to blow the lid off a long-rumored Narconon practice: inflating the credentials of staff members by using expired or phony accreditation certificates.
According to court documents, this case "emanates from Defendants’ theft of Plaintiffs’ logos, trademarks, certifications and established business reputation in order to bait vulnerable victims into the Scientology religion."
NAFC and AACFC operate a certification board for forensic counselors, and have established a series of standards, skills, training and competencies required for professionals working with criminal offenders in addictions to enhance the delivery of safe and effective treatment.
This lawsuit involves the misappropriation and misuse of logos, trademarks, certifications, and established business reputation by the defendants for the purposes of marketing Narconon programs for profits and promoting the Church of Scientology.
Best Drug Rehabilitation, Inc. was added to the complaint based upon its "specific role as a player in the conspiracy to utilize Plaintiffs’ logos, trademarks, certifications, and established business reputation to attract individuals into the Narconon Network and, consequently, the Church of Scientology."
NAFC SEPTEMBER 2 MOTION TO DISMISS
The motion alleges that "Best Drug Rehabilitation is an active contributor in the scheme described in the Complaint by virtue of its participation in the misappropriation and misuse of Plaintiffs’ intellectual property with the obvious goals to further the profiteering of the Narconon Network and the Church of Scientology, at Plaintiffs’ expense."
In addition, the NAFC claims that Best Drug Rehabilitation "purposefully directed its activities towards Oklahoma and did so in a manner that caused Plaintiffs’ damages through its participation in the civil conspiracy
stemming from Oklahoma."
The May 16 complaint alleges that "Best Drug Rehabilitation is a treatment and rehabilitation facility operating as a part of the Narconon Network run by Narconon International. Best Drug Rehabilitation advertised on its website that Defendant Jason Burdge was a C.C.D.C., when in reality his certification expired in August 2010."
In 2013, Burdge applied for his C.C.D.C. through NAFC, but was refused certification when NAFC discovered Burge had "falsified his application." Despite a cease and desist demanded by NAFC on April 1, 2013, Best Drug Rehabilitation continued to post a scanned copy of Burdge’s defunct NAFC Certificate (shown above) as recently as July 2013 on www.bestdrugrehabilitation.com.
Burdge's credentials were removed from the ".com"
website, but an active link still remains today on Best Drug Rehabilitation's alternate site, http://www.bestdrugrehabilitation.org/staff-credentials.
The September 2 motion reveals that Burdge (shown at left) received his training at "Narconon’s flagship in Oklahoma before moving to Michigan and beginning to work with Best Drug Rehabilitation in 2012. "
Really? What a shocker!
You could never tell from his wardrobe!
NARCONON, PER WICKSTROM & BEST DRUG REHABILITATION
The NAFC response reserves some of its harshest language for Per Wickstrom, who reportedly just opened an unlicensed facility in South Bend, Indiana under the name "Tranquility Detox".
The document accuses Wickstrom's Best Drug Rehabilitation of operating "a confusing scheme of corporations in an attempt
to launder their ties to Narconon, the Church of Scientology and the use of L. Ron Hubbard’s technologies."
It goes on to state that despite Best Drug Rehabilitation's "self-serving affidavit attempting to claim otherwise", Best Drug cannot
escape the reality of its ties to Narconon.
|January 18, 2013 Screen capture|
Best Drug claims to operate through a separate corporation named My Best Drug Rehabilitation, Inc., which licenses training
materials called “Narconon Book 1” from Defendant Narconon International, and then utilizes Best Drug’s facilities to teach classes using the Narconon training.
Best Drug Rehabilitation's founder, Per Wickstrom, has posted a series of videos on Best Drug’s official YouTube channel which contradict an affidavit attached to its motion to dismiss.
And here's where it gets funny—the NAFC's response features the unintentionally hilarious "Purr" Wickstrom video.
Could the NAFC legal team be reading my blog? Cool!
In addition to being called "Purr" instead of "Per" by interviewer Ingrid Kelley, Wickstrom demonstrated a singular mix of petulance and defiance that hasn't been seen on screen since Pee-Wee Herman (before the weight gain), claiming that his "personal beliefs have nothing to do with the beliefs that I teach at my rehabilitation centers."
Kelley had deftly set it up, telling Wickstrom that there are "some reports about you being a Scientologist, and actually using your centers as recruitment tools. Would you like to respond to those allegations?"
He pauses and continues: "I am a Scientologist. What religion are you?"
Sometimes this stuff just writes itself!
In the interview with Kelley, Wickstrom directed viewers to www.stopaddiction.com, which is a Narconon Oklahoma website.
And in Wickstrom’s Best Drug Rehabilitation Grand Opening video, the camera scans the certifications showing his staff’s qualification, which includes Mr. Burdge’s two-year-expired C.C.D.C. certificate.
Although the case is in its infancy, the NAFC's response to Best Drug Rehabilitation's motion to dismiss insists "the hijacking of the NAFC's marks and accreditation creates a false aura of expertise
where none exists, and the public, as well as plaintiffs, are damaged as a result."
The document asserts that "litigating this case together in Oklahoma is analogous to having all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle in one place. Permitting defendants to scatter the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle throughout various jurisdictions across the country will prevent the entire picture, the civil conspiracy, from being exposed and uncovered."
"Exposed" and "uncovered", eh?
I'm on that like a cop on a donut shop!