Wednesday, January 6, 2016

PER WICKSTROM'S TIA CORPORATION PROPOSED MANISTEE EXPANSION: January 7 Special Use Permit Public Hearing For 900 Vine Street; Best Drug Rehabilitation Plans "Intensive Outpatient Therapy" At Proposed Residential Area "Mixed Use Development".

Dr. Ted Zunini?
The City of Manistee's Planning Commission is holding a public hearing tomorrow night, 
January 7, at 7:00pm in the Council Chambers in Manistee's City Hall, located at 70 Maple Street.

The public is invited to observe the hearing and comment on a Special Use Permit request filed by Per Wickstrom's TIA Corporation on behalf of property the corporation owns at 900 Vine Street.

TIA Corporation purchased the 8,200 square foot structure, which formerly housed the private Civic Club, back on June 29, 2015. Less than three months after closing the deal,Wickstrom's new acquisition received a State of Michigan license to operate under the name "Best Drug Rehabilitation #2".

Wickstrom also runs another Manistee facility, Best Drug Rehabilitation, located a short distance away at 300 Care Center Drive.

In its Special Use Permit application, the organization claims the proposed modifications to the 900 Vine Street structure will be made to offer a meeting place for Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Secondarily, the application reveals the location will be used to provide "intensive outpatient meetings". 

But will Per Wickstrom's Best Drug Rehabilitation #2 really host NA and AA meetings, or will it merely use the facility as an overflow for Best Drug Rehabilitation's Care Center Drive location, a device to allow the Care Center location to admit even more clients?

If that's the case, a Manistee home (located at 812 High Street, roughly three blocks from 900 Vine Street) purchased by TIA in early 2012 could easily serve as a convenient bunkhouse for staffers and overflow clients.

Judging from initial claims made here in Michigan by Wickstrom, his representatives and attorney Phillip Slot at various zoning presentations on behalf of other Wickstrom-controlled facilities (including Wright Township's Serenity Point Recovery and Clare County's Lincoln Township Behavioral Rehabilitation Services), Manistee officials would be wise to proceed carefully...does anyone remember the mythic Dr. Ted Zunini, supposedly the consulting psychiatrist at Wright Township's Serenity Point

Let's look at the NA and AA meeting claims.

In order to determine how both organizations and conduct meetings, I contacted them. While spokespersons for both organizations requested not to be identified by name in this piece, each provided extensive information.

NA Manistee meetings, 900 Vine (star)
Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. does not have a "vetting process" per se. According to its media rep, "NA groups that organize and conduct NA meetings are free to conduct their meetings in the manner they see fit providing their actions do not affect other groups or NA as a whole. Some groups may find the potential landlord or facility in question unappealing where others may find that location to be suitable for holding an NA meeting. The Group Booklet cautions our members to question, "Is it clear to all concerned that your NA group, not the facility is sponsoring the meeting?" That is a matter they are free to decide for themselves." In addition, the source stated "NA does not have any history with Narconon or Scientology. We are not a religious organization nor are we affiliated with any outside organizations or enterprises."

And does Manistee, with a population of roughly 7,000, truly need more NA meeting locations than those already offered by the First Congregational Church and Faith Covenant Church, both within blocks of 900 Vine Street?

Like NA, AA offered no opinion on either Wickstrom, his clinics or his treatment methods. The AA's General Service Office (G. S. O.) "does not find, recommend or vet meeting places for local AA groups. Local A A groups chose the site that best meet their requirements. Each AA group is autonomous, and is responsible to no authority other than its own conscience." 

The spokesperson explained that "AA does not seek or accept outside funding. AA does not wish to engage in any controversy, and it neither endorses or opposes any causes."

And finally, "AA is not affiliated with any government, religion, philosophy, club, treatment facility or other organization. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help another alcoholic achieve sobriety through the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous."

Sounds like neither NA or AA would be willing to accept a substance treatment facility as a landlord.

But that wouldn't be the first time a Wickstrom surrogate mislead a group of public officials.

Back on March 4, 2015, Amber Howe (identified as the Chief Operating Officer of Serenity Recovery, Inc.) made a presentation at Lakeshore Regional Partners Substance Abuse Oversight Policy Board meeting in Muskegon. Lakeshore serves as the Prepaid Inpatient Health Plan (PIHP) under contract with the Michigan Department of Community Health to manage all Medicaid and Adult Benefit Waiver (ABW) specialty behavioral health services provided by the following counties:  Allegan, Kent, Lake, Mason, Muskegon, Oceana, and Ottawa. 

Howe was seeking a letter of support from Lakeshore on behalf of Marne's Serenity LARA application, and stated that "Dr. Kerry Mark Simon is the medical director and addictionologist" and "Dr. Ted Zunini is the consulting psychiatrist".

The problem is, it appears there's no "Dr. Zunini" licensed here in Michigan...or anywhere else!

And while Howe went on about Serenity's "12 Step Program, Smart Recovery, Evidence Base Therapies, and MRT (Moral Reconation Therapy) programs, she forgot all about Narconon.

Narconon, you may ask. What would Marne's Serenity Point have to do with Narconon?

Well, how about Derry Hallmark (at left), the facility's Executive Director.

Formerly the Director of Marketing and a longtime staffer at Oklahoma's Narconon Arrowhead, the flagship facility of Scientology's drug rehab network, Hallmark now warms a seat at Per Wickstrom's Marne facility.

During a Wright Township meeting in 2013, Wickstrom himself explained that he created his rehab program by combining aspects of the "five most popular treatment modalities into one rehab program". And Wickstrom claimed "BDR's success rate was above 50%", a preposterous claim he offered without scientific evidence.

And Wickstrom's business entities change like Michigan's weather, seeking a Special Use Permit under one name, and casting off the original name (and the shell company) after securing the permit.

In Clare County's Lincoln Township, Wickstrom's attorney, Phillip Slot, first sought a SUP under the name "Great Lakes Treatment Centers, Inc.", a Nevada corporation.

Business Entity Information Great Lakes Treatment Centers, Inc.
File Date: 
 Domestic Corporation

The entity was formed on August 2, 2013 and later dissolved on August 31, 2014.

The permit was granted to Great Lakes Treatment Centers, Inc. on August 27, 2013, and on June 9, 2015 an application was filed to transfer it to another Wickstrom entity, Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, Inc.

It was granted shortly after.

So if you go to the Manistee meeting, remember to ask about Dr. Ted Zunini.

Don't make me put his name on a milk carton.

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