Friday, November 17, 2017

NO STATE REQUIREMENT TO REPORT: Mass Carbon Monoxide Poisoning At Battle Creek's A Forever Recovery Did Not Trigger Any Mandatory State Of Michigan Notification

“A licensed substance use disorder (SUD) facility is not required to report incidents or submit an Incident Report to the Bureau of Community and Health Systems (BCHS) within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). 

Battle Creek's A Forever Recovery is not required to report last week's serious carbon monoxide incident to Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

According to a LARA media representative, responding to my November 16 inquiry regarding “Unusual Incident” and other mandatory reporting requirements stemming from the undetected carbon monoxide leak that sent 26 people to the hospital, a “licensed substance use disorder (SUD) facility is not required to report incidents or submit an Incident Report to the Bureau of Community and Health Systems (BCHS) within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). 

There may be other reporting requirements to other state agencies and/or to local officials, but under the licensing statute and administrative rules for SUD facilities, reporting is not mandated. 

Unlike other health facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes, SUD facilities are inspected for safety, fire, and health conditions at the local level and not at the state level and therefore the duty is on the SUD licensee to obtain health and occupancy clearance from their respective cities, towns, and/or counties. 

Any reporting of incidents would likely correspond with these governmental entities.” 

Battle Creek firefighters responded at 7:23 a.m. Wednesday, November 8 to 163 North Avenue, A Forever Recovery, “on a report of a person having a seizure.” 

When firefighters entered the building, a carbon monoxide monitor attached to a medical bag began to go off. The monitor showed a level of 250-300 parts per million when they reached the patient's room. 

Responding to my second question, seeking to determine, under applicable Michigan law, if the incident (involving multiple patients, including patients and staff) triggered a state-level safety site inspection at the 163 North Avenue location, the LARA media rep stated since the “issue involved the heating system, which is under the local jurisdiction oversight”, the state would not inspect the site.

However, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA), the state government agency that regulates workplace safety and health, has a different take.

According to a MIOSHA Public Information Officer, who responded in a separate email, “MIOSHA Injury and Illness Reporting rules in Administrative Standard, Part 11, RECORDING AND REPORTING OF OCCUPATIONAL INJURIES AND ILLNESSES, state: “…. as required by R 408.22139, all employers covered by the act shall report to MIOSHA any workplace incident that results in a fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.” Per R 408.22139, fatalities must be reported within 8 hours. The injuries or hospitalizations must be reported within 24 hours. ” 

While MIOSHA requirements apply only to employees, not patients, an onsite investigation “may be conducted in response to an employer report that an employee has experienced one of the above two injuries or has been hospitalized.” 

Any required inspections would be conducted on the local level, like the City of Battle Creek, and would have no impact on A Forever Recovery's Michigan license. 

The LARA spokesperson also stated “the provider (A Forever Recovery) did notify the licensing department of the event and actions taken as a courtesy to the department.”

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

KEEP MUM AND LAWYER UP: Attorneys Representing Per Wickstrom's A Forever Recovery Make Initial Appearence In U. S. District Court

Per Wickstrom , the man who claimed he “began his first business when he was 17-years-old and sold Mexican black velvet oil paintings around the country”, just hired a pair of lawyers to defend his A Forever Recovery (AFR) rehab center in a Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit filed in Western Michigan's U. S. District Court on September 26, 2017 by two former AFR employees.

The attorneys, Allan S. Rubin and Blane Veldhuis of Southfield, Michigan-based office of Jackson Lewis P. C. , made their initial appearances in court today.

In addition, Rubin filed a Disclosure of Corporate Affiliation and Financial Interest on behalf of A Forever Recovery.

Whenever a corporation which is a party to a case is a subsidiary or affiliate of any publicly owned corporation not named in the case, counsel for the corporation which is a party must file the statement of disclosure identifying the parent corporation or affiliate and the relationship between it and the corporation which is a party to the case. 

A corporation is considered an affiliate of a publicly owned corporation for purposes of this Rule if it controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with a publicly owned corporation. 

ROBERT BUCKHANNON'S SENTENCING DELAYED; NOW SET FOR DECEMBER 18: What Really Happened At Buckhannon's Torched On Deck Sports Bar? Here's One Thing That Didn't Happen (Insert Eye Roll): Buckhannon Paying His 5-Figure Legal Fee!

Nearly four years after a suspicious fire destroyed the On Deck, a Battle Creek sports bar he ran with a former girlfriend, Robert Buckhannon was slapped with a judgment by an attorney who defended the “crooked chiropractor” in a civil action brought by a former investor, Stephen Anderson. (Anderson is the nephew of Per Wickstrom, currently facing a federal Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit regarding his Battle Creek-based A Forever Recovery.)

Calhoun County Circuit Court records reveal attorney Aaron Bartell secured a $37,095.70 judgment against Buckhannon on July 13, 2017 for non-payment of legal fees stemming from the 2013 dispute with Anderson.

Like his involvement with Cultiv 1260, Buckhannon hid his management role in the On Deck project behind stand-ins Anderson and then-fiancé Kelly Demoss.

Anderson operated under SPA Equity LLC, with Demoss inking formal paperwork for On Deck Sports Bar & Grill LLC and S.G.E Investments, LLC.

A helpful history lesson:

On September 27, 2011, Robert Buckhannon unlocked his clinic door for the first time. 

Located at 2846 Capital Avenue SW, the clinic boasted "$20 visits". Buckhannon later held the clinic's formal grand opening on December 11, 2011. 

And forgoing his usual fancy-schmancy multiple LLCs, Buckhannon finally got around to registering his business under a simple assumed name in Calhoun County-Buckhannon Chiropractic Clinic--on March 14, 2012. 

And Dr. Rob got his swerve back on, too. 

But there were bumps along with the pumps--on May 25, 2012 a local woman filed for a Personal Protection Order against Buckhannon in Calhoun County court, but her request was denied by the court. Official records reveal the woman did not protest the decision. 

Dr. Rob got right back on the proverbial horse, becoming engaged to Kelly Demoss. 

Miss Fortune doesn't know if Dr. Rob got tired of his staid, small town "new normal", or if the grifter in him just recognized a worthy mark when he met Stephen Anderson. 

Maybe it was the soft, pink handshake that betrayed Anderson...we'll never know

The On Deck Sports Bar and Grill at 225 W. Michigan Avenue closed roughly a month after its April 2013 opening. 

Although DeMoss and Anderson reportedly invested several hundred thousand dollars remodeling the former Sports Page, Buckhannon's name didn't appear on any corporation records.

But the bar closed amid allegations from Anderson that the project was over budget and that employees and vendors were not being paid by Demoss and Buckhannon, who were operating the business. 

Anderson alleged in a complaint filed in Calhoun County's 37th District Court on May 17, 2013 that he fired Buckhannon and police escorted him from the property. 

In contemporaneous local reporting, Buckhannon said that was not true and he remained general manager. “The police didn’t escort me off; they told me there was no reason I had to leave.” 

Anderson said he just wanted to recoup his investment and leave the project while Buckhannon and Demoss said they were attempting to refinance or find new investors and continue to operate the business. They have denied extensive debt or that vendors or employees are not paid. 

But money problems plagued the project from its inception. 

Shortly before its April 10, 2013 opening, On Deck violated Michigan alcohol distribution laws by purchasing nearly $2,000 of “spirits” from Battle Creek's Whitt's Party Store instead of a state-authorized distribution agent and failed to maintain “accurate records of alcohol purchases”.

In mid-March, 2013, the On Deck Sports Bar attempted to transfer more than a 10 percent interest in its liquor license to then-partner Anderson and his SPA Equity Partners, LLC without the prior approval required by the State of Michigan's Liquor Control Commission (LCC), one of four violations cited in a December 6, 2013 report.
Rebounding with a $456,000 “hard money” mortgage loan obtained by Kelly Demoss on behalf of On Deck Sports Bar & Grill, LLC, the bar reopened on November 20, 2013.

Forty days later, on December 30, it was destroyed by a suspicious fire.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


If you're interested in acquiring some Cultiv 1260, you better have some major money.

As you can see below, Cultiv1260's Hyper Inoculate is available in a 275 gallon container.

But you'll never guess how much Robert Buckhannon, his brother, Ronald, and Sebastian Runza are charging for this stuff!

Scroll down and see.

That's right: $78,697.50!

Monday, November 13, 2017

IT'S A GAS, GAS, GAS: Carbon Monoxide Leak At Per Wickstrom's “A Forever Recovery” Isn't The Only Thing Stinking Up The Place! Former Employees File Fair Labor Standards Act Complaint In U.S. District Court; Seeking Class Action Certification


As first reported November 8, 2017 by Trace Christenson in the Battle Creek Enquirer, twenty-six people were treated that day at Bronson Battle Creek hospital after Battle Creek firefighters found high levels of carbon monoxide at Per Wickstom's A Forever Recovery facility at 163 North Avenue.

Christenson reported Battle Creek firefighters responded at 7:23 a.m. for a report of a patient with a seizure. 

When firefighters arrived, monitors they carried showed CO readings of 250 to 300 parts per million, well above acceptable levels of 30 to 40 ppm. 

Residents and staff were evacuated to a nearby building and after several people reported experiencing headaches 16 were taken by staff and Lifecare Ambulance to the hospital. Another 10 came to the hospital through the day. Firefighters and staff had immediately begun opening doors and windows and using fans to clear the air and it was lowered to the acceptable range. 

Twenty-four of the people were treated and later released and two were still at the hospital about 5 p.m. but reported in good condition, the hospital said. 

Semco Energy and the facilities boiler contractor determined the problem was caused by a faulty furnace.

Wickstom's A Forever Recovery received its own residential detox license from the State of Michigan on March 27, 2014 after closing its previous Tranquility Detox-related license. 

On May 19, 2012, a 22-year-old woman from North Carolina named Amber Bullins died at Tranquility Detox.

Bullins was originally scheduled to go to a related Wickstrom facility, Best Drug Rehabilitation in Manistee, Michigan, on Thursday, May 17, 2012, but was sent to Tranquility Detox in Battle Creek for “detox”. 

Two days later she was dead. According to her toxicology report, Bullins died of a “mixed drug intoxication.” 

Her blood tested positive for a cocktail of drugs including Xanax.  Although the Battle Creek Police Department purportedly launched an investigation into the death, and a wider probe of Per Wickstrom's other rehab businesses (A Forever Recovery and Best Drub Rehabilitation), it was apparently shelved.

But (allegedly) gassing 26 people like Saddam Hussein did to the Iraqi Kurds isn't Per Wickstrom's only headache — a Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit filed in Western Michigan's U. S. District Court on September 26, 2017 by two former A Forever Recovery employees is certain to create agita in Wickstromland. (The complaints were formally served in late October; each executed summons was filed in U. S. District Court on November 7, 2017.)

The complaint, filed by Wyoming, Michigan attorney Robert A. Alvarez on behalf of plaintiffs Melinda Easterday and Shandal Klingsmith, alleges that during their employment, A Forever Recover (AFR) failed to compensate them for all hours worked. 

AFR deducted either one hour or thirty minutes (depending on length of scheduled shift) from their pay each day for a lunch break, although they were required to work during their scheduled break time. (In addition to A Forever Recovery, Inc., Per Wickstrom and his sister, Pamela Anderson, were also named as defendants.)

Easterday and Klingsmith allege AFR actively misled them about their rights to receive payment for all hours worked and payment at a rate of time-and-one-half the regular rate of pay for their hours of overtime worked. 

Easterday was paid $9.50 an hour from August 16, 2015 until March 24, 2016, and was paid $10.00 an hour from March 24, 2016 until she left the company on June 14, 2016. 

Easterday worked as a security guard, and her job duties included assisting patients, ensuring patients were where they were supposed to be, performing room checks every hour, performing perimeter checks, monitoring cameras, and “monitoring hot tubs in case of a medical emergency.” 

Although she was scheduled for 40 hours a week, Easterday’s hours varied from week to week. Easterday was required to punch in and out each day. 

Easterday alleged was not afforded an adequate lunch break, instead:

a. She was still required to help patients when asked; 

b. She was told that patients come first as they were the main priority; 

c. Lunch breaks were not scheduled; 

d. Easterday was not informed of the possibility of taking a scheduled break; 

e. Employees were not allowed to eat in the same area as patients; 

f. There was no break room in the entire building; and 

g. If another guard was doing rounds, she was required to be outside to monitor the hot tubs and smoke shack. 

Easterday was not paid for the one hour “break” during which she was actually required to work, and the hour was automatically deducted from her time card.

Shandal Klingsmith worked for AFR from November 2015 through March 2016, and was paid $8.50 an hour starting November 2015. 

Klingsmith received periodic raises, and was paid $10.50 an hour when she ended her employment in March 2016. 

Klingsmith worked variously as a receptionist, data entry clerk, withdraw specialist, and withdraw supervisor. 

Klingsmith’s job duties included assisting patients, ensuring patients were where they were supposed to be, preparing vitamins, observing patient mealtimes, monitoring hot tubs, and administering “body relax techniques.” 

Like Easterday, Klingsmith’s hours varied from week to week, and Klingsmith was scheduled for 40 hours a week, not including the hour which was automatically deducted for lunch for each day she worked. 

Klingsmith was required to punch in and out each day, and alleges she was not afforded an adequate lunch break:

a. She was still required to help patients when asked; 

b. Lunch breaks were not scheduled; 

c. Klingsmith was not informed of the possibility of taking a scheduled break; 

d. If she did attempt to take a lunch, she would be routinely interrupted and unable to finish her lunch break or take one at all; 

e. There was no break room in the entire building; 

f. Employees were not allowed to eat in the same area as patients; 

g. Employees were not allowed to eat in the withdraw offices; and 

h. Short staffing required Klingsmith to observe patients at all time.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires payment of the federal minimum wage and also requires overtime pay at 1.5 times an employee's “regular hourly rate” for work by “non-exempt” employees in excess of 40 hours per week. 

If employees establish that they were not paid as required by the FLSA, they can recover unpaid wages going back two years. If the employer's violation is “willful,” the back-pay period is 3 years and the recovery is doubled as “liquidated damages.” 

For many years, the FLSA was enforced by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor. Once it received a complaint from an employee or former employee, the WHD would conduct a “wall-to-wall audit” of the employer, and cite any FLSA violations. Most cases settled because the WHD will typically waive the “willful” violation penalties, and settle for two years of back wages. 

In recent years, though, FLSA cases have become very attractive to plaintiffs' employment lawyers. They began filing lawsuits after realizing that many employers are in violation of the FLSA. These can be expensive class actions. The FLSA allows a successful plaintiff to recover not only back pay and “liquidated damages,” but also actual attorney fees. 

Easterday and Klingsmith filed the action on their own behalf and on behalf of all other current or former employees who 1) worked or are working for AFR at any time in the three years prior to the filing of this action, and 2) were or are subject to the violations of the FLSA. 

Although the precise numbers of class individuals are known only to AFR, the group is believed to include well over 100 people.
In addition to other relief, the plaintiffs are seeking an order compelling AFR “to disclose in computer format, or in print if no computer readable format is available, the names and addresses of all those individuals who are similarly situated, and permitting Plaintiffs to send notice of this action to all those similarly situated individuals including the publishing of notice in a manner that is reasonably calculated to apprise the potential Class Members of their rights under this litigation.”

More information as it becomes available.