omsarti

November 11, 2007

One Might Think Detoxification Would Be Difficult. In Malibu, It Takes About Two Minutes.

Filed under: Drugs, Funny — omsarti @ 9:53 pm

From the LA Times

Hollywood rehab can produce unhappy endings, even when the patient isn’t named Lindsay or Britney.

That’s what Kelly Logan learned when he sought treatment for a methamphetamine addiction at Promises Malibu, detox destination to the stars.

Logan’s brother, Garfield, says he paid $42,000 up front to admit the former professional surfer for a month at Promises’ canyon-top Mediterranean-style home. Five days later, he says, Promises kicked Logan out for belligerent behavior but kept all the money.

“They’re scam artists,” said Garfield Logan, a plaintiff in one of four consumer-rights, breach-of-contract and unfair-business-practice lawsuits filed against Promises Malibu and its Westside branch in the last year. Promises has denied the allegations.

The suits and state licensing violations reveal a little-seen side to the high-end rehabilitation centers that have become a Malibu cottage industry and — thanks to such patrons as Promises alums Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears — a tabloid feeding ground. (…)

All of the Malibu centers are for-profit enterprises in a field dominated by not-for-profits. With luxury as a principal appeal, many charge far more than the going rate for residential care. (…)

Promises lawyer Gerald Sauer said that when patients leave early, the balance of the month’s payment is retained for their use if they check back in, or the money is sometimes transferred to other rehab centers where the patients seek treatment. “No one is losing any money,” he said.

“If you leave, your money stays,” said Passages co-founder Chris Prentiss, who added that the center immediately resells the vacated bed — the monthly cost is $67,550 — and that returning patients must wait for the next opening. Their payment stays on account, he said.

But former patients and their relatives who have taken Promises to court maintain that the company intended to unjustly enrich itself at their expense by refusing to refund any money, no matter how short the patients’ stay.

“They get people at their most vulnerable point to turn over huge sums of money,” said Michael Parks, a lawyer for a former patient identified only as John Doe, a 50-year-old lawyer and alcoholic who sued in July. “Promises has a double standard of caring for celebrities first, at the expense of regular people.”

The suit accuses Promises of evicting the plaintiff after a week — and keeping the balance of his $49,000 payment — because of false claims that he had made a “sexually inappropriate remark” to an unnamed celebrity patient.

The Promises staff tolerated “racially insensitive comments” by a celebrity, the suit alleges. Promises denied the allegations. A hearing is set for November.

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