You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

Exclusives


EXCLUSIVE: Braves pursuing stadium plan in PBC, but who will pay?

As the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals prepare to open their $148 million spring training facility in West Palm Beach, business and government leaders in central Palm Beach County are buzzing with optimism over a new plan for an Atlanta Braves spring training complex in John Prince Park near Lake Worth. A Braves representative showed area municipal and business leaders in December a rendering...

The last of the portrait painters

Ralph Wolfe Cowan's stories behind the brushstrokes
Special Presentation

Honoring a fallen father

Fatal crash at PBIA: 60 years later
Special Presentation

'I'm not a hero, I'm a survivor'

Flight attendant recalls Delta Flight 191
Special Presentation

Sober home invasion

Suburban neighbors say they're under siege
Special Presentation

100 years of The Palm Beach Post

The Palm Beach Post marks a milestone: 100 years as a morning daily newspaper
Special Presentation
Despite pill mill arrest, doctor free to get into drug rehab business

Despite pill mill arrest, doctor free to get into drug rehab business

When investigators with the Florida Department of Health and Broward County Sheriff’s Office descended on a Pompano Beach pain clinic in 2012 to search for evidence of crime, Dr. Donald Willems was ready to talk. The osteopathic physician admitted to signing blank prescriptions for powerful painkillers such as oxycodone. He admitted to letting a clinic manager fill them out, for patients he...
EXCLUSIVE: Ice rink banned skater for Iraqi heritage, suit says

EXCLUSIVE: Ice rink banned skater for Iraqi heritage, suit says

The Olympic dream of a Broward County ice skater has turned into an ugly dispute that has spawned a discrimination and defamation lawsuit against the West Palm Beach skating rink where she once practiced. Angela Aldahwi, a dual citizen of both the United States and Iraq, has filed suit against Palm Beach Ice Works in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, alleging that her daughter, Hyaat Aldahwi, was barred...
Despite losing grant, health district will help addicts with treatment

Despite losing grant, health district will help addicts with treatment

A month after learning it would not receive an $8.2 million grant to provide drug treatment to wean addicts off heroin, the Palm Beach County Health Care District is quickly moving forward with a scaled down version of its original plan. The taxpayer-financed district, which provides health care to the poor and uninsured, hopes to have the pilot project in place by the end of February. Efforts...
U.S. marshals seize PBSO deputy’s property to pay shooting victim

U.S. marshals seize PBSO deputy’s property to pay shooting victim

Staff writer Lawrence Mower contributed to this story. Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Sgt. Adams Lin watched helplessly on Saturday as federal marshals seized his personal belongings — including his car, clothes, television and furniture — to help pay the expenses of a 23-year-old West Palm Beach man he shot, paralyzing him for life. Attorney Jack Scarola, who won a $22.4...
Woman charged in sober home crackdown takes deal, avoids prison

Woman charged in sober home crackdown takes deal, avoids prison

The only woman — and youngest — of 11 people charged with patient brokering at a Boynton Beach treatment center pleaded guilty to the charges on Monday, the first case disposed of since the Sober Home Task Force began making arrests in October. Amanda LaFrance, 25, pleaded guilty to four counts of patient brokering, all felonies, and one count of attempted patient brokering, a misdemeanor...
Airport shooting: Minn. mom: ‘We flew with the shooter’

Airport shooting: Minn. mom: ‘We flew with the shooter’

Page Laska and her family were among many who spent three hours and 12 minutes on a crowded flight from Minneapolis to Fort Lauderdale on Friday morning — and it was nothing out of the ordinary. Laska disembarked, quickly grabbed her bags from the Delta terminal and hopped on a shuttle headed for a nearby hotel with her 8-year-old son Garrett. Her husband, Dennis Anco, and 11-year-old son Benjamin...
Heroin task force launches 2 initiatives, contemplates needle exchange

Heroin task force launches 2 initiatives, contemplates needle exchange

After a seemingly late and slow start over the summer, efforts of the Palm Beach County Heroin Task Force are gaining traction and support — with two major initiatives poised to launch this month. At a task force meeting on Thursday, task force leaders said a pilot program aimed at providing immediate detox and treatment for addicts who have overdosed and are taken to a hospital emergency...
BREAKING: 11th arrest made in local sober home crackdown

BREAKING: 11th arrest made in local sober home crackdown

The operator of a sober home in Boynton Beach was arrested on Wednesday and charged with patient brokering — the 11th arrest made by the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force since October. Leonard Reginald Dobard, 49, owner of House of Chance at 309 SE 36th Ave. in Boynton Beach, accepted 10 checks totalling $3,102 from Whole Life Recovery for enrolling residents living in his sober home...

Free rent to lure sober home customers faces crackdown

One of Palm Beach County’s top prosecutors on Tuesday issued a stark statement to South Florida’s lucrative drug and alcohol treatment community: The way you’ve been operating is illegal. For years, the county’s billion-dollar industry has treated addicts as if they were mules lured by a farmer’s carrots, with owners of sober homes and treatment centers enticing them...
Palm Beach County wants state help with homelessness, opioid epidemic

Palm Beach County wants state help with homelessness, opioid epidemic

Santa Claus has come and gone, but Palm Beach County officials made a list, checked it twice and are hoping the state government will determine its priorities aren’t naughty but nice. Certainly, those priorities and wish list items aren’t cheap: Commissioners and legislators from the county met at the Palm Beach County Convention Center Wednesday to go over the fine points of a $47 million...
Lawmakers cite Post’s investigation as motive for change

Lawmakers cite Post’s investigation as motive for change

Local lawmakers agreed on Wednesday to cross the aisle and work together on passing legislation to address the opioid crisis and corruption in sober homes. During a brief presentation at a meeting of the Palm Beach County Commission and its Legislative Delegation, Democratic Senator Jeff Clemens of Lake Worth urged his colleagues to support a bill soon to be proposed by Republican Rep. Bill Hager...
Boynton continues temporary ban on new sober homes

Boynton continues temporary ban on new sober homes

Boynton Beach is continuing its six-month ban on new group homes including sober homes, and on Tuesday gave residents a chance to speak out against the move. But no one did. The city commissioners first approved the moratorium Dec. 6. The city’s staff requested the halt to have time to review the updated guidelines pertaining to group homes released Nov. 10 by the federal departments of Justice...
Post’s sober home, heroin coverage kickstarts official action

Post’s sober home, heroin coverage kickstarts official action

In 2016, officials took the first steps to clean up the fraud-ridden addiction treatment industry and curb the alarming rise of lives cut short by heroin-related overdoses. Every level of government — local, state and federal — acted after The Palm Beach Post’s 18 months of exclusive reporting on the addiction treatment industry and its special report Nov. 20 report, Heroin...
From Donald Trump to Dalia Dippolito: Palm Beach County’s top stories

From Donald Trump to Dalia Dippolito: Palm Beach County’s top stories

The next president of the United States has a place right here. And that’s just part of a wild news year in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. Here are the area’s top 10 stories, as determined, and chronicled, by Post editors and reporters, with help from statistics on how popular news stories were with readers. 1. President Trump: It’s one of the most shocking upsets in U...
Suspect in drug treatment fraud released on house arrest

Suspect in drug treatment fraud released on house arrest

One of the six people arrested as part of an alleged drug treatment fraud scheme reportedly orchestrated by Kenny Chatman was allowed to be released on bond on Thursday. Fransesia “Francine” Davis, 44, will be confined to house arrest after her father and aunt posted her $250,000 bond. She will live with her aunt and won’t be allowed to leave the house except to go to court, meet...
Evidence of sex slavery cited to keep treatment center owner jailed

Evidence of sex slavery cited to keep treatment center owner jailed

After one woman went to police about notorious drug treatment center owner Kenny Chatman, she said his employees took her away in a van and gave her a choice: sign something recanting her statement, or be killed. Investigators last week found evidence backing up her claim. In Chatman’s office safe was her signed statement, witnessed by a notary, according to a Tuesday court filing signed...
Patient-brokering charges against treatment center CEO ramped up to 95

Patient-brokering charges against treatment center CEO ramped up to 95

Already arrested on a handful of patient brokering charges in October, addiction treatment center executive James Kigar is now facing a total of 95 separate criminal counts linked to cashing in on recovering addicts. The spate of extra patient-brokering allegations were filed Dec. 20, according to court records, less than a week after a ninth arrest was made in connection with what prosecutors...
Rubio cites Post coverage, asks feds to review grand jury report

Rubio cites Post coverage, asks feds to review grand jury report

Local prosecutors hoped that state regulators would consider a Palm Beach County grand jury’s recommendations on fixing the crime-plagued sober home industry. Now, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, wants the federal government to see whether the grand jury report should change laws across the country. Citing the wake-up call delivered by The Palm Beach Post’s “Heroin: Killer of a...

POINT OF VIEW Grand jury’s sober home report lacks balance

The Palm Beach Post’s Dec. 13 story, “Sober home report cites patient abuse,” accepted without question the grand jury’s “Report on the Proliferation of Fraud and Abuse in Florida’s Addiction Treatment Industry.” I believe grand juries can and do perform important functions, but they need to be “fair and balanced”. The report correctly concludes...
State vows to step up in wake of treatment center owner’s arrest

State vows to step up in wake of treatment center owner’s arrest

Staff writer Jane Musgrave contributed to this story. When felon Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman crossed the border from Mexico in November, he told U.S. Customs agents he was the owner and operator of Reflections Treatment Center and that his wife, Laura, was a “stay-at-home mom,” according to court documents.  This would be news to the state’s Department of Children...
Rubio: Feds should consider Palm Beach County sober home fixes

Rubio: Feds should consider Palm Beach County sober home fixes

Federal officials raid a sober home at 1501 N. Federal Hwy., Lake Worth, on Dec. 21, 2016. Officials charged owner Kenny Chatman and five others with health-care fraud in an ongoing crackdown on sober homes in Palm Beach County.
Feds look to charge sober home operator with overdose deaths

Feds look to charge sober home operator with overdose deaths

A suburban Boynton Beach man who built a phony drug treatment empire despite having a felony record and just an 11th-grade education may soon face possible life sentences for overdose deaths that occurred at sober homes he operated throughout Palm Beach County, a federal prosecutor said Thursday. A day after Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman, the subject of an investigaton by The Palm Beach Post...
UPDATE: Subject of Post investigation arrested in sober home fraud

UPDATE: Subject of Post investigation arrested in sober home fraud

Staff writers Olivia Hitchcock, Mike Stucka and Hannah Winston and researcher Melanie Mena contributed to this story. A drug treatment center operator exposed by The Palm Beach Post for his ties to prostitution was among six people arrested and charged Wednesday in a wide-ranging health-care fraud scheme that reveals the sordid underbelly of the drug treatment industry. Kenneth “Kenny&rdquo...
Subject of Post investigation arrested in sober home fraud

Subject of Post investigation arrested in sober home fraud

A sober home operator linked to prostitution and fraud is among six people arrested and charged Wednesday in a wide-ranging health-care fraud scheme that details the sordid underbelly of the drug treatment industry as exposed in stories by The Palm Beach Post over the past year. Kenny Chatman, 46, of Boynton Beach is one of six people named in a federal complaint alleging a scheme to file fraudulent...
Delray to Boynton: Your moratorium on sober homes is ‘unconstitutional’

Delray to Boynton: Your moratorium on sober homes is ‘unconstitutional’

Delray Beach and Boynton Beach differ on their attempts to regulate group homes that include sober homes, causing some tension between the neighboring cities in southern Palm Beach County. Earlier this month, Boynton issued a six-month moratorium on group homes, saying staff needs time to understand and evaluate recently updated federal guidelines. On Monday, Delray Beach’s mayor called the...
How to curtail sober home abuses? Task force proposes getting tough

How to curtail sober home abuses? Task force proposes getting tough

Palm Beach County’s Sober Home Task Force unveiled its recommendations to the Legislature on Monday, focusing on giving state officials and law enforcement greater powers to police the fraud-ridden drug treatment industry. Under the proposals , the Department of Children and Family Services would be allowed to oversee some sober homes, so-called “marketers” in...
Cost of heroin epidemic tops $1 billion a year in Florida

Cost of heroin epidemic tops $1 billion a year in Florida

Staff writers John Kennedy and Lawrence Mower contributed to this story. There is a hard-dollar cost attached to the heroin epidemic now burning through Florida: more than $1.1 billion a year in hospital charges as of October 2015, $4.1 million a day — and rising. No west coast beach side community is too upscale, no Florida Panhandle town too small for a nearby hospital to be free from the...
Help with heroin crisis? State says ‘No’ to $10 million grant

Help with heroin crisis? State says ‘No’ to $10 million grant

As heroin’s deadly grip tightens on Palm Beach County, the Health Care District reached out its hand to the state to assist in the growing crisis. It came back empty. The Department of Children and Families denied the Health Care District of Palm Beach County’s request for a $10 million grant to launch a new program to herd addicts into treatment when they land in hospital emergency...
Lawmakers target heroin epidemic with two bills

Lawmakers target heroin epidemic with two bills

Two Florida lawmakers have responded to the opioid epidemic with bills that would increase sentences for selling fentanyl and require hospitals to provide additional care for overdose victims. The bills are the first introduced in the Florida Legislature’s 2017 addressing the opioid epidemic. The session begins on March 7. HB 61, filed by Rep. Larry Lee, D-Port St. Lucie, requires hospitals...
Price of heroin overdose antidote Narcan rises as much as 500 percent

Price of heroin overdose antidote Narcan rises as much as 500 percent

The price of Narcan — the lifesaving heroin-overdose antidote — has skyrocketed, with one formulation rising more than 500 percent in two years, an article in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine reported. Although Narcan first hit the market in 1971, demand has skyrocketed as the nationwide heroin epidemic worsens. And with more potent opioids on the street, the largest consumers...
Lake Worth sober home owner charged with patient brokering

Lake Worth sober home owner charged with patient brokering

The owner of a Lake Worth sober home was arrested in Broward County today on charges on patient brokering for allegedly accepting payments from a treatment center for each addict he enrolled in the center’s programs. Alex Vandervert, owner of Saje House, received $3,335 from Whole Life Recovery for providing case management services to four residents living at Saje House, according...
Heroin epidemic: $25,000 donation to help county buy overdose antidote naloxone

Heroin epidemic: $25,000 donation to help county buy overdose antidote naloxone

A private Lake Worth drug treatment center today donated $25,000 to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue to buy Narcan, a brand name for the expensive overdose antidote naloxone.

POINT OF VIEW End the stigma of addiction and treatment

Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding addiction and addiction treatment stops too many of the 24 million Americans who struggle with drugs or alcohol from getting the help they need. In fact, only 2 million seek treatment. We want to change that. That is why we recently launched the “We Do Recover” movement with the goal of saving lives by ending the stigma. We are doing this in several...
Grand jury proposes sweeping sober home industry reforms

Grand jury proposes sweeping sober home industry reforms

A three-month grand jury investigation into corruption in the drug treatment industry — believed to be the first in the country — uncovered evidence of sexual abuse, human trafficking and forced labor in addition to patient brokering and insurance fraud. The 37-page report proposes 15 sweeping proposals to change laws and increase criminal penalties for the exploitation of addicts seeking...
$400,000 allegedly missing in case of professional guardian Savitt

$400,000 allegedly missing in case of professional guardian Savitt

Editor Holly Baltz contributed to this story. At least $400,000 is missing from the life savings of an incapacitated senior assigned to professional guardian Elizabeth Savitt — wife of Circuit Judge Martin Colin, the senior’s former lawyers claim in court documents. Savitt received the guardianship appointment just a few months before she paid off a $308,000 foreclosure...
Frankel lends an ear to locals on opioid epidemic: ‘It’s overwhelming’