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Trump to return for sixth time, this time with Chinese president

President Donald Trump will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach next week, according to Lantana Police Chief Sean Scheller. Scheller made the announcement Monday at the Lantana Town Council meeting, and said the Chinese president plans to stay at the Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa in Manalapan. He will be in town April 6 (Thursday) and 7 (Friday). RELATED...

I couldn’t save my daughter

County aide ‘knew who to call’ but couldn’t stop death from addiction
Special Presentation

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
Palm Beach County considers czar, spending $1 million in opioid fight

Palm Beach County considers czar, spending $1 million in opioid fight

Palm Beach County commissioners will consider a variety of options next Tuesday to combat the rampaging opioid epidemic, including the hiring of a senior-level administrative staffer, creating two new positions with the Medical Examiner’s Office and pouring $1 million into a range of treatment programs. Those options are among the recommendations of a 72-page report outlining the scope of the...
Judge asks governor for opioids help: ‘It’s just the right thing to do’

Judge asks governor for opioids help: ‘It’s just the right thing to do’

As Palm Beach County’s chief circuit judge, Jeffrey Colbath has had a courtroom view of the opioid epidemic’s toll on society during the past few years. He also is aware that local leaders have pleaded to Gov. Rick Scott for help to curb the crisis, only to be ignored. That’s why Colbath decided to write his own letter to Scott, asking the governor to declare a public-health emergency...
Heroin Crisis: Chief Judge Colbath latest public official urging governor to help

Heroin Crisis: Chief Judge Colbath latest public official urging governor to help

Palm Beach County Chief Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath has joined a growing list of public officials asking Gov.
Doctor who worked at notorious treatment center pleads guilty

Doctor who worked at notorious treatment center pleads guilty

One of the three doctors accused of helping notorious drug treatment operator Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman commit millions of dollars in fraud pleaded guilty Thursday. Dr. Donald Willems, who was out on bond until he was caught last week prescribing drugs to himself, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. He could spend up to 10 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled...
Citing Palm Beach County, Nelson urges lawmakers to save funding for opioid epidemic

Citing Palm Beach County, Nelson urges lawmakers to save funding for opioid epidemic

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson took to the Senate floor today to urge his colleagues not to take up any legislation that would reduce money and efforts  to combat the nation’s growing opioid epidemic.
EXCLUSIVE: Dad wants Cash Me Outside girl out of Hollywood, in therapy

EXCLUSIVE: Dad wants Cash Me Outside girl out of Hollywood, in therapy

Around this time a year ago, Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy Ira Peskowitz stood in a greeting card aisle, fingers trembling as he fumbled through rows of pink and purple birthday wishes to find something pretty for a little girl with eyes like his. Months before the six words she uttered on a Dr. Phil episode propelled her to internet infamy, Danielle Peskowitz Bregoli reluctantly...
UPDATE: Ex-PBSO deputy bonds out of jail on patient-brokering charges

UPDATE: Ex-PBSO deputy bonds out of jail on patient-brokering charges

A former Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy arrested Tuesday on patient-brokering charges has been released from the county jail. West Palm Beach police say Robert “Bobby” Simeone, 46, posted $45,000 bond late Tuesday, hours after his arrest. He is accused of paying two sober home owners hundreds of dollars a week to send their residents last year to his center, Epiphany’s...
Former deputy, state House candidate faces patient brokering charges

Former deputy, state House candidate faces patient brokering charges

A former Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy who left to open a West Palm Beach drug treatment center was arrested Tuesday on 15 counts of patient brokering. Robert “Bobby” Simeone, 46, owner of Epiphany’s Treatment Center and an unsuccessful 2016 candidate for state House, was the latest person arrested by the State Attorney’s Sober Home Task Force, which now ...
Did Sheriff Ric Bradshaw mislead ethics investigator?

Did Sheriff Ric Bradshaw mislead ethics investigator?

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and his chief deputy appear to have misled a state ethics investigator looking into whether they used their position to go after political enemies, the investigator’s findings and sheriff’s records show. Both Bradshaw and Chief Deputy Michael Gauger told the investigator, under oath, that they had never instructed an investigator to go after political...
Medical Examiner reports at least 10 overdose deaths today

Medical Examiner reports at least 10 overdose deaths today

Is there a bad batch of heroin on the street? The Medical Examiner tweets that they have had 10 overdose deaths today alone, raising the possibility an especially lethal version of heroin is being sold locally.
Sober home owner Kenny Chatman pleads guilty, faces life in prison

Sober home owner Kenny Chatman pleads guilty, faces life in prison

Notorious drug treatment center owner Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracies to commit money laundering, health care fraud and sex trafficking, charges that could land him in prison for life. Handcuffed and shackled, Chatman listened as a federal prosecutor told how he turned patients into prostitutes: He gave them drugs to induce them. He pimped them on the websites...
Owner of notorious drug treatment center pleads guilty today

Owner of notorious drug treatment center pleads guilty today

Drug treatment center owner Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to commit health care fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to recruit persons into sexual acts, a charge that could send him to prison for life.
State ethics board clears Palm Beach County Sheriff, two others

State ethics board clears Palm Beach County Sheriff, two others

The Florida Commission on Ethics cleared Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and his chief deputy on allegations he misused his position to investigate another candidate for sheriff.
Heroin crisis: Martin County asks governor to declare health emergency

Heroin crisis: Martin County asks governor to declare health emergency

Heroin crisis: Post reporter to moderate opioids panel at national conference

Heroin crisis: Post reporter to moderate opioids panel at national conference

As a lifelong resident of Palm Beach County, Clarence Anthony knows he is in a unique position to help shine a spotlight on the opioid crisis tearing apart communities across the United States.
2 candidates among 500 who got ‘no cutoff’ status from water utility

2 candidates among 500 who got ‘no cutoff’ status from water utility

The city’s utilities department has a special code it places on accounts where a life-safety issue exists to prevent staff from turning off the water if the account holder doesn’t pay the bill. More than a year ago, after utilities director Colin Groff ordered a routine audit of all accounts to make sure they were recorded properly in the department’s financial system, the staff...
Doctor in Chatman case caught working for drug treatment center

Doctor in Chatman case caught working for drug treatment center

Dr. Donald Willems, one of two doctors charged with insurance fraud at notorious drug treatment programs operated by Kenneth Chatman, was re-arrested on Friday and accused of violating the conditions of his bond. According to court records unsealed Friday afternoon, Willems continued working for a drug treatment facility, wrote prescriptions without a license and had contact with witnesses &mdash...
How The Post got the absentee ballot story

How The Post got the absentee ballot story

Spurred by unusually high vote-by-mail turnouts in south county neighborhoods in both the March and August elections in 2016, Palm Beach Post reporters went door to door and talked to dozens of voters to find out why. Many residents could not say whom they voted for. They said they were directed how to vote by candidates and campaign workers, who casually came into their homes and were fixtures in...
Candidates paid high amount of campaign money to friend for signs

Candidates paid high amount of campaign money to friend for signs

Three allied candidates who generated thousands of votes by mail in the August Democratic primary had something else in common: unusually high payments for campaign signs to an obscure company run by one of their friends. Campaign insiders wonder why any candidate would spend so much money on yard signs — considered a necessary but ineffective part of any campaign. County Commissioner Mack...
EXCLUSIVE: Winning candidates helped voters fill out their ballots

EXCLUSIVE: Winning candidates helped voters fill out their ballots

A Palm Beach County commissioner and a state House member clinched their seats last year by stepping into voters’ homes and helping them fill out their mail-in ballots, a Palm Beach Post investigation has found. Commissioner Mack Bernard and Rep. Al Jacquet, both Democrats running in the August primary, took advantage of gaping holes in Florida’s vote-by-mail laws to pressure and cajole...
Comparing signatures: Good enough to hang an election on?

Comparing signatures: Good enough to hang an election on?

Comparing signatures is assumed to be a foolproof method of verifying someone’s identity. Indeed, with a third of Florida voters now voting by mail, elections depend on it. But in reality, it’s a poor way to confirm a voter’s identity, experts say, and it’s far less secure than showing an ID at the polls. Elections workers charged with verifying signatures are not certified...
Why 30% of Florida’s voting is ripe for fraud

Why 30% of Florida’s voting is ripe for fraud

Florida law has failed to keep up with the growing popularity of mail-in voting, leaving candidates and campaigns free to manipulate voters — even to the point of helping them fill out their ballots, a Palm Beach Post investigation found. Legislators haven’t helped. They’ve taken away valuable tools and ignored warnings to reform the absentee ballot system, which now accounts...
New charges in Kenny Chatman case: Evidence “massive”

New charges in Kenny Chatman case: Evidence “massive”

  New charges have been filed against a doctor who worked for Kenneth Chatman’s notorious sober home operation, where women addicts were prostituted, held against their will and allowed to continue using drugs, according to court records. The new charges against Dr. Joaquin Mendez include conspiracy to commit health care fraud, giving a false statement relating to health-care fraud and...
Delray mayor to lawmakers: ‘We are being crushed’ by opioid epidemic

Delray mayor to lawmakers: ‘We are being crushed’ by opioid epidemic

One day after Florida Governor Rick Scott did not mention the opioid crisis during his State of the State address, a contingent of 250 Palm Beach County officials pressed legislators hard Wednesday for help to combat a problem that has devastated families and strained first responders. During a meeting with state Senate President Joe Negron — one of 50 meetings county officials had...
Sober home task force raid nets 20th arrest

Sober home task force raid nets 20th arrest

The Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force made its 20th arrest on Wednesday, charging Steve Johnson with 48 counts of patient brokering, alleging he paid referral fees to sober home operators for insured addicts. Johnson, 45, a 1990 graduate of Wellington High School, was being booked into the Palm Beach County Detention Center on Wednesday morning as agents raided Palm Beach Recovery & Wellness...
Three more sober home operators arrested in Delray Beach

Three more sober home operators arrested in Delray Beach

Two brothers and a tattoo artist surrendered at the Palm Beach County jail on Sunday after learning they were being charged with dozens of counts of patient brokering for allegedly accepting kickbacks from Chapters Recovery, a drug treatment center in Delray Beach. Brothers Adam, 25, and Eric, 28 Lahr, of Palm Beach Gardens, each face 34 counts of patient brokering. According to arrest reports, the...
POINT OF VIEW Whose child has to die before somebody does something?

POINT OF VIEW Whose child has to die before somebody does something?

“Whose child has to die before somebody does something?” That was the question my former aide, Johnnie Easton, asked me shortly after I was elected. It was one of what would become many sleepless nights she had to call me to tell me she would be late because she was out searching the streets for her daughter, Tasha. In mid-November of 2016, she got the answer to that question. Hers. Since...
ANALYSIS: Trump nudges conservatism toward his brand of nationalism

ANALYSIS: Trump nudges conservatism toward his brand of nationalism

President Donald Trump has had a bumpy history with the conservative movement. The part-time Palm Beacher is a former Hillary Clinton donor who once said George W. Bush should have been impeached and whose variegated ideological past includes support for abortion rights, universal health care, an assault weapons ban and a massive “wealth tax.” Only a year ago, as Trump was emerging as...
Drug treatment CEO arrested on 93 counts of patient brokering

Drug treatment CEO arrested on 93 counts of patient brokering

The owner of a Delray Beach drug treatment center raided in December was arrested Thursday on 93 counts of patient brokering for allegedly paying kickbacks to sober home owners who enrolled insured addicts his treatment program. Daniel Kandler, 41, owner of Chapters Recovery - formerly known as Good Future Recovery - was arrested on Thursday morning by the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force...
Therapist: 90% of addicts in Chatman sober homes openly used drugs

Therapist: 90% of addicts in Chatman sober homes openly used drugs

As many as 90 percent of the addicts who were supposed to be getting treatment while living in sober homes connected to the notorious drug-treatment businesses operated by Kenneth Chatman were openly using drugs, enabling Chatman to continue billing their insurance for millions of dollars in unnecessary drug tests, according to the former clinical treatment director. New details of Chatman’s...
At least 60 people expected tonight at heroin strategy meeting

At least 60 people expected tonight at heroin strategy meeting

Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay said she is expecting at least 60 people tonight at an informal meeting with families affected by the opioid epidemic.
Drug-treatment operator Kenneth Chatman expected to plead guilty

Drug-treatment operator Kenneth Chatman expected to plead guilty

Kenneth Chatman, the accused operator of a notorious drug-treatment business who allegedly pimped out female addicts, is expected to plead guilty in a federal case that accuses him of money laundering, health care fraud and sex trafficking, recently filed court records show. The documents also reveal that investigators recorded more than 100 phone calls Chatman has made in jail since his arrest in...
EXCLUSIVE: Workers say contractor fired them after immigration protest

EXCLUSIVE: Workers say contractor fired them after immigration protest

On Thursday, 40 employees of a Boca Raton construction company skipped work to participate in a national “Day Without Immigrants” protest. When they returned to their Miami job site Friday, workers say, four were fired — although the employer said the terminations were unrelated to the protest. The other 36 decided to sit out another day to support the fired workers. READ ALSO: Trump...
State checks World War II sites at PBIA, Trump club for contamination

State checks World War II sites at PBIA, Trump club for contamination

When World War II ended, and the boys came home, the federal government turned most of its military sites to federal, local or private entities. But they also left in the ground gasoline and oil, lead and other chemicals, machinery, and even bullets and bombs. At the end of the 20th century, governments tested several of those sites, including an area in and around Palm Beach International Airport...
Heroin crisis: County commissioner “disappointed” by Governor’s lack of “urgency”

Heroin crisis: County commissioner “disappointed” by Governor’s lack of “urgency”

A week after asking Gov. Rick Scott to declare a public health emergency over the opioid crisis, Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay said Thursday she was “pretty disappointed” with the response she received from Scott’s office earlier this week.
Voters will head to the polls March 14 in 21 cities, towns

Voters will head to the polls March 14 in 21 cities, towns

Voters in 21 of Palm Beach County’s 39 cities and towns will head to the polls on March 14, while others will see their elected leaders return to office unopposed. As the qualifying period for most municipal elections ended Tuesday, no one filed paperwork to challenge 42 candidates, including 35 incumbents. That means 12 of the county’s cities and towns won’t hold elections next...

EXCLUSIVE: Who’s running for municipal office in Palm Beach County

Here are the municipal office candidates who qualified for the March 14 election in Palm Beach County. Those marked with an asterisk (*) have no opposition and are automatically elected. Incumbents are indicated with an (i). ATLANTIS City Council Group 2 Aaron Rinker (i)* City Council Group 4 Michael LaCoursiere (i)* BELLE GLADE City Commission Seat B Steve B. Wilson (i) Yousef Muslet BOCA RATON Mayor...
Exclusive: Related, Hilton eye second hotel at convention center

Exclusive: Related, Hilton eye second hotel at convention center

Hilton Hotels and the Related Cos. are so pleased with the success of their new Hilton West Palm Beach at the county convention center, the companies are talking about building another hotel at the site. The early talks center on building a boutique Hilton hotel, likely the luxury Curio Collection, next to the West Palm Beach Hilton at 600 Okeechobee Blvd. The 200-room boutique hotel would be...
FBI: Sober home owner offered deal: Prostitute yourself or steal

FBI: Sober home owner offered deal: Prostitute yourself or steal

The investigation into Kenny Chatman’s drug treatment empire began in September 2013, when two patients at a treatment center operated by him told West Palm Beach police that Chatman provided them with drugs and condoms and forced them into prostitution. Police told the FBI about the patients’ claims and as the investigation progressed over three years, more witnesses came forward with...
How a new rule could help Gardens keep tabs on sober homes

How a new rule could help Gardens keep tabs on sober homes

When a sober home isn’t helping their patients get better, there’s not much officials in Palm Beach Gardens or any other city can do. But that could soon change. Addiction is classified as a disability under federal law, so people who are in recovery are protected by the Fair Housing and Americans With Disabilities Acts. When a municipality’s regulations are challenged, the U.S....
EXCLUSIVE: Dr. Phil ‘Cash me outside’ viral star is from Boynton

EXCLUSIVE: Dr. Phil ‘Cash me outside’ viral star is from Boynton

If you haven’t heard about the “Cash me Outside” girl, you must have dial-up Internet and a Nokia. Seriously. Here’s what the world already knows: The current obsession with Danielle Bregoli, 13, started last year after she appeared on an episode of Dr. Phil (video below). Her unique, Cajun-street-thug persona and rowdy attitude inspired memes, bitmojis ...
Boca Raton treatment center owner charged with patient brokering

Boca Raton treatment center owner charged with patient brokering

UPDATE: A judge set bond on Thursday at $75,000 for James Tomasso, a drug treatment owner with two prior fraud convictions and 25 new charges of patient brokering. However, before Tomasso can post bail, he must prove at a court hearing Friday that money to be used to get out of jail did not come from illegal activities. Tomasso, 57, was arrested on Wednesday after the Palm Beach County Sober Home...
Lantana airport boss: Continued Trump visits could ‘kill this airport’

Lantana airport boss: Continued Trump visits could ‘kill this airport’

The total in estimated lost commerce from President Donald Trump’s first weekend visit to Palm Beach is up to nearly a quarter million dollars, according to a county report. Tops on the list: $217,000 in lost gross revenue by a “fixed base operator” at Palm Beach International Airport. On top of that, small plane traffic at PBIA dropped by 30 to 40 percent during the weekend because...
“Bizarre and unusual” judge says of PBSO claims in Seth Adams’ death

“Bizarre and unusual” judge says of PBSO claims in Seth Adams’ death

When Lydia Adams rushed to St. Mary’s Medical Center nearly five years ago after learning her son, Seth, had been shot by a Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy, she didn’t know he was dead. Seeing his bare, blood-covered body on a gurney, she ran to him. Instantly, she says, she was grabbed by a sheriff’s crime scene investigator and thrown to the floor. “Get away. He&rsquo...
2nd sober home owner linked to Chatman pleads guilty to health fraud

2nd sober home owner linked to Chatman pleads guilty to health fraud

The owner of Redemption sober homes in Delray Beach on Tuesday pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud for accepting $240,000 in kickbacks from Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman, who is accused in a wide-ranging scheme to use people in recovery to rip off insurance companies. Michael Bonds, who said he completed a 28-day drug and alcohol treatment program in 2006 before opening...
Frankel double-play: Marches against Donald Trump, then attends ball

Frankel double-play: Marches against Donald Trump, then attends ball

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, pulled off an unusual political double-play Saturday. She spent an hour marching with anti-Trump protesters in downtown West Palm Beach, then crossed the Intracoastal Waterway to Palm Beach, where she mingled with Trump at the annual Red Cross Charity ball at Mar-a-Lago. “It was very interesting going over to the Red Cross...
Body-builder pleads guilty to role in massive sober house scheme

Body-builder pleads guilty to role in massive sober house scheme

A model and body-builder who worked as a salesman for a Boca Raton medical laboratory pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiracy to commit health-care fraud in connection with what federal prosecutors claim was a far-reaching scheme to use people in recovery to bilk insurance companies out of millions. Stefan Gatt’s plea indicates that those who worked with Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman, who...
Trump’s first 100 tweets as president come in first 17 days — an analysis

Trump’s first 100 tweets as president come in first 17 days — an analysis

As president-elect, Donald Trump said he’d be “very restrained” in his use of Twitter once he took the oath of office. But 100 tweets into the Trump presidency, the @realDonaldTrump Twitter feed remains a freewheeling electronic space where the new commander in chief pushes back at the media, tosses bouquets and brickbats, makes 140-character policy arguments, warns leaders...
Live via video feed: Doctors treating addicts

Live via video feed: Doctors treating addicts

The next big thing in drug treatment: Telemedicine. Among the topics that kicked off the annual meeting of the Addiction Industry Executive Summit in Naples last week was using the internet to remotely treat recovering addicts. Telemedicine allows doctors and therapists to communicate with patients via live video — similar to Skype or Facetime. According to the American Medical Association,...
Golf club members who fought Trump and won: Lawsuit a wild ride

Golf club members who fought Trump and won: Lawsuit a wild ride

Norman Hirsch, a self-described “nerd” who grew up in South Florida, and Matthew Dwyer, a Boston real estate investor, insist they’re not the kind of people who impulsively head to court as a way to punish people for petty slights. But, they said, actions that now President Donald Trump took when he bought a financially troubled country club on Donald Ross Road and turned it into...
2,000 expected for modified Trump protest march in West Palm

2,000 expected for modified Trump protest march in West Palm

The March to Mar-a-Lago is no longer a march to Mar-a-Lago. It’s still a protest march scheduled for Saturday in West Palm Beach, but it’s half a mile shorter and may not offer the most ideal view of President Trump’s winter White House. That’s the result of a flurry of changes Thursday when two activist groups pledged to move forward with the march after the original organizer...
Bodybuilder pleads not guilty in fraud scheme tied to drug treatment

Bodybuilder pleads not guilty in fraud scheme tied to drug treatment

Stefan Gatt, accused of participating in a drug treatment fraud scheme orchestrated by Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman, pleaded not guilty today in federal court. Federal prosecutors said last week that Gatt, a 27-year-old bodybuilder charged with a single count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, collected urine and saliva samples from Chatman’s two drug treatment centers, Journey...
Bills urge help for addicts in ERs and prompt RX drug reporting

Bills urge help for addicts in ERs and prompt RX drug reporting

Pharmacists and doctors who participate in the state’s prescription drug monitoring program would be required to report every prescription they fill for opiates and other controlled substances within 24 hours under a bill introduced on Friday. HB 557 was filed by Rep. Nicholas Duran, D-Miami. There is no companion bill in the Senate.  Currently, pharmacists and doctors who participate...

POINT OF VIEW: We need community-based solutions to fight drug abuse

If you think drug misuse and abuse doesn’t affect the business community, think again. From 2000 to 2010 there was a dramatic increase in opioid addiction statewide, with Broward County having the highest number of consequences. Unfortunately, the problem still persists today with 401 hospital admissions for opioid overdoses in Broward County during 2013, the most current reporting year. Among...
Treatment center operator Kenny Chatman indicted, pleads not guilty

Treatment center operator Kenny Chatman indicted, pleads not guilty

Addiction treatment center operator Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman on Thursday pleaded not guilty to a sweeping 17-count indictment that accuses him of money laundering, health care fraud and sex trafficking, charges that could send him to prison for life. The indictment, handed up Tuesday, showcases federal prosecutors plans to shut down what they called the 46-year-old suburban Boynton Beach...

State preparing to battle opioid crisis

One after another, politicians, policy makers, police and scientists stepped up to a podium during a news conference in Tallahassee on Wednesday and tried to find words to reflect the dire state of Florida’s opioid crisis. “This is truly, after 33 years of tracking drug trends in the state of Florida, the most rapidly rising and critical crisis in our lifetime and in the history of Florida...
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

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 million jury verdict for Stephens last year, said he got...
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

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 and Families, which issued a license to Laura Chatman...
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.