PARKERSBURG — The federal government is seeking to reclaim land it gave to a now-shuttered mental health and substance abuse facility for the homeless and others, citing failures to provide certain annual reports.
What that means for an 80-bed Recovery Point substance abuse recovery facility that rents space on the property is unclear.
In a lawsuit filed last week in federal court, lawyers with U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart’s office asked a judge to remove ownership of the property from Integrated Community Services, a nonprofit mental health care provider, and return it to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Recovery Point’s interim executive director, Trenton Sturgill, declined to answer several questions, citing ongoing litigation, but said it’s the hope of the operation to stay where it is.
“We’ve been in contact with the proper authorities to maintain we ensure the occupancy of the building,” he said.
According to the lawsuit, ICS was notified in June 2018 that it was late in filing its “Annual Utilization Report.” This report is required to be submitted every year to prove ongoing use of the property.
HHS, the suit states, could not reach ICS by phone or email.
By October 2018 and still without success reaching ICS or its president, Roger Bradley, HHS staff reached out to the Recovery Point facility. Facility staff told HHS it had been weeks since they had seen or heard from Bradley.
Later that month, a “friend” of Bradley came by to pick up Recovery Point’s rent check, according to the suit. HHS then told Recovery Point to hold all future rent checks “for the benefit of the federal government while this matter was being investigated.”
On April 18, 2019, HHS sent a letter to Bradley and ICS that said given the lack of compliance, the department was taking final administrative action to transfer the property to “another entity as permitted by the terms of the deed and federal law.”
The ICS building did not appear to be in use Monday. A number of different phone numbers associated with the organization are out of service. It hasn’t completed an annual report with the Secretary of State’s Office since 2016.
Seth Brown, director of programming at Recovery Point, said ICS has not occupied the building for six to eight months.
The federal government gave the property to ICS, then known as Worthington Mental Health Services, in 2006 under federal laws that allow for the transfer of property in the interests of public health and serving the homeless population. The agreement called for the facility to make full use of the property and provide the government annual updates about its homeless assistance supportive services.
A spokeswoman for Stuart declined to comment on the case or what a property transfer would mean for Recovery Point.
Because ICS is a nonprofit, its tax returns are publicized each year. A representative with Altman and Associates PLLC, which has prepared tax forms for ICS for several years, most recently in tax year 2015, declined to comment or forward a message to the organization.
“I don’t even recognize that as a client,” he said.