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NAATP closes a costly chapter, looks ahead

May 31, 2011
by Dennis Grantham, Senior Editor
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Provider group gets “substantial” restitution from former CEO, sets new strategic plan

While newly appointed CEO Karen Carpenter-Palumbo waited in the wings, the board of the National Association for Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP, Lancaster, Pa.) announced an agreement that resolves financial and legal concerns stemming from the misappropriation of some $500,000 by NAATP’s former CEO.

The misappropriation, which came to light in late March 2010, resulted in the abrupt termination of Ronald Hunsicker, the organization’s longtime CEO, in late March of last year. The announcement was made at the board meeting during NAATP’s annual conference in Phoenix, Ariz.

“NAATP has completed a settlement process with its former CEO, Ronald Hunsicker, in which we have received substantial sums in restitution totaling $453,600 so far,” said Cathy Palm, the organization’s outgoing board chairman.

Under terms of the agreement, Palm said that Hunsicker “releases all member organizations or individual members of NAATP or association members from any future claims or litigation.” Palm added that the NAATP agreement also releases Hunsicker from future claims under the known facts of the case. However, the agreement enables NAATP to respond “freely and fully” should any future criminal prosecution, IRS claims, or third-party claims against Hunsicker occur.

Palm, herself a certified public accountant and CEO at Tully Hill, noted that NAATP has, under the leadership of its board, now incorporated a system of financial controls to thwart future problems. While her term as NAATP’s board chair has concluded, Palm will remain a board member through the conclusion of her five year term of service. Earlier at the conference, she introduced Kermit Dahlen, President and CEO of Jackson Recovery Centers (Sioux City, Iowa) as NAATP’s new board chairman.

Nancy Armatas, an attorney with Armatas & Associates (Chicago, Ill.) who assisted NAATP leaders throughout the funds misappropriation crisis, explained that NAATP also inked an agreement with the charitable organizations division of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office, closing an investigation that began in early 2010. Under the agreement, NAATP has agreed to pay a $20,000 fine and acknowledge four failures in its financial controls:

  • Failure to keep accurate books
  • Failure to exercise accurate oversight
  • Enact and maintain appropriate policies
  • Failure to review business expenses

NAATP’s acting CEO, Dennis Gilhousen, who was called out of retirement due to Hunsicker’s termination on March 31, 2010, closed the meeting, as well as his interim leadership at NAATP, by delivering a summary of the organization’s new strategic plan.

The plan calls for further strengthening of NAATP ‘s internal leadership structure, elevation of NAATP’s status as a leader in the addiction treatment field, stronger NAATP support for services that enhance addiction treatment quality, and stronger alliances around public policy and public education with like-minded organizations.