IMPLOSION AT ALSANA/CASTLEWOOD
Updated: Oct 2
Former Top Executives of Alsana/Castlewood Expose Truths, Take Legal Actions...
UGH! I don't know how to feel about this! I have been doing this dance for twelve agonizing years now. I'm tired. We at CVU have thrown everything, including the proverbial "kitchen sink" at Alsana/Castlewood this entire time. Yet, the place(s) are still here, still damaging vulnerable clients, still raking in boatloads of money from their poor victims. Oh we at CVU have certainly given these monsters a few bloody noses! Even scored a few knockdowns! But these hideous beasts (sticking with my boxing analogy) "take the count", climb off the canvass, and get back to hurting people. How? Money. Why? Money. They have endless streams of revenue pouring into their bank accounts. Money earned by horrifically hurting others. We just have the payroll from my blue-collar jobs. They win. But as tired and worn out as we are, as much as we want to "throw in the towel" (guess I'm still on the boxing roll), we keep exposing them.
Now the animals at Alsana/Castlewood are exposing themselves. For all these years we have been clearly illustrating that Alsana/Castlewood is all about the money, NOT the well-being of the clients/patients. We have been screaming from digital mountaintops that at this horrible place, client/patient care is FAR less important than grabbing money from those poor people they claim to be helping. Well, now in some new filthy basement pit-fight the former CEO of Alsana/Castlewood and a few former top executives are admitting to the claims we at CVU have always made! You just can't make this stuff up!
Do I care? Well, I guess YES and NO. Jennifer Steiner oversaw years of client/patient abuse while running Alsana/Castlewood. All the awful, debunked, sick, cultish "therapy" we've exposed these years. Yes, it happened on her watch too, and will surely occur at her new "Lightfully" (whatever) place. I mean seriously! Right from the get-go she poaches Nicole Siegfried from Alsana/Castlewood. This is the same Siegfried that was exposed and humiliated by Alabama authorities for her shameful and unethical practices. (https://www.castlewoodvictimsunite.org/single-post/2018/07/16/alsana-aka-castlewood-treatment-center-ignores-crime-and-fraud-in-the-mental-health-ind) Of course she ended up at Alsana/Castlewood! That's how they roll. Of course Steiner wants to surround herself with like-minded horrors like herself. I don't know much about the other three in this mess. But I am digging deep now that they're on my radar.
So now we have disgusting self-serving former Alsana/Castlewood executives attacking Alsana/ Castlewood itself! This big ugly filthy pit of rabid animals ripping into each other will surely shine light on many more horrors. So do I care about any of these litigants? NO! Let them devour each other. Do I care about how this is damaging ALL of them? YES. That part is good. You all are proving my points for me. You ALL feign concern for your struggling patient/clients for one singular and soulless purpose. The get into their pockets and take their money.
Here is the narrative of how this is playing out from the Morgan Foundation. I already got my hands on some of the legal documents surrounding this mess. (Yes, I'm good. Real good.) I'll post them later. Click here to see the original post.
Well, I am going to brew a pot of coffee and pop me some popcorn for this show!
Captain Renault: “I’m shocked! Shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.”
Croupier: “Your winnings, sir.”
It is certainly one thing when outsiders attempt to expose issues of great concern regarding organizations. This is particularly true in the eating disorder community.
Outsiders can allege that certain organizations prioritize profit and growth over patient care until the cows come home. We can shout to the mountaintops with righteous indignation. But, more often than not, those admonitions and concerns are taken with the same pound of salt given to that old man who yells at the clouds or hollers out, “You kids get off my lawn!”
But, what if …
What if damning remarks are instead made by insiders in an organization? And not just any insiders, but a Chief Executive Officer and other high-ranking officers? Officers who know. Officers with first-hand knowledge and information. In fact, what if a Chief Executive Officer was fired for expressing concerns to a Board of Directors and the private equity owners/overlords? What are we to make of this situation and is it even remotely possible that this situation did, or does exist?
It does. I give you Exhibit 1 … our old friends at Castlewood/Alsana.
After Jennifer Steiner, the former CEO of Castlewood/Alsana was fired, she left to invest in and start a new entity based in California, Lightfully Behavioral. But all was not rosy with her departure as CEO of Castlewood/Alsana.
In fact, on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 2021, Treatment Center Acquisition Company, LLC filed suit against Ms. Steiner in a California state court. So, who is Treatment Center Acquisition Company, LLC?
Follow along on this one. Apparently, Treatment Center Acquisition Company, LLC is a Missouri limited liability company doing business as Alsana. But then, it claims its majority owner is the Riverside Company which is a Delaware company. However, its sole member is listed as ED Holdings-Castlewood, Inc. a Texas corporation. (A member of an LLC is an owner.) [I’m confused too.] Let’s just call them Alsana.
In the lawsuit, Alsana alleged Ms. Steiner breached a settlement agreement she entered into with Alsana, intentionally solicited and targeted Alsana’s employees to come to Lightfully and made disparaging and denigrating comments about Alsana and its ownership entities.
Now in the past, allegations have been made against Alsana by third parties (including me) that Alsana was more concerned about profiteering and growth at the expense of patient care. But, those allegations, no matter how well-founded, were made by outsiders, by third parties. By people who did not have first-hand knowledge. But … no longer.
NOW, PERSONS ON THE INSIDE, ALSANA’S FORMER HIGHEST RANKING OFFICERS ARE MAKING THE SAME STATEMENTS IN SWORN DECLARATIONS FILED IN A COURT OF LAW.
So, let’s get to them.
Amber Claudon, the former Senior Director of Clinical Programming and Training for Alsana for approximately 1 ½ years stated the following under penalties of perjury:
“As I explained in my June 28th cover email to Ms. Devin which attached my resignation letter, I was resigning from Alsana because I was ”witnessing what I believe to be a severance from the Alsana clinical product that I believe in.” I went on to note that I had ”witnessed a slow shift towards prioritizing growth above all other goals even to the detriment of 19 the clinical product.”
“I left Alsana freely, voluntarily, and of my own accord because I was concerned about the shift towards prioritizing growth above all other goals, even to the detriment of the clinical product, and I knew (from my time at Alsana) that Ms. Steiner’s was intently focused on patient care.”
Andrea Hollowell, the former Vice President for Growth for Alsana after having been an employee of Alsana for approximately 4 years, stated the following under penalties of perjury:
“I was resigning from Alsana because I had significant concerns about the company’s direction after Ms. Steiner left, and more particularly, I was concerned that Alsana was prioritizing growth and revenue above all other goals, to the detriment of patient care and the integrity of the business.”
“In the letter, Alsana threatened to sue me if l did not provide it with “assurances” that I was complying with my post- employment obligations to Alsana.”
“As one might expect, receiving this type of letter from Alsana’s lawyer was very scary and nerve-racking. Despite the fact I had done nothing wrong, Alsana’s letter made me question whether I should continue working at Lightfully.”
“Between July 2021 and mid-September 2021, I had many conversations with Ms. Steiner and certain other former Alsana employees who received similar threatening letters from Alsana, including Nicole Siegfried and Clodagh Rafferty. We constantly discussed the letters, their adverse emotional and psychological impact on us, and the impact these letters and Alsana’s continued threats were having on Lightfully.”
Clodagh Rafferty, the former Chief Operating Officer for Alsana after having been an employee of Alsana for approximately 2 1/2 years, stated the following under penalties of perjury:
“As I explained to Ms. Devin, and as I relayed to the attorneys that Alsana asked me to speak with, I was resigning from Alsana because I was concerned that Alsana was prioritizing growth and revenue above all other goals, to the detriment of patient care.”
“In the letter, Alsana threatened to sue me if did not provide it with “assurances that – [I] have not and do not plan to violate [my] obligations to Alsana[,]” including my purported obligation to comply with a non-solicitation provision set forth in certain Alsana employment related documents.”
“Although Alsana never filed a litigation against me, its threatening letters took a toll on my business relationship with Ms. Steiner. It has become increasingly difficult to perform my work as I deal with the threats by Alsana, and I continue to have serious concerns about my future at Lightfully for fear of what aggressive and vindictive course of conduct Alsana might direct against me next.”
Nicole Siegfried, the former Chief Clinical Officer for Alsana for approximately 4 years, stated the following under penalties of perjury:
“At the request of Alsana’ s Board, on or around June 16, 2021, I met with Margaret Sonnier, who I understood to be a labor and employment attorney retained by Alsana to investigate the clinical quality concerns that I described.”
“As I explained in my meeting with Ms. Devin, my follow-up meeting with Ms. Devin and Mr. McKernan, and my meeting with Ms. Sonnier, I was resigning from Alsana because I was concerned about the company’s direction after Ms. Steiner left, and more particularly, I was concerned that Alsana was prioritizing growth and revenue above all other goals to the detriment of patient care, staff training and retention, and the company’s culture. I also felt as though, after Ms. Steiner left the company, I was not being provided with important information, and that my suggestions for fixing the various problems at Alsana were dismissed or rejected. Finally, I found Ms. Devin, Alsana’s new CEO, to be very difficult to work with, as she often blamed other people for the issues that were ongoing at Alsana, which created an environment of fear, rather than collaboration.”
“Needless to say, receiving this type of letter from Alsana’s lawyer was very unnerving and scary. Despite the fact that I had done nothing wrong, Alsana’s letter made me question whether I should continue working at Lightfully.”
[Forgive me as I break the 4th wall with this authorial interjection … Hi Nicole! Are you still on iaedp’s Board of Directors? If so, you will get to deal with me again in the future!]
And finally, from Jennifer Steiner, the former Chief Executive Officer of Alsana, who was sued by whatever entity owns the Alsana name, stated the following under penalties of perjury:
“As its CEO, I reported to the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”). The Riverside Company (“Riverside”), a private equity company, has been the majority owner of Alsana since December 2016, and it was the majority owner during my tenure as Alsana’s CEO.”
“Among many other things, during my tenure as Alsana’s CEO, the company nearly tripled revenue, with projections to have revenue quadrupled by the end of 2021. And between 2017 and 2020, under my leadership, Alsana’s EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) increased nearly ten-fold, with projections for the increase to be sixteen-fold by the end of 2021.”
“Despite all of my success, however, significant issues with Alsana, its Board and Riverside developed over time, which ultimately caused Alsana to terminate me. Specifically, I became concerned with the direction of the company and what I considered to be Alsana’s decision to maximize growth and revenue above all else. When I refused to go along with certain decisions of Alsana’s Board, including decisions that I believed would jeopardize patient care, I was terminated.”
“Unfortunately, almost from the beginning of my new business venture, it was clear that Alsana would do everything in its power to wrongfully prevent Lightfully’s growth, development and success, and to wrongfully prevent me from operating a business in the mental healthcare space.”
“Alsana’s tortious course of conduct began in July 2021 when it started harassing my key employees, Andie Hollowell, Clodagh Rafferty and Nicole Siegfried. All of these individuals are former Alsana employees who occupied signified roles at Alsana, and I am informed and believe that all of them left Alsana because they were unhappy with Alsana’s business practices.”
“As one might expect (particularly for lay people like us), these threatening letters were very intimidating. Despite the fact that we did nothing wrong, these letters scared all of us, made us question whether we should continue moving forward with our business plan, caused severe anxiety and stress, and forced us to delay certain aspects of the business that would have otherwise moved forward more quickly, ultimately resulting in lost revenue for me and Lightfully.”
“And perhaps most significantly, Alsana’s threats and continued harassment of my key employees have disrupted our business relationship. Not only have those threats made the business relationship more costly in terms of legal fees and money spent to defend their interests, but those threats also have taken a substantial toll on our business relationship that I am not quite sure could ever be remedied.”
“Of course, Alsana’s actions created continued and prolonged stress and anxiety for all of us.” “Alsana’s bad faith and tortious conduct, which I believe was intentionally designed to frustrate my business and unfairly compete with me, has caused me to suffer both monetary damages and adverse mental health consequences.”
“Finally, Alsana’s tortious and bad faith conduct, which has now spanned almost a year, has caused me significant stress and anxiety, and has been damaging to my mental health. Ever since my key employees received their first threating letters from Alsana in July 2021, I have been living in fear of what irrational, unpredictable and aggressive course of conduct Alsana might attempt next in an effort to damage the business that I have worked so hard to develop, and what Alsana might attempt to do to drive me out of the mental health care industry altogether. Even worse, I fear that Alsana’s wrongful conduct will not relent (regardless of whether I am successful in this litigation) and that my career, financial stability, and ability to care for my family will be severely compromised by Alsana’s actions, which appear to me to be guided solely by vengeance.”
Those statements were all made by Alsana’s former officers. Their highest-ranking officers. Officers whose job duties included knowing that information. Officers who brought their concerns to Alsana’s Board of Directors. Officers who were either fired or voluntarily quit because of their concerns.
Officers who stated under oath that Alsana was prioritizing growth and revenue above all other goals to the detriment of patient care and the integrity of the business; Alsana was sending threatening letters to those former Officers; Alsana was directing aggressive and vindictive courses of conduct against former Officers; Alsana was not providing its officers with the information they needed to do their jobs; that an atmosphere of fear and not collaboration had been created; Alsana was engaged in tortious and bad faith conduct; that when the highest ranking Officer refused to abide by certain decisions of Alsana’s Board, decisions which she believed would jeopardize patient care, she was terminated. Harrassing former officers. Creating fear and anxiety. Again, these words are NOT mine. But, former Officers.
We also know that whatever amounts a patient’s insurance provider does not pay, Alsana sends invoices and demands for payment to their former patients/victims and presumably reports these debts to credit reporting agencies.
Much has been written in the past about Alsana’s sketchy therapists and direct care staff employees.
And now … this.
As a parent of a child suffering from eating disorders, you must ask yourself, should I entrust the very life of my precious child to this organization?
If you are a pediatrician, if you are a medical profession, why would you entrust the life of your patient to an organization like this? Especially since you could be liable for negligent referral.
Why does the eating disorder community not police itself and address organizations like this?
CREDIT: The Morgan Foundation