Drug Center Intimidation Claimed
September 16, 1989
Residents who asked the state to review a proposed drug treatment center near Newkirk say they were intimidated by a Los Angeles private investigator hired by lawyers of Narconon International, the organization planning to open the facility.
Meanwhile, Kay County law officers were seeking Eugene M. Ingram, head of Ingram Investigations, on charges of carrying a concealed weapon and violating the state's private investigator act by failing to obtain a license to work in Oklahoma.
Ingram was unavailable for comment. A secretary at his office said he was in Oklahoma.
Residents said Ingram told them he represented Narconon International, the group planning to transform the old Chilocco Indian School campus into a drug treatment center, and the Church of Scientology, a religion some consider a cult. Narconon officials have said they are not directly connected with the Church of Scientology.
Gary W. Smith, director of community and governmental affairs for Narconon Chilocco New Life Center, confirmed that Ingram was hired by lawyers representing Narconon International.
"He's just kind of continuing to check things out to see what the attitudes are and what the concerns are, and any kind of underlying motives that may exist," Smith said.
But Newkirk Mayor Gary Bilger and Bob Lobsinger, owner of the Newkirk Herald Journal, said Ingram tried to intimidate them into signing statements. They said Ingram wanted them to rescind their request to state officials for a review of how Narconon Chilocco New Life Center got its certificate of need from the state.
Bilger said Ingram has been in Newkirk the past week "trying to intimidate (and) coerce" residents into retracting comments concerning Narconon, focusing on a packet sent by Newkirk leaders to state officials.
Narconon plans to open its 75-bed facility next month, but it first must be licensed and certified by the state.