Narconon Credibility Investigation

Prepared for:
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
Appeal Hearing
Conditional Use Permit No. 04-023-(5)
July 25, 2006

Investigation conducted by:
Bouquet Canyon Resident


On January 4, 2006, Los Angeles County Regional Planning held a CUP (Conditional Use Permit) hearing where Narconon representatives and supporters testified, under oath, regarding the safety and efficacy of the drug and alcohol rehabilitation center to be located on Bouquet Canyon Road. During testimony, Narconon representatives compared their current Warner Springs facility with the proposed Bouquet Canyon Facility. Narconon representatives also told the Regional Planning Commissioners that the comments from some community members who were against the CUP were "wild rumors" and "unfounded."

On January 9, 2006, there was a Town Council Meeting held in Leona Valley where Narconon representatives held a question and answer session for the community members in attendance.

Since much of the information Narconon representatives were providing seemed "too good to be true," an investigation was initiated to determine the validity of the information which was provided to the Regional Planning Commissioners and the community. The investigation consisted of comparing the testimony from the Narconon representatives at the CUP hearing and information provided to the community members at the Town Council meeting with 1,546 pages of documents from the official files from the State of California, Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. Also, to assist with the investigation, the two audio tapes from the CUP hearing were reviewed and notes taken by the investigator at the Town Council meetings were reviewed. (Note: the Leona Valley Town Council tape records their meetings and the tapes are in their possession for reference.) (Exhibit 1)

The investigation revealed the testimony provided by Narconon representatives to the Regional Planning Commissioners and statements by Narconon representatives at the Town Council Meetings conflicted with official documents from the State of California. Narconon representatives also failed to disclose problems associated with their Watsonville facility, which is also in a rural location. Disclosing this information would have been important to the Regional Planning Commissioners in making their decision on the impact of a Narconon facility in Bouquet Canyon and surrounding communities. Narconon also failed to carry out a directive from the Regional Planning Commission as discussed during the January 4, 2006 hearing to make contact specifically with the residents on Bouquet Canyon Road.

Additionally, it was discovered the Regional Planning Commissioners' conditions cannot be carried out due to logistical and legal restraints in regard to keeping the addicts from leaving the facility or picking them up once they leave the facility. There are also logistical problems regarding the usefulness of a dedicated phone line for the residents.


Government cannot adequately plan for the needs of the community they serve when the decision is based on inaccurate information or information which has not been disclosed. The information gathered during this investigation determined Narconon representatives are not credible. Narconon facilities have a history of failing to comply with state law and with their own internal policies making them unreliable to carry out the CUP conditions. Narconon representatives failed to provide accurate information and failed to disclose relevant information to both the Regional Planning Commissioners and to community members during the Leona Valley Town Council meetings. Narconon representatives are either ignorant regarding the problems regarding their own organization and facilities or they intentionally lied. If either is true, then the Narconon representatives should be considered incompetent witnesses to testify on their own behalf and their testimony should be impeached.


Based on the omission of pertinent information and the erroneous testimony given to the Regional Planning Commissioners by Narconon representatives and their supporters and the erroneous information provided to the community members during the January 9, 2006, Leona Valley Town Council meeting, Narconon should not be rewarded with a CUP for a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility due to their lack of honesty regarding the impact on the community.


The following is a description of testimony and statements by Narconon representatives to both the Regional Planning Commissioners and community members and the discrepancies discovered during the investigation when the information was compared with official documents, statements from State officials, and personal experience. For brevity, most documents included as exhibits are excerpts from official files from the State of California ADP investigators. This investigation does not contain all the documents obtained from the ADP files.

Discrepancy -- Minors at the facility
Issue: At the CUP hearing, Narconon representatives testified they "do not take in minors" which was in response to a question from one of the Regional Planning Commissioners.

Fact: Documents from the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP) show that Narconon has an intake sheet and release document for parents to sign when Narconon provides services to adolescent males, 14-18 years old. (Exhibit 2)

Discrepancy -- Willingness of addicts to be at the facility to get treatment
Issue: At the CUP hearing, Narconon representatives testified they only accept clients who are willing to enter rehabilitation. Specifically, Catherine Savage testified, "We get people off drugs who want to get off drugs." She also stated that "they are eager to change their lives" and that students commit themselves because "they approach the program."

Fact: Documents from ADP files show Narconon has internal documentation indicating a client was at the facility who was unwilling to be rehabilitated but was pressured to do so by family and friends. (Exhibit 3) There are also documents to show that the addicts are actually recruited into the program. (Exhibit 11)

Discrepancy -- Court ordered addicts
Issue: At the CUP hearing, Narconon representatives testified they do not take in court ordered cases because the "program is voluntary."

Fact: Narconon actually takes in offenders who have been ordered by the court to seek rehabilitation. (Exhibit 4)

Discrepancy -- Extent of problems at Warner Springs facility
Issue: At the CUP hearing, Narconon representatives testified the Warner Springs facility is comparable to the proposed Bouquet Canyon facility, because they are both rural. They testified they had only one problem of trespassing at the Warner Springs Facility and one addict who walked from the facility but was caught 200 feet away at a pay phone. They stated they did not bring information with them regarding all the problems at the Warner Springs facility.

Fact: Narconon has been in violation of allowing one of their employees to drive one of the facility's vans without the proper licensing in violation of the California Vehicle Code which put the community at risk with an unskilled/tested driver at the wheel. There is also documentation from a resident indicating there has been more than one incident of trespassing. (Exhibit 5)

Discrepancy -- Failure to disclose/discuss Watsonville facility
Issue: Although Narconon testified to a rural facility in Warner Springs which has few problems, they failed to mention to the Regional Planning Commissioners their facility in Watsonville.

Fact: The Watsonville facility has been in business since 1999 and is situated on 13.86 acres in a rural area of northern California. It is also comparable to the proposed Bouquet Canyon facility. The Watsonville facility has had numerous complaints which have been found to have been substantiated by investigators from ADP. (Exhibit 6)

Discrepancy -- Failure to disclose/discuss psychiatric patients
Issue: At the CUP hearing, there was no discussion in regard to the intake of psychiatric patients with substance abuse histories and thus no opportunity to impose any conditions regarding their intake.

Fact: Narconon admits patients with a history of psychiatric histories in addition to drug problems. (Exhibit 7)

Discrepancy -- Ability to keep addicts on the property
Issue: At the CUP hearing, the Regional Planning Commissioners requested the proposed Narconon facility to have 24 hour security to keep clients from leaving. Narconon testified the addicts are not free to come and go.

Fact: Narconon has no legal authority to keep the addicts on the grounds and the security guard service has no legal authority to keep the addicts on the property. Since it is a voluntary rehabilitation center, it is illegal (false imprisonment) to keep anyone on the property. (Exhibit 8)

Discrepancy -- Ability to pick up addicts once they leave the facility
Issue: At the CUP hearing, Narconon representatives testified that should an addict leave the facility, "they go find them, pick them up and bring them back."

Fact: Narconon has no legal authority to pick up any addict who leaves the facility. Any addict who leaves the facility does not have to get into any Narconon vehicle. It is illegal to take people against their will since it is considered kidnapping by state law. Additionally, even if someone leaves the facility, and law enforcement is called, there still is no legal authority for law enforcement to make contact with the individual until a crime is occurring or has occurred. At that point, law enforcement will have "probable cause" to make the contact. (Exhibit 9)

Discrepancy -- Visitors at the facility
Issue: At the CUP hearing, Narconon representatives testified they "highly discourage" visitors because it does not help in the "path to overcome addiction." The Regional Planning Commissioners were under the impression that because of this, there would be minimal traffic impacts on the community.

Fact: Narconon schedules Sundays to be visitors' day. (Exhibit 10)

Discrepancy -- Community Outreach
Issue: At the CUP hearing, Narconon representatives were directed by the Regional Planning Commissioners to do community outreach specifically with the residents of Bouquet Canyon Road plus make contact with the various town councils.

Fact: Narconon has not made contact with all the neighbors on Bouquet Canyon Road. Since the CUP hearing, not one mailer or contact has reached the residents of Bouquet Canyon Road, who are actually the closest residents to the proposed facility. All information regarding the proposed facility has been by word of mouth among the residents. (This is based on my personal experience and conversations with my neighbors.)

Discrepancy -- Narconon as charitable organization
Issue: At the CUP hearing, Narconon representatives testified about all the good they are doing for the addicts. The Regional Planning Commissioners confirmed Narconon was a 501(c)(3) non profit which made it appear the actions of Narconon are charitable in nature.

Fact: Internal Narconon documents taken from official ADP files show Mr. Clark Carr, of Narconon International selling packages on how to start a Narconon facility. It also discussed "Step by step instructions showing you how to find prospects and sell them Narconon services" and "Dozens of income making actions you can start RIGHT NOW!" Another Narconon internal document taken from the ADP files shows an employee being commended for "meeting his quota of 5 contacts this week in prospecting and promoting Narconon." Also found in official files is an allegation from an addict at the facility claiming Catherine Savage (petitioner for the CUP) "started pushing Scientology on me." (Exhibit 11)

Discrepancy -- Narconon admitting addicts while they are under the influence
Issue: At the CUP hearing, Narconon representatives testified they do not take in anyone while they are under the influence.

Fact: ADP documents show they do take in individuals who are still under the influence and claim to being "high" when admitted. (Exhibit 12)

Discrepancy -- Public is not threatened since this is a private pay facility
Issue: At the CUP hearing, Narconon representatives testified "each person is paying upwards of $20,000 for treatment." Specifically, Catherine Savage testified that "residents of Narconon pay a substantial amount to attend."

Fact: It is actually the parents of their adult children who are paying the fees. Many times this leads to the addict leaving the facility because they are not committed to the program financially. Parents are paying with credit card, re-financing their homes, and borrowing on their retirement funds to pay the costs. (Exhibit 13)

Discrepancy -- Ability to keep violent offenders out of the facility
Issue: At the CUP hearing Narconon representatives were directed to screen out violent criminals. At the Leona Valley Town Hall meeting on January 9, 2006, Narconon representatives stated to community members they have the ability to check the Department of Justice (DOJ) criminal history records of their clients.

Fact: ADP denied Narconon has access to DOJ records. Only law enforcement has access to criminal history records. This information was given to the investigator by phone from Diane at ADP's Sacramento headquarters. Additionally, it was discovered in ADP files that Narconon is not even required to check the criminal records of their staff members. Thus Narconon has no reliable method to comply with the CUP requirements to screen out violent criminals. (Exhibit 14)

Discrepancy -- Narconon's claim to be "good neighbors"
Issue: At the CUP hearing, Narconon stated they would be "good neighbors."

Fact: Narconon has established a history of not being good neighbors. Specifically, they have allowed one of their employees to illegally operate a van which endangered the public. There have been reports of trespassing and loud noise which echo through the country side from blaring radios. (Exhibit 5) There was a Narconon employee who was arrested for felony drunk driving after crashing into a CHP patrol car and injuring the officer. The fire department found the Narconon Watsonville facility to have numerous violations in regard to the maintenance of the property which made it a fire hazard. They have facilities in several neighborhoods which spread out the addicts and disrupt other residential neighborhoods. Also, they certainly are not "good neighbors" to the tax paying public when, based on complaint after complaint, ADP investigators have to frequently look into complaints and issue Notices of Discrepancies at state time and tax payers expense. (Exhibit 15)

Discrepancy -- Narconon's ability to follow rules
Issue: The Regional Planning Commissioners established numerous conditions in order to issue the Conditional Use Permit. Narconon emphatically testified they will abide by the conditions.

Fact: Narconon has a history of violating not only state laws but also with violating internal policies. It was only based on numerous complaints that the violations of state laws and violations of organizational policy were discovered. Once a Notice of Deficiency was issued, then Narconon complied with the requirements. Examples of the violations included operating over capacity and operating without a license (Exhibit 16), staff members and addicts leaving the facility to go drinking (Exhibit 17), staff members and addicts having sex (Exhibit 18), storing alcoholic beverages on the premises (Exhibit 19), male and female addicts being housed together (Exhibit 20), employees not being tested for Tuberculosis (Exhibit 21), unqualified staff (Exhibit 22), facilities not clean and in good repair (Exhibit 23 and Exhibit 24), admission agreements not clear on the amount being charged (Exhibit 25), no valid use permit (Exhibit 26), improper food service (Exhibit 27), 24 beds without mattress pads (Exhibit 28), and trash and overgrown weeds (Exhibit 29)

Discrepancy -- Personnel trained in CPR
Issue: At the CUP hearing, Narconon representatives testified "all personnel are CPR trained."

Fact: Narconon has been investigated by ADP and has on more than one occasion been found to be operating the facility without personnel who are CPR/First Aid trained. (Exhibit 30)

Discrepancy -- State inspections of facilities
Issue: At the Leona Valley Town Hall meeting on January 9, 2006, Narconon representatives stated to community members they are inspected by ADP every 6 months or more.

Fact: Diane at ADP in Sacramento, stated drug and alcohol rehabilitations centers are only inspected once every 2 years, more often if there are complaints.

Discrepancy -- Dedicated phone line for residents
Issue: At the CUP hearing, the Regional Planning Commissioners requested Narconon to have a dedicated phone line for the residents to use.

Fact: The phone line is useless if the resident is not home to make the call to report an incident to Narconon. Even if they were home and reported an incident, Narconon employees or guards have no peace officer powers to rectify a situation so the community is still forced to rely on a long response from law enforcement.

Other issues discovered during the investigation:

Issue: Narconon can escape any liability attached to the actions of their "students" who leave the property which puts a greater risk on the residents.

Fact: Narconon can use HIPPA laws to avoid civil liability from the actions of their addicts because they can use the confidentiality required of HIPPA to deny that anyone was ever at their facility.

Issue: Affect of property values by the presence of a drug rehabilitation facility in the neighborhood.

Fact: You do not need statistical reports to determine the detriment a drug rehabilitation facility in a neighborhood can cause to property values. You need only ask yourself: when looking for a home to buy, do you seek out homes which have drug rehabilitation facilities nearby because you believe it will improve the value of your home?

Curious fact: Narconon's intake screening document asks the potential client, "Have you ever worked for the newspaper or the media?"

Question: What relevance is it to one's drug recovery if they worked for the media? Is there a fear that internal actions of Narconon may be exposed?

Addendum Post Los Angeles Board of Supervisors Hearing:

And why do they want to know if a potential client has ever had a governmental security clearance? Does Narconon want to recruit clients for governmental espionage or coercion? (Exhibit 31)

Los Angeles County Supervisors

Conditional Use Permit No. 04-023-(5) Appeal Hearing -- July 25, 2006

Narconon Credibility Investigation