David Olsen, the 12-step sex therapist/pastor who has banned me from any contact with a nationwide network of state-licensed therapists, makes more money than any other Samaritan Counselor. It is not clear that his subordinates are even aware that his 12-step partner and ARISE Network founder James Garrett was charged with multiple felonies and pleaded guilty to a crime. Jenness Clairmont, the Clinical Director of Samaritan Counseling, who now works as ‘Forest Clinical Services’ and Oona Edmands LCSW seem to have no awareness of the crimes as David Olsen has forbidden all communications.
Again, HHS has dismissed clear evidence of malpractice, this time a year and a half after the complaint was filed.
Notpowerless.com will continue to publicize the complete lack of accountability at Samaritan Institute counseling centers to HIPAA laws and 1st Amendment rights. Any state-licensed social workers who require 12-step participation are violating basic social work ethics and patient privacy laws. This misconduct goes unaddressed and unacknowledged by the state agencies, whose job it is to protect people from unethical and predatory practices of businesses like Samaritan Counseling and most NYS OASAS providers. Instead, it seems that the state agencies are protecting corrupt businesses from being required to take simple and reasonable corrective actions.
UPDATE May 2020 “I’m not looking for all kinds of heads to roll. I just want someone to say, we messed up, we’re responsible, this is how we’ve changed things.”
“four days after Walls entered the facility no one ever heard from him again. Wondering why he hadn’t called, his aunt visited the center on Dec. 9 to see him in person and was told he had packed all his stuff and left five days earlier, said Ketter-Walls. Surprised and worried, his family and friends began asking around town for him. Did he relapse and was hiding out? Did he overdose and die? They called morgues and hospitals. They checked local drug hangouts. They visited a Burger King he frequented and showed his picture to staff. Nothing.
“On Jan. 11, 39 days after the family last spoke to Walls, a pest control worker entered his room at the Hudson Mohawk center and found a badly decomposed body on the bed. It was Walls. He had been there the whole time….
“…Ketter-Walls said her family met this winter with a local Department of Social Services employee, who said they were surprised to hear Walls had died since the center was still receiving state reimbursement for his stay into the month of February — nearly two months after he died.”
Oh, what a tangled web! They started by telling me I wasn’t being forced into AA, and through a snowball of lies ended up denying that this guy was dead or that he wrote the book on how to force people into AA. It wasn’t until the state police got involved that NYS Office of Professions even acknowledged knowing he passed away, and then it took more effort to get them to update public records, which they did not think was important.
NYS Office of Professions and ARISE Network still suggest that this may not be the author of Invitational Intervention and have not confirmed that he indeed wrote that book and was charged with five felonies. NYS OASAS has not explained why there is no record of him ever having a NYS CASAC license online. I think that there was an attempt to quietly remove him from OASAS records. He was a licensed CASAC before the felony charges and my complaints.
UPDATE (2018) James Garrett has been recorded as DECEASED by NYS Office of Professions. ARISE Network and NYS Office of Professions still suggest that it may be a case of ‘mistaken identity’. Samaritan Counseling and NYS Office of Professional Discipline have not acknowledged Garrett’s Class A Misdemeanor conviction in 2014.
The state police must have contacted NYS OPD, because this includes information that I only spoke to the state police investigator Baskerville about, involving the possibility of fraud to be committed with a license that should not exist, as if I had made those allegations. My only seriously actionable allegation was that the license is invalid and should be closed, according the NYS OP website, to prevent further fraud.
So, for some reason New York State Office of Professions is digging in its heels when it comes to changing a database record about the fact that this guy is dead.
The odd thing is that they acknowledge his death but don’t acknowledge themselves, or coroner’s office, or me (who all know he’s dead) as reliable:
“If the Department has received reliable notice of the death of a licensee, that record is marked DECEASED. ”
“Dear Mr. Tom Gleason:
Our office received your conduct email complaint specific to LCSW James Garrett. My office has already addressed your complaints specific to Samaritan Counseling Center as well as your prior therapist, Ona [sic “Oona”] Edmands in 2016. The email forwarded now continues to discuss your issues with that program and the staff you were involved in however you allege that this agency is still billing under a former employees license, specifically James Garrett LCSW. However, there was no examples or evidence base for this allegation, such as a current bill submitted to an insurance provider under his name and license number. Do you have such evidence? I ask because this would be a criminal matter and we would encourage you to file a complaint with the local authorities. If another licensed professional is fraudulently using Mr. Garrett’s license number than we would investigate that licensed professional for fraud; however you did not provide any evidence at all that Mr. Garrett’s license is being used fraudulently. Based on your letter the only evidence you have that this is occurring is because NYSED still has his license listed and he is still actively registered. The division for professional licensing cannot take away or de-activate someone license based on a report of death. My office did confirm that James Garrett LCSW did pass in 2017; however his registration was already renewed for that time period. DPLS (licensing) requires that upon death of a licensee the immediate family must contact them and provide a copy of the death certificate in order for them to de-activate his registration. He is currently registered until 6 of 2019. His license will become inactive after 6/2019 even if his family does not provide proof of death for he can not renew due to being deceased. I just wanted to let you know that we (OPD)are aware of his passing but in order for his registration to practice under that license number to be revoked the immediate family member must make notifications and send proof of death.
So, if you have actual tangible evidence that someone is using his license number to practice or bill please forward that evidence to my attention at this office, or bring it to your local police department if you want criminal charges pursued.
NYSED-Office of Professional Discipline
80 Wolf Road, Sutie 204
Albany, NY 12205
She referred me to the DPLS office who told me that James Garrett would get no communications for a renewal. He would not answer my question and then hung up on me when I asked repeatedly if the website would be updated. The guy sounded intoxicated. I haven’t got in touch with anyone who will answer my question to Deborah Sansone about where it says that ‘reliable notice’ means ‘next of kin’.
Here is the original complaint sent to NYS Police, who then called me to tell them my story, and I explained how a common form of insurance fraud is the business use of a credentialed individual’s license while s/he just ‘signs off’ on it. My specific complaint was just that the ARISE Intervention Network denied his death, which could only have been to make me feel crazy again, or to make people doubt my information if a whole network of professionals is saying I have no idea who I’m talking about.
“Dear Trooper Cepiel,
I’ve been trying to reach the offices of former Samaritan Counseling Clinical Director Jenness Clairmont or Oona Edmands (witnesses to addiction treatment crimes) for at least 4 years now without any success regarding a fraud scheme at Recovery Resource Center in Albany NY. It is possibly still ongoing, because the LCSW-R license for James Garrett still exists.
I have reported his death to the Office of Professions, and they refuse to acknowledge it and close the license to prevent potential insurance fraud. The ARISE Intervention Network has in fact publicly stated that he is still alive, which appears to be a completely false statement with no purpose other than to deny involvement with felony charges publicized in the Daily Gazette.
OASAS has refused to acknowledge any reason for the complete disappearance of his CASAC license, or to acknowledge that he was charged with five felony counts by state police (which would legitimize my similar complaints which have been so far dismissed as nonsense).
It is not clear that my complaints have been investigated properly by the NYS OMH or Education Department, so I am hoping the state police can get involved.
Here is the situation:
AFTER he was charged with five felonies (in Jan 2014) for offering a false instrument for filing, and BEFORE I was terminate-referred to him repeatedly by the LCSW Oona Edmands, there were several indications that James Garrett was using his status as ‘expert’ to interfere in my attempts to communicate with the mandated reporter and witness Oona Edmands about what I was realizing to be an ‘addiction treatment’ scam he was running.
I was never able to communicate the situation to the mandated reporter, specifically because of how his scam worked to block me from doing that.
The methods he used to isolate me from mandated reporters were:
1. Reinforcement of ‘intervention’ ‘contract’ (telling my family and other LCSWs to terminate or ignore me unless I was paying him to ‘monitor my sobriety’ — essentially just paying him to NOT create ‘consequences’ for leaving his ‘gradually escalating’ ‘treatment’ requirements– aka a ‘racket’).
2. Suggesting my attempts to complain about his scam were just imaginations, manipulations or ‘disease’ symptoms. Yet, state police charged him with five felonies for offering a false instrument for filing, so obviously there were other people who saw a serious problem with how he conducted his business.
I did not know about the charges brought against him at the time by state police, and it is not clear that Oona Edmands, LCSW did either. That case happened to be in the exact same time frame as my very similar experiences with him, and I wasn’t aware of it until last year when I found it in the Daily Gazette.
3. Describing my preferred therapist, Oona Edmands, as unqualified or ‘not equipped’ to deal with an ‘alcoholic’, and portraying her ‘codependence’ as a danger to my ‘Recovery’, which made her incompetent to function as a mandated reporter in support of my best interest without fear of malpractice.
It was apparent to me that Oona Edmands, unwilling to be involved any further in the situation or to report it, therefore abandoned me to this fraudulent treatment instead of acting as a mandated reporter; therefore, the problem was never correctly addressed.
I would like the state police to investigate Recovery Resource Center of Albany NY, which is still running in some capacity despite James Garrett’s death, while his death is being denied by the ARISE Network. Again, I suspect the fraud scheme is still active in some way.
I would also like the police to contact the NYS Office of Professional Discipline to ensure that they are aware of the death of James Garrett and close out his license to help prevent further fraud.
NYS OPD then sent me this message:
“Prior to passing the licensee renewed his license. The renewal is always a three year period. Since he renewed in 2016 and paid for this renewal he will show up as licensed and active until July of 2019. His renewal being due in 2019, either a family member will forward his death certificate as evidence of his not renewing and DPLS will automatically change his status from active to not active. The web will not he is deceased when DPLS receives the documentation they require. If you have any additional questions regarding their policies I would suggest you contact The Division of Professional Licensing at our education department in Albany.
In reference to other professionals in the field referencing an alive James Garrett who is a social worker, this is not evidence of his specific license being used fraudulently by anyone or any agency. In NY state alone there are numerous licensed professionals in the mental health fields by that name.
As indicated above you can contact NYSED at 518-487-3817, I believe it’s extension 340 for DPLS.
NYSED-Office of Professional Discipline
80 Wolf Road, Sutie 204
Albany, NY 12205
There are not numerous LCSW’s by the name of James Garrett in NYS. There is only one: http://www.nysed.gov/coms/op001/opsc2a?profcd=73&plicno=020876&namechk=GAR
I then contacted DPLS, and they sent me to the Archive and Records Department. When I talked to the guy on the phone, he just said “send an obituary or death certificate, and we’ll update our records”. I thought I had made some progress. I sent them the confirmation of death by NYS OPD, and his obituary:
Here is confirmation from NYS OPD (forwarded statements) and an obituary, requesting that the license of James Garrett LCSW-R http://www.nysed.gov/coms/op001/opsc2a?profcd=73&plicno=020876&namechk=GAR be marked as deceased as per this NYSED license status page http://www.op.nysed.gov/help.htm#status which states: “If the Department has received reliable notice of the death of a licensee, that record is marked DECEASED.”
No response. I emailed asking for confirmation that they had received my communication. No response.
http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/timesunion-albany/obituary.aspx?pid=186101057 suggests that James A Garrett of Averill Park died July 11,2017. The obituary says that he “start[ed] multiple successful businesses in the addiction and recovery field and helping countless people better their lives through counselling and creation of new recovery pathways”
I have only found one James Garrett LCSW on the NYS Office of Professions website, and no record of him on the OASAS website.
This website documents my complaints about treatment at Recovery Resource Center in Albany. It has included my own medical records suggesting that a provider by the name of James Garrett ‘treated’ me as Samaritan Counseling‘s preferred addiction treatment ‘expert’, and documented concerns about his treatment model called the ARISE Intervention.
The problem is that in September of 2017, the ARISE Intervention Network tweeted to me that my complaints must have involved another person by the same name. They said it was a case of ‘mistaken identity’. I had recently exposed that James Garrett was charged with five felonies for fraud in another case, endured a 2 year suspension of his license in 2001 for “admit[ting] to charge of having been convicted of Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a Class A Misdemeanor”, and had published my own medical records suggesting that he was suppressing complaints and extorting me.
I contacted the NYS Office of Professions to try to discern whether I was indeed mistaken about who I’ve been talking about for years now. The Office of Professions’ response was:
“That licensee is currently registered, but we have no way of knowing whether or not he is still alive. He could have passed away since the last time he registered (2016). Sometimes the family notifies us of a death, but we have no way of knowing if no one notifies us.
NYS Education Department
Office of the Professions
Division of Professional Licensing Services”
I then said:
“I am notifying you of a concern about this licensee’s health status (alive or dead). Do you have no family contact information to verify and update your records?
“No. We do not collect or maintain information on licensees families.
NYS Education Department”
“You can’t even attempt to contact him directly?
“To determine if he is dead or alive, no.
The conversation went on a bit, her telling me that this was for the Office of Professional Discipline to handle, but when I asked her to forward my concerns, she told me that I could not use her inbox to circumvent the cease and desist order that NYS Office of Professional Discipline has against me, and that she would not forward my concerns.
Today I tried to call James Garrett directly, but found the number published on his website is a fax machine. I have asked the Office of Professions if they have any contact information for their currently licensed LCSW, so that I can hear his voice and verify that he is alive, as the ARISE Network says.
Further attempts to prove his death resulted in statements from the Office of Professions: “Birth and death records are NOT public records and their confidentiality is protected by New York State Public Health Law. Vital Records are not subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) and are not subject to public inspection.”
…which I took to mean that even if I can provide a death certificate, they will not accept that as evidence of his death. Also, that if I filed a FOIL request, I would not get access to information about whether NYS Office of Professions or any related agency like OASAS knows that James Garrett is in fact dead.
It seems that NYS Office of Professions may never have to acknowledge his death, which is kind of strange, considering that the ARISE Network is using this to confuse and deflect from facts about their treatment.
Here is a key document (that I couldn’t find during the live podcast). In my post Social Work Licensing in New York, I question whether the Capital Tonight interviewee was referring to this document when she said “2002 was the first time we tried to regulate the spoken word as treatment”. I have never got any verification about what specifically she was referring to when she said that.
Local Services Bulletin No. 2002-05: Impact of Recent Federal Court Decision Concerning Alcoholics Anonymous
On Government Funded Providers (broken link) It appears that this bulletin has been relocated here where it doesn’t mention that this happened in way back in 2002.
Just received this letter from the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights. Here is the document they refer to and I haven’t the time to analyze it right now https://archive.hhs.gov/ocr/combinedregtext.pdf
“In your complaint, you allege that on or about July 18, 2015, the Center denied your request that your medical records be amended to include complaints, the content of which are available on your online blog”
On the one hand I’m happy that they have apparently seen my blog notpowerless.com and also directed me to the specific laws they considered (which I did not have the HIPAA expertise to find specifically). A prior complaint directed me to the laws near what I found to be 12-step extortion written into professional licensing law New York State Office of Professions is entangled with Alcoholics Anonymous
On the other hand, they don’t seem to have noticed that the whole point of my complaint about the HIPAA request for amendment (of my complaints to my medical records) is that it should not be necessary to post your private medical records online to make a point. Any professional I might see in the future should be able to see that I made serious complaints if they were to review my historical medical records (they would NOT see any of my complaints, to be clear), and should not have to go on a (probably illegal) cyberstalking expedition to my blog to learn the facts about my case.
This was shortly after being terminated from the 12-step outpatient rehab for complaining about the cost of drug tests and step one worksheets. That was never acknowledged by Samaritan Counseling Center of the Capital Region. Months later, they said my claims to have done those things were ‘contradictory’ (regardless of the fact that I can prove I was there and paid Saint Peters Addiction Recovery Center (SPARC) a lot of money and the most recent interaction before I was terminated from there was with a young counselor who asked me if I could get sober ‘for her’ and had me draw a picture of what ‘powerlessness’ looked like. I drew a dead man.). In the first few months of this nightmare, I was required to go to an inpatient 12-step rehab, and refused.
“Case discussion with Oona Edmands: agreed that Tom will need to have two months of sobriety and weekly sessions with me before he could see Oona Edmands.” – James Garrett 3/17/14
“See me once a month for ‘trust building’ sessions and get approval to have appointment with Oona Edmands after two months” – James Garrett 3/26/14
(at this point my trust of him was rapidly declining after nearly a year of jumping through his increasingly expensive hoops).
Why was my therapist being encouraged to not speak to me if I didn’t do 12-step treatment (I actually already know the answer, and it has to do with James Garrett realizing I was attached to her and realizing he could use that as leverage. He wrote a whole book about doing that. and you can see the reviews here.) and you can see that he was at the time charged with five felonies for this kind of nonsense here. I clearly said to her that I wanted to be done with Saint Peters Addiction Recovery Center and James Garrett’s nonsense and wanted to speak to her about it, and yet James Garrett and David Olsen both seem to have insisted that 12-step was some kind of requirement for me to resume therapy. I never was allowed to tell her what happened in the treatment she recommended, because they created this game where she was supposed to shun any contact with me until and unless I was ‘in recovery’ (which had nothing to do with drinking and everything to do with being ‘in’ AA/rehab).
I’ve been trying to express this scenario in different ways for about three years now and the NYS Education Department said that pretty much nothing I say makes any sense. So I’ve kept trying to make sense, pinpointing themes like emotional extortion, gaslighting, and coercion.
“Tough-love programs often ritualize emotional testimonies and require testimony about conversion experiences as a prerequisite for release from treatment. Because there is no scientific evidence to validate the safety and efficacy of coercive methods, these anecdotes are the “hook” that this multi-billion dollar industry is built upon.” – Setting the Record Straight
Here you can see that those
‘recommendations’ were actually requirements for therapy at Samaritan Counseling, something I wasn’t aware of (I had thought those were negotiable) until the point I was terminated.
I continued to see James Garrett and try to negotiate to be ‘allowed’ to speak to the therapist about this ‘preferred treatment’ that she recommended for about a full year before terminating me with suicidal ideation and the ‘boundary issues’ of wanting to discuss the treatment she insisted I engage in for the ‘possibility’ of having my complaints acknowledged. I never did get to tell her about what happened in the treatment. In fact, my letter attempting to explain the situation got me a response from the Clinical Director Jenness Clairmont (who now promotes Gamblers Anonymous) and Executive Director David Olsen “to inform you that under no circumstances will any further personal contact with the center, its satellites or its personnel be allowable.”
Apparently, James Garrett thinks my attempts to complain about this are ‘Axis 2′ behavior. What I would like is for Oona Edmands to acknowledge that agreements were made and that the way I was being treated under the direction of David Olsen and James Garrett (both confirmed 12-steppers) was unreasonable and weird.
I’ve spent the last three years of my life trying to understand why nobody in NYS Government seems to see the problem here.