Financial company says drug clinic stopped retirement contributions
By By Scott Calvert and The Baltimore Sun
Apr 13, 2012 at 7:00 AM
More than a year after questions arose publicly about the state of Baltimore Behavioral Health Inc.'s retirement plan, the financial company that oversaw the plan has gone on record as saying that the West Pratt Street mental health clinic all but stopped making contributions after Sept. 2009.
An official with the Lincoln National Life Insurance Co. made the statement in an affidavit late last month. It was filed in federal court by the attorney for employees who allege in a lawsuit that BBH executives "diverted and stole" money intended for their retirement plans.
BBH, a nonprofit that has long been a prominent player on the city's drug treatment scene, has not responded in court to the lawsuit, records show. Board member Jay Miller told The Baltimore Sun he would provide information about the case Thursday but did not. A plaintiff's motion for default judgment is now before a magistrate judge.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Labor Department has been conducting an inquiry of BBH's retirement plan since December 2010. Last fall the department took the clinic to court for access to payroll and other records. A department spokeswoman said Thursday she had no comment on the inquiry.
In the pending federal lawsuit, the lead plaintiff is Gail Mink, who was BBH's admissions director at the time of its filing last July but has since been laid off, her lawyer said. He says there are 72 current or former employees who are owed retirement money and expects the sum to reach six figures.
Mink filed her own affidavit. From Sept. 2009 to May 1, 2010, she directed BBH to deduct $100 from her paycheck every two weeks and deposit it into her retirement plan, she stated, but the money didn't reach her Lincoln account. Neither did the clinic's 25 percent match, she wrote.
The Lincoln Financial filing stated that no contributions were made to BBH's plan after Sept. 25, 2009, except for two in August 2010. Both were applied to September 2009 pay periods. Lincoln was the record keeper for BBH's plan from 2007 until late 2011.
The legal filings come as BBH has been doing "a lot better," according to Miller, vice president of the clinic's board. BBH sold its buildings for $3 million, and Miller said the sale "helped us improve our care of patients."
BBH specializes in treating patients with mental illness and drug addiction. The clinic was the subject of a Baltimore Sun investigation in 2010 that revealed unusually high Medicaid billings and detailed its control by several family members who earned six-figure salaries.