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Serenity Place bankruptcy filing shows sharp revenue decline

New Hampshire Union Leader

May 02. 2018 9:21PM
The abrupt closure of Serenity Place, which provided drug-abuse treatment services in Manchester, upended the treatment system in the area. (Union Leader File)

MANCHESTER — Serenity Place, the addiction-treatment organization that hit a financial crisis late last year, reported more than $750,000 in debts in its bankruptcy liquidation filing.

The 44-page filing also detailed its drop in revenues as the nonprofit sought to help more people.

Serenity Place — which had its programs transferred to other organizations — recorded $3.72 million in revenue for the year ending June 30, 2017, but it experienced a sharp decline afterward.

It recorded $1.33 million in revenue for the nine months ending March 31, according to its Chapter 7 filing and its attorney.

“They just didn’t have the revenue to manage the growth they undertook,” Serenity Place attorney Peter Tamposi said Wednesday.

Serenity Place, now in receivership, listed total assets of $644,118 and debts of $758,796, according to paperwork filed last week.

Filing for bankruptcy rather than remaining in receivership will make it “easier and cleaner” for the organization to liquidate its assets, Tamposi said.

Tom Donovan, who directs the Charitable Trusts Unit in the state Attorney General’s Office, has dealt with Serenity Place’s finances since late last year, including working to place it in receivership.

“It became pretty clear early on there wasn’t enough money to continue operating as a separate organization,” said Donovan, who three months ago predicted Chapter 7 was likely. “We are investigating what happened, and we’ll issue a report at some point.”

Serenity Place operated partly out of the former police station.

Secured claims — those with liens against the group’s real estate at 99 Manchester St. — will be paid first. Those are $180,000 to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, $99,505 to Eastern Bank, $13,319 to the Internal Revenue Service and $9,625 to New Hampshire Employment Security.

The group also owed an additional $205,000 in payroll taxes to the IRS.

The $180,000 owed to HHS was to repay a loan the state agency made to Serenity Place, Donovan said

Another $66,000 is owed to Alan Villeneuve, a board member who last November loaned the organization money.

A phone message wasn’t returned Wednesday.

The group’s biggest asset is $475,000 for 99 Manchester St.

A hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. on May 23 at the federal courthouse in Concord to determine whether a patient-care ombudsmen should be appointed.

“There is an issue with some of the patients of Serenity Place who would like to get their records, and it’s not been as seamless as it could be, so they’re working to solve that problem,” Donovan said.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence/Greater Manchester is listed as the official debtor, doing business as Serenity Place.

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald and the state Board of Licensing for Alcohol and Other Drug Use Professionals have been investigating the collapse of Serenity Place.

State officials have said that Serenity Place was overwhelmed by the number of patients it started seeing once Safe Station — the no-questions asked program at Manchester fire stations for people seeking treatment — grew in popularity.

The organization experienced cash-flow issues due to “faulty or absent billing for Medicaid services provided to clients, as well as more widespread deficiencies in financial controls,” MacDonald’s office has said in court papers.

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