Lohan’s new rehab center has no drug or alcohol treatment license
The Newport Beach rehab facility which Lindsay Lohan entered Thursday as part of her sentence for lying to police in a reckless driving case has no license to provide alcohol or drug treatment as required by the judge, officials said Thursday.
The actress entered Morningside Recovery LLC in Newport Beach on Thursday, her attorney Mark Heller told Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Dabney. Heller told the judge that the facility fully complied with the requirement that it provide 90 days of therapy in a setting where Lohan could not leave.
But Santa Monica city prosecutor Terry White said he only learned of the facility on Wednesday from reporters and demanded to review its compliance -- a request granted by the judge. White has a week to review the facility and raise objections.
On Thursday, state officials said the facility could not provide the treatment required by the judge in order for Lohan to avoid jail and that if it did so it would be violating the law.
“They do not have a license to provide alcohol or drug therapy in any of their facilities,” said Millicent Tidwell, deputy director of the licensing division of the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. Tidwell said licenses for three Costa Mesa facilities run by Morningside Recovery LLC were revoked In 2012. She said the Newport Beach facilities are “unlicensed” and can only operate as sober living facilities but cannot offer treatment.
“It is a violation of California law to operate a residential drug treatment facility without a license,” she explained.
The agency, she said, has a legal action against Morningside Recovery for operating the unlicensed treatment facilities in Newport Beach.
Tidwell said the licenses were revoked in 2012 “for several reasons.”
According to court records provided by the agency, Morningside has previously been accused of not properly storing and destroying medications. In 2011, it also was accused of not maintaining client confidentiality. Last year the state found it was “advertised as providing residential drug abuse recovery or treatment services without a license.”
An April 2012 death investigation at Morningside found that the facility was unlicensed and that a client did not receive a medical referral for medical services. At the time of the revocation, the state alleged the facility was serving far more people than it was licensed to operate with.
An administrative judge revoked the licenses in August 2012, noting that while the then-operator “has taken significant steps,” it had not corrected all the violations. The judge added that the number and the seriousness of the violations warranted revocation.
Morningside Recovery referred inquiries about its licensing to a New York-based public relations firm, which so far has not provided any comment.
On Thursday, prosecutor White objected to the last-minute change in facilities, saying he was not allowed to check out Morningside to see if it complied with the terms of the sentencing.
“This is highly improper,” White protested to Judge Dabney, noting he learned from the media that Lohan has chosen the Newport Beach facility.
Lohan’s attorney however, said the facility fully complies with Dabney’s sentencing requirement that the actress serve 90 days in a drug rehabilitation facility and that she cannot leave the facility. He said there would be no passes that would allow her to leave the grounds.
Dabney cautioned that the program must “fall within the parameters of the plea agreement.”
“I don’t have any problems with Ms. Lohan remaining in the program until this issue is resolved. If we decide the program doesn’t measure up to the plea agreement, she will have to move to a different program,” Dabney said. The judge, after briefly reviewing materials from the facility, said on its face “it appears it does.”
The judge asked prosecutors to inform him by May 10 whether they want a hearing to challenge the facility’s compliance with the plea agreement.
The “Mean Girls” star avoided jail in a last-minute deal by pleading no contest to misdemeanor reckless driving and providing false information to police. A charge of willfully resisting, obstructing or delaying an officer was dismissed. In addition to spending 90 days in rehab, Lohan must also spend 18 months in psychotherapy and serve 30 days of community service.
In pleading no contest, Lohan admitted she had violated her probation in a 2011 shoplifting case.
The view from Sacramento
For reporting and exclusive analysis from bureau chief John Myers, get our California Politics newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.