Klean kollapses

A photo on Klean Treatment Centers Long Beach’s website called the facility “A Beacon of Hope,” but many employees are still unpaid following the facility’s sudden closure.

LONG BEACH — Two months after the Klean rehab center suddenly closed, workers are still waiting to get paid.

Missing money

Since Dec. 20, five additional employees have filed wage complaints. In all, Klean’s parent company, White Rabbit Partners, LLC, owes local workers about $91,000 for about 3,613 hours of work.

While the Department of Labor and Industries continues to investigate some of the claims, a spokesman said the agency is now considering issuing citations for complaints filed earlier in December.

From bad to worse

Federal court documents show White Rabbit is still duking it out with their lender, Presidential Healthcare Credit Corp., which claims the rehab company owes around $4 million in unpaid loans. Presidential has seized control of the company through a third-party receiver. All of the company’s inpatient and outpatient facilities in California, Oregon and Washington have closed.

In court filings, White Rabbit’s attorneys said CEO Andrew Spanswick and other leaders “were forced to lend or contribute over $700,000 of their own funds to keep the business operations going, reduce the number of patients served and care facilities available, drastically cut valued employees just before the holidays and reduce new receivables…” the attorneys said. They claim Presidential’s decision to hire a receiver that charges “exorbitant fees” has only exacerbated the company’s serious financial problems.

New opportunities

The allegedly “valued” employees have met with mixed success as they try to move on from the financial and professional blow they suffered in December.

“Are we gonna eventually get money, or is it a big waste of time and taxpayer dollars?” Brett Sholin wondered. Despite not being paid, he said he and his wife Melissa, who was also an employee, are “actually doing really good.” After Klean closed, Long Beach treatment center Discover Recovery offered him a job. His wife recently began working as a housekeeper at Columbia Memorial Hospital.

“Things are pretty positive for us right now, but I know there are still a few people struggling to get jobs,” Sholin said.

California or bust

One of those people is Stephanie Keizer, who has decided to cut her losses after weeks of fruitless job hunting and waiting for her back pay. She said Spanswick did not communicate with Klean employees after the closure.

“I’m moving to California,” Keizer said. “I can’t find a job on the Peninsula.” She noted that Klean closed at a time when there are very few openings for people who work in food service and housekeeping.

Keizer wants to spend more time with her family, find a new job and save up money.

“I just have to put it behind me,” Keizer said. She estimates White Rabbit owes her about $2,300. The money would be a big help during her upcoming move, she said, but she’s accepted that she may never get paid.

“Honestly, I don’t think we’re gonna see a dime,” Keizer said. “I think the man took us for a ride.”

Natalie St. John is a staff writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact her at 360-642-8181 or nstjohn@chinookobserver.com.

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