Rehab Leaders Ousted After THR Probe Planning New Facility
This story first appeared in the Dec. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
It's rehab redux for the embattled couple behind A-list Hollywood Hills addiction treatment center One80, which closed over the summer, less than a month after a THR investigation exposed questionable client care practices there. Former CEO Alex Shohet and his wife, clinical director Bernadine Fried -- ousted by their own investors prior to the ultimate shutdown for, according to a termination document, alleged insurance fraud, willful misconduct and gross negligence -- are now seeking to raise $500,000 for a new facility.
According to a 16-page business plan obtained by THR, Wonderland EPA will offer a "new paradigm" of "exclusive" treatment, boasting "a sober club with restaurant, games, music & fun" (illustrated by a reference photograph of the courtyard of L.A.'s Soho House), luxury extended stay suites ("stay for a day, a week, a month or never leave") and an outpatient gym and spa.
The business plan, drawn up in October, notes that on Oct. 1 Wonderland EPA obtained the lease to a 50,000-square-foot former film processing studio on Wonderland Ave. in Laurel Canyon which had most recently been utilized by One80 as a sober-living facility after a decades-long stretch as a private home. The neighborhood is entirely residential, and a vocal group of adjacent homeowners is unhappy about the commercial ambitions they've been hearing about, particularly since they claim their past experience with One80 at the site has been negative.
"People pull up in their cars in the middle of the night, knocking on doors, asking for the ‘drug rehab mansion,'" says one neighbor, film producer Joseph Nasser. "You've got an elementary school down the street. I mean, what the heck?"
Yet despite the fact that the business plan features a large photo of the Wonderland Ave. property on its first page, and makes no specific mention of any other intended parcels, when contacted Shohet insisted that his plan is evolving and he only wants to run the former film studio complex as a straightforward licensed treatment center. "I'm not putting all of that [additional] stuff in that facility," he says, before noting that he's hoping to secure a separate property for his sober Soho House concept -- perhaps in Westwood, to be near UCLA Medical Center. "It's called a blue ocean strategy."