Methadone clinic owner, state seek to settle suit

By Heather Steeves, BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 17, 2010, at 9:27 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — State officials who revoked a methadone clinic’s license to operate and the clinic owner are still engaged in settlement talks over a civil lawsuit filed in Rockland District Court.

The parties involved in the Turning Tide clinic case participated Wednesday in a conference call hearing set up through the court. According to court documents, a trial will be scheduled for late December or early January in case the settlement effort fails.

Officials with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services temporarily pulled clinic owner Angel Fuller McMahan’s state license to operate the facility on Sept. 7 based on the results of a federal investigation. The state then filed the civil lawsuit, which asks for a judge to permanently revoke all licenses for the methadone clinic.

Federal law enforcement officials shut down the Turning Tide methadone clinic in Rockland on Aug. 19, citing an unspecified threat to public health and safety. A methadone clinic needs both state and federal licenses to operate.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency claims in court documents that Fuller McMahan, 42, of Owls Head was making offers to trade methadone for cocaine, that she bought cocaine from clinic patients and that she employed at least one person with a drug conviction. The court papers also indicate that she broke an agreement she made as a convicted drug felon with the DEA that stipulated she would not enter the clinic building or order the methadone herself.

In a response to the state’s civil suit filed by her attorney last month, Fuller McMahan called the allegations unproved.

Since Turning Tide was shut down, most of its approximately 280 drug-addicted clients have found help at methadone clinics in Bangor, Waterville or elsewhere.

In a separate criminal case, Fuller McMahan was convicted in late October of possessing cocaine. Fuller McMahan was arrested July 13 after police witnessed her buying drugs in a New County Road parking lot and later found $2,500 worth of cocaine hidden in her pants and drug paraphernalia in her car, according to police.

Fuller McMahan was sentenced to 364 days in jail with all but 30 days suspended and fined $400 for the Class D crime.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/11/17/news/methadone-clinic-owner-state-seek-to-settle-suit/ printed on September 17, 2014