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Could Betrayal Ruin the Betty Ford Center Forever?

The passing of former first lady Betty Ford has worsened the problems with the director of the Betty Ford Center and the Ford Family and friends.  Donations from wealthy former Betty Ford Center clients and former board members have even been pulled at a time when our troubled economy has restricted the addiction treatment center’s formerly lucrative cash flow.

An addiction treatment center that assertively protects the anonymity of clients and those who donate to the center, the Betty Ford Center is now separated form Betty Ford’s daughter, Susan Ford Bales.  Betty Ford committed her post first lady years to addiction treatment and wished for nothing else than for her daughter to follow as the Betty Ford Center’s chairwoman to protect her dream.

Feuding at the Betty Ford Center began as Ford’s strength weakened and executives began the process of choosing a new CEO.   Another disagreement arose when a previous executive implemented the treatment of sex and gambling addicts when Betty Ford’s desire was to only treat alcohol and drug addiction.

Last spring, the Betty Ford Center’s board of directors overthrew Susan Ford Bales from her position as chairwoman.  Ford family friends were heated and Bales resigned seven months later.

Since that time Ford family friends have been distancing themselves from the addiction treatment center that they were a part of creating.

Those still at the Betty Ford Center are sure they’re directing the program as Ford wished.  In a recent interview with Desert Sun, they questioned whether or not Bales has truly withheld her deceased mother’s dream.

The Betty Ford Center’s future is clearly at stake.  The inpatient addiction treatment center is a $38 million annual operation that built its world-renowned reputation on treating only alcohol and drug addiction.  Today, the Betty Ford Center is forced to compete with other franchise run operations like Hazelden that are strategically adding more treatment options along with new locations though out the country.

Due to the conflict transpiring between the board of directors and the Ford family friends, many are pulling their financial pledges.  Some are even saying that this act of betrayal may completely ruin the organization.

Decision Expedited as Hazelden Courts Betty Ford Center Executive

For a couple of months, Betty Ford Center executives refused to take a look at the organization’s mayhem.  The board of directors wouldn’t speak on behalf of the company out of respect for Ford until she passed last July.

To the board of directors, the Betty Ford Center’s quarrels over leadership are simply related to the normal issues that any long standing business endures.

According to executives, the Betty Ford Center’s problems can be contributed to the company’s plans to replace their chief executive officer with their chief operations officer once their chairman reached his late 60s. After much debate as to when this was supposed to take place and the fact that their chief operating officer was being courted by Hazelden, the company’s biggest competition, many wanted to expedite the decision.

Those wanting to keep the current chief executive officer in duty won the vote, and Bales was voted out of the chairman spot in May 2010.

Ford expressed her displeasure by sending her daughter a memo changing her funeral arrangements replacing the company’s chief executive officer in her ceremony with one of her daughter’s ally’s.  Prior to the memo Ford also sent a letter to the board asking them to honor the treatment center that bears her name and also requested that the board respect her daughter as they would her.

Current executives question the authenticity of the letter’s contents, but The Desert Sun confirmed that the letter was, in fact accurate.  The letter continues to describe Betty Ford’s concern and displeasure with the treatment center as her daughter’s role diminished.

Betty Ford never lost hope and belief in the treatment center’s mission or it’s capacity to help those suffering from drug addiction.

In Ford’s will, she left the Betty Ford Center $500,000 and granted the use of her name in perpetuity.  The board says they now hope to recruit at least one of Ford’s three sons to join them.

If you or someone you know needs help from an effective addiction treatment center, Palm Partners can help.  Call 1-877-711-HOPE(4673).

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