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Fraud Accusations on Eric Spofford? (2024)

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Former Granite Recovery Center owner Eric Spofford filed a lawsuit against the news director, two reporters, and New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR), claiming that their reporting wrongfully damaged his reputation. The case, which was filed in Rockingham Superior Court, alleges that Spofford’s reputation was severely harmed by NHPR’s coverage. His defense team claims that other than the NHPR, no law enforcement body has ever accused him of sexual assault.

Spofford is requesting compensation for the injury done to his personal and professional reputation, including emotional distress, shame, humiliation, and pain and suffering, even if the case does not specify a monetary figure. Known for being the creator of Granite Recovery Centers, which BayMark Health purchased in a big transaction about a year ago, Spofford is committed to rebuilding his name.

According to NHPR, veteran reporters Lauren Chooljian and Jason Moon conducted an investigation that lasted a year before they published their report in March 2022. Dan Barrick, the news director, and these journalists are both named in the complaint. The NHPR has reaffirmed its dedication to reporting truthfully and promised to stand up for its journalistic integrity.

Concerns over the article’s headline and using unidentified sources are among the issues Spofford’s legal team has brought up regarding NHPR’s reporting. One alleged victim, who spoke with NHPR, claimed to have received explicit texts from Spofford after leaving one of his treatment facilities in 2017 and expressed fear of reprisals if her identity was made public. “Employee A,” another purported victim, was referenced; the story of “Employee B,” the third, was told through the testimonies of three other employees.

Statements from more than a dozen former Granite Recovery Center staff members are included in the NHPR report. These individuals assert that they were aware for years of Spofford’s alleged inappropriate behavior toward female staff members. The reporters added that they spoke with many people in the recovery community in New Hampshire, as well as close to fifty past clients and both current and former workers.

Piers Kaniuka, a longtime friend of Spofford and his recovery sponsor who formerly held the position of director of spiritual life at Granite Recovery Center, plays a major role in the story. According to a quotation from Kaniuka, Eric Spofford needs to experience social exclusion, humiliation, and possibly legal action. However, according to the lawsuit, Kaniuka withdrew his testimony after it was published because he believed it to be false and devoid of firsthand information.

Spofford claims that NHPR’s reporting has seriously harmed his reputation in the drug addiction treatment sector. He says that vendors have cut ties with his investment firm, financial institutions have refused to work with him, and his relationships with New Hampshire legislators have soured. This is a big change from his prior position, where he was asked to testify before a U.S. Senate committee on the opioid crisis because of his well-publicized struggles with addiction, his subsequent recovery, and the creation of the largest network of addiction treatment centers in New Hampshire at the height of the crisis.

Dirty Pictures, Sexual Assault, and Additional Issues Surrounding Eric Spofford 

A network of journalistic organizations and the New Hampshire American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are supporting New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) in the legal struggle that Granite Recovery founder Eric Spofford started. 

In response to Spofford’s defamation case, the ACLU filed amicus briefs in support of NHPR, joined by organizations such as the New England First Amendment Coalition and several local newspapers. The legitimacy of the evidence used in NHPR’s reporting has come under investigation, as evidenced by court documents, prompting this support.

Claims of sexual harassment at the addiction treatment facilities Spofford founded are the subject of his lawsuit against NHPR. Claims that Spofford exchanged sexual photos and explicit communications are a central theme of the article, but new information implies that NHPR reporter Lauren Chooljian may not have seen the purported images before disclosing them.

As much as the ACLU and other media organizations have been acknowledged for their support of NHPR, it is important to point out that the media has given relatively little attention to their activities. Not even the PR-savvy, normally forward-thinking ACLU posted a news release on their website to announce their engagement.

Spofford’s legal team was doubting the veracity of NHPR’s reporting at the same time as the ACLU filed its amicus brief, especially with the reliability of their sources. Chooljian’s key witness, Spofford’s ex-partner Amy Anagnost, may have had hidden agendas, and Spofford’s lawyer, Michael Strauss, expressed doubts in court over her credibility.

Anagnost may have been trying to discredit Spofford to gain an advantage in family court proceedings on their child’s shared custody, according to Strauss. Anagnost was not one of the sources used by NHPR for their story, they have refuted it.

Last year, BayMark Health Services purchased the centers from Spofford, who was politically connected and involved in Granite Recovery Centers; nevertheless, the sale price is still unknown. Governor Chris Sununu received advice from Spofford on how to handle the opioid crisis in New Hampshire during his term.

Eric Spofford and Granite Recovery Center Controversy: 

The well-known man who founded Granite Recovery Centers, Eric Spofford, had made a name for himself in New Hampshire. Well-known for his testimony before Congress and his advisory position to Governor Chris Sununu on the opioid crisis, he had amassed over a million social media followers and developed a personal brand. He used anecdotes from his prior drug misuse issues in his narrative.

Reporter Ms. Chooljian of NHPR began covering Mr. Spofford’s actions in 2020 after she looked into a COVID-19 outbreak at one of the Granite Recovery sites. A tip regarding claims of sexual abuse against Mr. Spofford surfaced during this period. Ms. Chooljian interviewed a large number of Granite Recovery patients as well as current and past staff members for the next fifteen months. (It should be mentioned that Mr. Spofford sold his business for an estimated $115 million in late 2021.)

Ms. Chooljian gave Mr. Spofford a presentation of her findings in February 2022. Mitchell Schuster, his lawyer at the time, angrily refuted any claims of wrongdoing on his client’s side. Mr. Schuster got in touch with Ms. Chooljian’s editor, Daniel Barrick, to air his complaints, accusing her of “disingenuous reporting and malicious conduct.”

The investigation that is at the center of Mr. Spofford’s libel case was released by NHPR on March 22. A former patient of Granite Recovery described in the report inappropriate chat messages she received from Mr. Spofford, a former employee who allegedly sexually assaulted her. Piers Kaniuka, the former director of spiritual life at Granite Recovery, revealed in 2020 that he resigned from the position after Mr. Spofford was accused of sexual assault by an employee.

The persons who had been interviewed by Ms. Chooljian received letters from Mr. Spofford’s legal team the day after the exposé was published, alerting them of an upcoming lawsuit and advising them to save all pertinent written correspondence and materials.

A few weeks later, on April 24, Ms. Chooljian and her husband got some unsettling news while visiting Colorado. Ms. Chooljian’s mother texted them to let them know that someone had sprayed an obscene word in red paint on their garage door and thrown a rock through her parents’ window.

Ms. Chooljian was alarmed by this episode and called her editor, Mr. Barrick, who had just gotten a call from Mr. Spofford’s lawyer. Mr. Barrick shocked her by telling her that his house had also been spray-painted with the same derogatory term.

The home that Ms. Chooljian and her husband had previously occupied had also been vandalized, she learned the next day.

Ms. Chooljian’s parents voiced their concerns and asked her and Mr. Barrick to reevaluate their inquiry into Mr. Spofford in light of these disconcerting circumstances. “Maybe this isn’t the best course of action,” thought her father, Barry Chooljian. 

Now, where is Eric Spofford? 

The man who founded Granite Recovery Centers in Salem, Eric Spofford, started this project just two years after his opioid addiction recovery. His journey began in a small sober living facility in Derry, where he shared housing with eleven other people.

After thirteen years, Eric Spofford sold Granite Recovery Centers, the business he had founded and developed, and decided to split ways with it.

Apart from this momentous shift, Spofford is also focusing on starting a new company called “Premier Transportation Group.” This creative company wants to supply Uber drivers in southern New Hampshire with cars and training services that are specifically designed for them. Spofford recently purchased the first car in this expanding fleet and plans to launch in January. 

Conclusion

Eric Spofford is suing the NHPR because he says its coverage debunked claims of sexual assault and resulted in character assassination. He seeks damages for mental pain and reputational harm. NHPR intends to stand by its reporting. NHPR is still dedicated to reporting and will continue to stand up for its journalistic ethics. 

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