Truth is not a matter of opinion. Solid Evidence is the foundation of truth.

There is a proven process of investigation, be it for problem solving, selection of a course of action, or an unfettered search for truth.  The process is timeless and comes complete with built-in fail-safe protections against conclusion jumping.

  1.  Ascertain Facts and only facts.
  2. Identify the moral/ethical/legal or spiritual principle applicable
  3. Apply principal to facts

The best resources. the most current scientific research, real facts and evidence  are the key to effective problem solving. Allow me to provide an easy to understand example:

 If you have a wound  and are bleeding to death, which is most likely to help stop the bleeding? A tourniquet applied tightly above the wound, or singing Amazing Grace?    There is vast evidence that a tourniquet will stop the bleeding; there is no evidence that singing anything will stop the bleeding.
Evidence based medical treatment means that you use what is PROVEN to be of value, where there is ample EVIDENCE that a particular treatment actually works!  
When I mentioned this to my dear friend Leonard Buschel, publisher of the Addiction Recovery e-Bulletin, he uttered an experience  based phrase that contained tragic truth:
“In the rehab industry, they don’t care about evidence — it means nothing.” — Leonard Lee Buschel.
That quote is from a man who insists treatment works, and yet he also acknowledges that  the “Recovery Industry” is rife with corruption, and most so-called rehabs
 provide no medical diagnosis or medical treatment for what is a proven medical condition.  Most do not even have medically trained people on staff, let alone actual addiction medicine specialists.
No honest treatment center has a treatment plan in place before you arrive. That is a blatant violation of the most basic of medical ethics.

Every  year thousands of Americans are told that they have the medical conditions of addiction or alcoholism by people who have neither the tools nor the training to diagnose any illness.. They are basing their “diagnosis”on nothing more than behavioral symptoms, and there are at least seventeen treatable medical conditions other than alcoholism that have heavy drinking as behavioral symptoms.  Suppressing the symptom does nothing to treat the illness.  It requires a comprehensive medical diagnosis to determine what true medical issues are present, and what the appropriate treatment is for the individual patient.

Despite this obvious fact, people are still being sent, often against their will, to so-called “treatment centers” where they are told that they have a disease, but are denied any comprehensive medical evaluation or professional medical care.

NEVER send anyone to a rehab that evaluates your insurance but does not offer complete medical diagnosis prior to forming a treatment plan.

There are notable exceptions.  There are now treatment centers, evidence based, who use  your DNA to search for any inherited conditions that would make you vulnerable to addiction or dependence. Addiction Labs of America is a high-tech laboratory that caters to the unique testing and monitoring challenges of treating alcoholism and other dependence/addiction issues.

Research into the role of genes in drug addiction has shown that natural variations in proteins—which are encoded by a person’s genes—can lead to differences in how vulnerable that person is to drugs of abuse. Continued study of genetic factors in drug addiction can provide new ways for understanding the disease of drug addiction, and can lead to new therapies for preventing and treating it. — SCHOLASTIC MAGAZINE 2006

The AA BIG BOOK makes a clear distinction between the heavy drinker and the alcoholic.  They make drink the same, may have the same problems because of the drinking, but there is a difference — the alcoholic can’t stop even though they want to stop. 12-Step and other “recovery” programs can be excellent life-enhancing support groups but they are not treatment ,  not have they ever claimed to be treatment.  “Treatment,” confirms AA, “is the realm of doctors and scientists.”

Question;  If a true alcoholic cannot voluntarily stop drinking, and will go to any lengths to get alcohol, why can someone considered by family and friends to be an alcoholic enter a treatment center and NOT run away  at their first opportunity in order to get alcohol?  Is it possible that “problem drinkers” go to treatment and get sober, but actual alcoholics don’t?  Actually,  severe alcoholics will go into medically assisted detoxification using the latest medications created for  that purpose.

If you or someone you love is having issues with alcohol or drugs, the real first step is to contact an addiction medicine specialist. for a complete workup.   

In California, call (800) 444-1838  or to find the medical professional near you who specializes in addiction medicine, click this link, or cut and paste into your browser.



The village Rabbi, hearing that Messiah was resting in a farm house on the edge of town,  resolved to bring unto Him free will offerings of the finest gold and linen.

The Rabbi, however, possessed neither gold nor linen. Naturally, he would not steal it, but rather following the example of the Children of the Exodus, he made an appeal

His sister was a well-known prostitute of much success in the intercourse of commerce. Donning the disguise he kept at the synagogue lest he be recognized at the brothel, the Rabbi approached his sister at her place of business.

Much as the followers of Moses requested gifts of gold and fabric from the idolatrous Egyptians prior to encountering the Lord at Sinai, the Rabbi requested gold and linen from his sister to present before Messiah.

Her heart filled with love for her brother, and wishing to him happiness, she complied with his request. Arriving at the farmhouse on edge of town, the Rabbi greeted the Messiah, saying, “I bring you my freewill offering of precious gold and fine linen.”

Messiah looked at the gifts. Then spoke, gently yet firmly. “The gold is tainted; the linen is soiled. The offering from you is impure.”

“But Messiah,” reasoned the Rabbi, “although the gold be tainted by prostitution, and the linen likewise soiled, are the gifts not sanctified as in the days of the exodus from Egypt?”

The Messiah, filled with compassion, explained:

“The gold and linen were gifted to you in pure intent. It was your desire to impress me that tainted the offering. Return to your sister, free of disguise, and express to her my blessing and acceptance of her freewill gift.”

The Rabbi arose to leave with heavy heart, but Messiah stayed him. “Whosoever leaves here must do so with gladsome heart,” he said, and bestowed upon the Rabbi a warm embrace that filled the Rabbi with untold joy.

 “Take with you on your return, this lesson,” said Messiah. “More important than the prayer is the spirit in which it is uttered, and more important than the spirit of its utterance is the authenticity and consecration with which it is realized in deeds. Know thou that it is preferable in the eyes of God to honestly serve on your knees in a brothel, than to stand before the Lord in selfish disguise.”

Copyright 2005, 2011 and 2019 Burl Barer All Rights Reserved

The ART of the Heist

Four time Academy Award winning producer Stuart Benjamin (Ray) has teamed with fellow award winning producer Howard Lapides to acquire comprehensive rights to the forthcoming non-fiction thriller trilogy American Panther (Stealing Manhattan)  by Edgar Award winning author Burl Barer and Paul “Punch” Stanimirovic, son of gem heist mastermind “Mr. Stan.”

Mr. Stan: never captured, never convicted and never a day in prison

Mr. Stan

Mr. Stan is the sophisticated, charming, stylish, handsome and respected member of New York’s high-society who planned the most astonishing diamond heists and multi-million-dollar cash thefts in America for over three decades until his retirement in 2003.  Mr. Stan only robbed the over-insured. Hence, no one ever lost a dime being robbed by Mr. Stan.


Stan and his beautiful wife, Branka, owned and operated numerous successful legitimate businesses in Manhattan, and had five offices in the Diamond District – the same famed district where Stan’s crews were opening vaults and cracking the safes of the Big Apple’s most heavily insured jewelry firms.

Branka, wearing mink and diamonds with casual grace, charmed her way into the vaults of New York’s jewelry manufacturing firms, bringing back details and suggestions for the biggest heists in America’s history.

Their only son, “Punch,” made his first million by age sixteen in displays of criminal creativity and unmatched skill as a professional safe cracker.  A quick scan of NYC headlines reveals the audacity of his antics.


A brazen burglar busted into a 12th-floor jewelry manufacturer in Midtown early yesterday and made off with $1.5 million in jewelry, police said.  “The burglary was like something straight out of a movie,” said a detective on the scene.

It was Punch who trained the next generation, and conceived the techniques used today by his former crew members in the notorious Pink Panthers.

Punch was the first to recruit the security firms and their executives to work with him instead of against him, not only in the Diamond District, but also on armored car company warehouse thefts and over three hundred cold case heists in New York City alone.

In 1993,Mr. Stan and Son devised the most audacious and successful  mega-heist in the history of American crime: over one BILLION dollars in diamonds, gold and precious gems.

Punch, the only American born family member, is also the only one to serve time. Retired from crime for over a decade, he is now a successful contemporary artist whose first paint brush and canvas were gifts from Phillip Pearlstein. Praised for his brilliant command of style, unquestioned authenticity and unprecedented mastery of diverse media, Punch, a street-smart graffiti artist in the ‘80’s, is now living his crime-free artistic dreams as a multi-media savant   #motherartistfatherartist. 

The first book in the American Panther Trilogy, Stealing Manhattan, will see publication this year in advance of the first motion picture adapted from this astonishing true story.

The legitimate winner of over three million dollars at Florida’s Hard Rock Casino, Punch is also a popular true crime commentator profiled in Vanity Fair, on HBO’s VICE, in Real Crime Magazine in the UK and is a regular contributor to True Crime Uncensored, America’s premier and longest running true crime podcast. He is an exceptionally popular “larger than life” media personality with an extensive fan base already established in Russia and Eastern Europe.

Mr. Stan, retired and living outside the United States, has allowed access to his extensive personal memoirs to assist in the accuracy of this incredible one-of-a-kind true crime adventure.  His former wife,  Branka, also cooperated fully. She and Punch are both residents of Southern Florida.

Burl Barer, author of American Panther

“Days Outside Time”

I’m feeling quite happy,
I’m feeling quite fine.
It’s Ayyam-i-Ha, 
The days outside time!

Days outside time?
That makes no sense at all!
You mean no watch on your wrist?
No clock on the wall?
How can you have days outside time
That makes no sense, no reason, no rhyme.

Days outside time are quite a relief.
No time for sadness, worry or grief!

You are silly as can be,
I must insist, days outside time can never exist!
Time is how we measure the length of a day.
Time is important, I’m here to shout
Time is something I don’t want to run out!

You can’t run out of what isn’t there,
If you’re bald all your life, you don’t miss your hair.

That makes no sense either, you’re making me laugh.
But explain this much faster, cut it in half.

Ayyam-i-Ha is all about fun
And kindness, charity
And us all being one.
People are often in so much of a  hurry
Their life is a mess, a run around flurry
They have so little time to
get things done,
everything is half-baked, and left most undone
But these days outside time are special as can be,
For these special days set us all free.
They remind us of love, and thinking of others,
Helping our moms, dads, sisters and brothers.
Days outside time give you time by the double
Where there is love, there’s always enough time, and nothing is too much

Say that again, I like what I heard,
Say it slowly, word by word.

“Where there is love, nothing is too much trouble, and there’s always
enough time” Abdu’l-Baha

Oh, I think I finally understand.
Ayyam-i-Ha is really quite grand
Days of kindness, joy and  delight
 From the start of the day ’till the last thing at night.

You got it now, my happy new friend
Time isn’t rock solid, it was made to bend
Love makes time go quickly, or slow down to a
crawl, because where there is love, there’s always enough time, and nothing is too much trouble at all.

I’m feeling quite happy,
I’m feeling quite fine
It’s Ayyam-i-Ha,
The days outside time.

©2000, 2007, 2019 by Burl Barer
all rights reserved


I’m sitting on the greatest unknown true crime story of my lifetime. This is every non-fiction author’s dream come true: an exclusive on the greatest mega-heist in history — over one billion dollars in diamonds, gold and precious gems — and you never heard of it because (a) almost everyone was in on it, and (b) they got away with it.

Yes, I had to wait until the statute of limitations was up on every aspect of the story before I could go public. In exchange for my silence, I was rewarded with unlimited personal access to the world’s greatest gem theif masterminds including the personal memoirs of the remarkable genius, “Mr. Stan,” the ultimate gentleman theif who got away with everything.

Stan was a respected member of New York high society, a millionaire businessman, artifact collector and investor with five offices in New York’s diamond district. His lovely younger wife, Branka, was a brilliant artist and friend of Phillip Pearlstein, Walter Chrysler and Joan Crawford. Together, they were a power couple beloved and admired for their charm, honesty and ethics.

What Mr. Stan’s friends and associates didn’t know was that Stan and Branka oversaw six or more teams of highly trained and disciplined specialists who, in the midnight hour, looted the vaults of the jewelry manufacturing firms who were insured for one-hundred-million dollars or more in New York’s diamond district.

Their only son, “Punch,” pulled his first multi-million dollar heist at age sixteen. Educated at the world’s most expensive boarding school in Switzerland, “Punch,” is the one who recruited the security firms to work with him instead of against him. With teams of acrobats, strongmen, safe crackers, locksmiths and alarm experts, the final added co-conspirator was the addition of the Lacka safe mantufacturing company who trained Punch in how to open all of their top-of-the line safes. With the insurance companies long intertwined with the New York mafia families, the firms hit by Mr. Stan and Son promptly paid those specific claims promply.

Now, just as I’m breaking this story in a three-volume set, Amierican Panther: Stealing Manhattan, two of Punch’s former independent contractors, “Coco” and “Gorilla,” were arrested and portrayed aS leaders of a “criminal enterprise.”


What they allegedly did may be criminal but what they were supposedly doing is not a criminal enterprise. Going back to the late 60’s and early 70’s the method has always been the same: you plan each aspect, then you bring in specialists for each aspect of the project. They might not even know who hired them or who else is working the same project. It is like the so-called “Pink Panthers” about whom I know more than INTERPOL because, after all, I’m Burl Barer, the true crime writer that criminals trust.

There are not 600 Pink Panthers. There were, at one time, six people you could rightfully say were “Panthers” — most are dead or retired. I know one of them personaly. There are two left. The people doing the so-called Pink Panther heists are hired hands just as “Coco” and “Gorilla” were hired hands back in the 1990s

This isn’t a gang. This isn’t a mob. This doesn’t fit the criminal enterprise template and, dammit, the Feds know it. Just as the infamous YACS only existed in someone’s fertile federal imagination, this “criminal enterprise” of Coco’s is imaginary as well. Coco was trained by Punch, Mr. Stan’s son. It appears that Coco simply did what Punch did before Punch left crime behind, and Mr. Stan before him. The big difference is that Mr. Stan was never caught, never prosecuted and never spent a day in prison. Now 82 and retired overseas, he has invited me to have lunch and go fishing, If I take him up on his offer, I’ll let you know.

Meanwhile, I’m waiting for someone such as the btrilliant and talented Erin Moriarty to put this story, in all its glory in front of the public prior to the publication of my book, and remind the short term memory media and prosecutors that Coco isn’t head of some gang, mob or criminal enterprise– he’s not even an innovator, but a damn good student of the true masters,Mr. Stan and Son.

Who is a Drug Addict?

This is a true story. A young man and a young woman, both perhaps mid to late 20’s, huddled against the wind, were having an argument about addiction that began when the young man said:

“I need a crack hit,”

“No, you don’t,” the woman countered. “You want a crack hit.”

“No, I’m a crack addict and I need a crack hit.”

“You’re not an addict  ;  I’m an addict  My body is physically addicted to Heroin.   If you don’t get crack tonight, you’ll live.  If I don’t get Heroin, I might die – it’s that simple.  You  don’t know addiction. You know habit and preference and maybe some obsession of the mind but that sure as hell isn’t anything like addiction. You have a habit you can’t afford; I have an addiction that, for the life of me, I can’t afford to stop.”

The boy digs in his pants and pulls out three one-dollar bills.

She looks at him suspiciously.

“What do you expect to get from me for three bucks? Even my hand has five fingers, if you know what I mean.”

“I know what you mean.  I thought maybe you’d let me buy you a cup of coffee over there. That coffee shop is still open and if we sit by the window we can still see if our connects are coming but we will be warm and out of the wind.”

The girl smiled an honest  smile for the first time since well, I don’t honestly know.

“Hell, yes, “ she said linking arms with him as they headed for the coffee shop, “we drug addicts gotta stick together. You know…like family.”

Family isn’t always that eager to stick together. 

No one is more honest, more caring or more compassionate than a drug addict. When they say that they promise to never lie or steal they mean it 100%.. They are not being disingenuous or making promises they don’t intend to keep.  But if they are actually physically addicted to an opiate such a morphine or heroin, they know that if they don’t score, they could die . It is a true matter of life or death.  They are not using the drug for fun, for pleasure, or to get “high.”

If you say: “I can’t believe she would steal our flat screen TV to score Heroin.” I ask you, if someone kidnapped her and held her for ransom, saying that the price of keeping her alive one more day was your flat screen TV, would you say no?

Is her life of less value than your TV set?

People with addiction are not puppets with tangled strings that need to be cut so they can learn the harsh lesson of gravity. Beware of hastening them to “hit bottom”

They can’t get clean if they’re not alive.   As long as they are alive, there is hope.

Addiction/Recovery e-Bulletin’s Success Secret.

In five and a half years, the Addiction/Recovery e-Bulletin has become Leonard Lee Buschel’s most successful venture, and that’s a significant accomplishment when viewing Buschel’s track record of non-stop success in the past decade.

A California Certified Substance Abuse Counselor with years of experience with people struggling with addiction, Buschel co-founded the prestigious Writers in Treatment with Robert Downey, Sr., modeled after Music Cares. He also established the annual Experience Strength and Hope Awards® and the now international Reel Recovery Film Festivals®.

The secret of Buschel’s Addiction/Recovery e-Bulletin success is no secret. It is cutting edge in every way. There is no grinding ax, no hard sell of one support group over another, but a vast diversity of information making it the perfect balance of the latest research, pop culture and immediate relevancy.

Perhaps one of its great strengths is that you don’t have to be in the addiction/recovery industry to enjoy it, nor do you have to be suffering from addiction or striving for recovery to eagerly await its weekly arrival. And you don’t have to have problems with drugs or alcohol to find the A/R e-Bulletin vastly entertaining and informative. It is, above all, fun to read even when there are stories of heartbreak or scandal. The balance of content is perfect because there is something to challenge your preconceptions in every issue, something to re-affirm your views, and something so off the wall you just go, “WTF?”

Buschel’s ability to find and link to stories you won’t find elesewhere derives from its editor/publsher having an open and unbiased mind crediting readers with the ability to learn and grow by encountering a diversity of approaches and viewpoints.

You are likely to find a story about the dangers of rave drugs next to a feature on the value of psychedelics such as MDMA in the successful treatment of PTSD, or a feature lamenting the over-prescription of opiods juxtaposed with one explaining America’s past under-prescribing of opiods and the resultant suffering of chronic pain sufferers.

As much as I admire Buschel and his accomplishments, he deserves far wider praise and publicity. Hopefully some wise and perhaps even sober journalist for a major publication will take the hint and elevate the well deserved admiration of the A/R e-Bulletin to the next level.

To subscribe to the Addiction/Recovery e-Bulletin, simply follow this link!   


Leonard Buschel is a Philadelphia native, and a very happy Los Angeles transplant. He is a California Certified Substance Abuse Counselor with years of experience working with people struggling with addiction. He attended Naropa University in Boulder, CO. Mr. Buschel is the founder of Writers In Treatment whose primary purpose is to promote ‘treatment’ as the best first step solution for addiction, alcoholism and other self-destructive behaviors. Leonard is the director of the nine year old REEL Recovery Film Festival & Symposium®, and for five years has been the editor/publisher of the weekly Addiction/Recovery eBulletin®. He also produces the annual Experience, Strength and Hope Awards® in Los Angeles.

Recipients of the Experience, Strength and Hope Awards have incuded Academy Award winning actor Lou Gossett, Jr., Astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, Duran Duran founding band member, John Taylor, Emmy award winning actor, Joey Pantoliano, recovery advocate and actress, Mackenzie Phillips and others. Celebrity guests appearing on stage have included: Actors Robert Downey, Jr.; Ed Begley, Jr.; Tony Denison; Joanna Cassidy; Jack McGee; Ione Skye; Danny Trejo; Joe Walsh; and broadcast legend Pat O’Brien, plus comedians Bobcat Goldthwait and Alonzo Bodden. He just celebrated 23 years clean and sober.

Leonard Buschel
Editor/Publisher, Addiction/Recovery eBulletin

Learn more about Writers In Treatment at


Leonard Buschel




More death threats.
 I get them every so often, but I don’t take them too seriously. Mostly I get them from corrupt law enforcement employees who think I am going to expose their corruption. I don’t do that. That’s not my job.  I would rather expose the valor dedication and accomplishments of honest cops and compassionate detectives. Today, most of the death threats I get are not aimed at me, but at the guests on my radio show, True Crime Uncensored on Outlaw Radio.

About every few months, one or more of my guests is warned not to show up, not to speak, not to talk with me OR ELSE.   Or else what?   There were at least two real attempts on one guest prior to his interview, and I have received snarled warnings that a certain “crime bitch” should keep her mouth shut — this coming of course from a man who was allegedly on the grassy knoll with a weapon the day JFK was killed.

Once again the threats are happening to a potential guest known for his life of crime, a stand up guy who considers himself a career criminal, not a gangster.  I guess old associates are afraid that he will name names or spill beans best left in the can.

It has been several years since I’ve actually seen a bullit with my name on it — that was courtesy of Gary Friedman, and how the ATF found out about it I never  knew.  I was also threatened by a dirty drug cop with getting shot or busted if I didn’t drop an investigation….I never would have known he had something to hide if he hadn’t tried to hide it.

To live outside the law you must be honest, said Bob Dylan.  I think that’s true. Dishonesty is now so rampant that being a criminal isn’t the career choice it used to be,  The honor among theives is an illusion, and finding someone who doesn’t wear snow shoes when stepping on product is more rare than a pre -1945 Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey reunion concert.

I don’t know if other true crime authors get threats, or if it is just my winning personality.  It may be more safe to write fiction, and I love doing so, but when it comes to true crime, you never have to worry about how the story ends….conviction, execution or complete exhoneration,,, and because it is true, you don’t get too many objections to the belevability of the plot.


LIES LIES LIES and Stupidity

I am continually amazed by people who intenionally lie to hurt other people, or to prove a point.  I am also amazed by people who lie about everything all the time.  I guess it is some mental problem where they actually are not capable of telling the truth.  

Then we have politicians who lie repeatedly, and of course they know they are lying and they know that their fans are either idiots or fools or both.  A polite term for people who don’t know much about important issues, facts, reality, etc are termed “Low Information Voters.”   In the previous Presidential election, a candidate proclaimed “I love low-information voters!” And he meant it!

In our personal lives, people lie for diverse reasons. Most often, they lie because they fear that telling the truth will get them in trouble.  The only time it is ethically okay to lie is to save a life or to give hope of recovery to someone who might die if they lose the will to live.   Telling kids that it is NEVER okay to lie is not a good idea.  It is okay to lie if the Nazis are looking for Jews to kill and you know where Jews are hiding.  To tell the truth in that situation is to be complicit in the murder of innocents.

Telling lies about others is, generally speaking, both cruel and heartless.  I don’t endorse such behavior, nor do I tolerate it.  I hope you don’t either. My faith teaches not to “inhale a word of backbiting.”  When someone comes to you with gossip about the behavior of others, you can refuse to hear it.  Do not pollute the waters of friendship with gossip and backbiting

There is nothing peachy at 6360 Peach

The following Op-Ed feature is by award-winning investigative journalist Burl Barer.  Mr. Barer has been pro-active in the support of effective prevention and treatment of alcoholism and addiction since 1973 when he served on the Seattle Mayor’s Task Force on Drug Abuse Treatment and Prevention. Often outspoken and admittedly opinionated, the views expressed are his own and intended to foster further conversation and increased dedication to honesty and integrity in the Recovery Industry.

                Back in my college days, I was a lodger with three meals a day in the home of Wilma Smith.  It was wonderful. The food was home cooked family meals, and because there were Jews, Muslims, Hindus of different castes, and others, each meal offered your choice of beef, chicken or pork because Hindus don’t eat beef, Muslims and Jews (Orthodox) don’t eat pork, and chicken is always a useful alternative.  We were lodgers.  There is a difference between a lodger and a tenant very clearly under California law:

A “lodger” is a person who lives in a room in a house where the owner lives.

Yes, if you own a home, and you live in that home, and you  decide to rent out a room or two or three, the folks who stay there are lodgers.   In some states, lodgers have far fewer rights than tenants because they are in someone’s personal home.   The landlord lives there – not just in some room down the hallway, but this place is the landlord’s real-life residence and they share their living space with you. Kitchen, living room etc. just as if you were family.   

 The owner can enter all areas occupied by the lodger and has overall control of the house. Under California law, however, most lodgers have the same rights as tenants. (Civil Code section 1940(a).)

You have reasonable expectations of security and privacy within the context of being a lodger. While the homeowner may enter your room without your permission, they can’t rummage through your private possessions or confiscate your personal belongings.

“Someone should tell that to Ron, the guy who claims that we’re his lodgers,” says Timothy “ I found him digging though my backpack.”

“That’s nothing,” says Lyle, a gregarious man in his fifties. “I missed several hours of work because Ron decided to turn my room upside down in the type of search only an inmate in prison would be subjected to.  I wasn’t going to let him do it without me present.”

The Ron to whom they refer is the landlord who doesn’t live there and doesn’t share living space with his so-called lodgers.  In fact, this same fellow owns numerous locations, some designated as “Assisted Living,” other termed “Sober Living” and one claiming medical detox and counseling for people in recovery. He makes a big deal of his tenant not being tenants, but lodgers.  In the particular residence in question, 6360 Peach in Van Nuys, California. “lodgers” are primarily people on fixed income who have recently experienced surgery or other health issues. The affordability of not having to come up with first and last month’s rent in order to get a bed, a group TV room, and three meals a day sounds as if a good deal – but the pitch presented is not what you get.

One recent resident, well over sixty years of age, was recovering from a heart attack.  He was assigned a room that didn’t yet have a bed.  Eventually, the component parts arrived he was expected to put it together himself.  When he objected, the men delivering it from one of Ron’s other locations, mocked him to shame and insulted him, and when he followed them into his room, he had a cup of coffee in his hand. They grabbed it from him, saying “that’s against the rules!” and took it away.  What rule?  You come here thinking it’s one thing, and they treat you as if you are a court ordered criminal.

“When I came in direct from the hospital,” shares Mike, “they gave me a bed to sleep on, but no pillow. no blanket and no place to put my clothes. I had to sleep with my clothes on and use a rolled up towel as a pillow.”

If there are “rules” at 6360 Peach, they are not shared with new “lodgers.”  One fellow had a job working evenings.  He returned to find the gate locked with a padlock.  There is a night bell, but its location and usage were never shared with him.  Fortunately, he had friends in Van Nuys who let him sleep on their couch until he could get back into the residence.

Another resident left the house for the day and when he returned, his personal computer was missing.  He asked the on-site manager where it was, and she said that she didn’t know.  He was about to call the police and report burglary/theft when he figured he would alert Ron.

Ron had confiscated the computer, but would return it the next day.

You can’t have personal items in your room because, according to Ron, they will be stolen.

 Where are you to put personal possessions if you can’t have them in your room? 

No one knows.  There are no provisions for personal items of any kind. Lodgers are apparently presumed to be unburdened by any personal possessions.

The rooms are adequate for two pre-fab single mattresses and nothing else. Although there may be the possibility of a small nightstand with two drawers, and if you’re exceptionally fortunate, a small lamp.

Unlike Wilma’s boarding house, there are no yummy family meals for lodgers.  The meat boiled in the undrained pasta served for lunch was never identified.

“There was enough starch on my plate,” remarked one resident “to stiffen all the shirts in my closet – if I had a closet.   Breakfast was an egg on white bread one day, generic Cap’n  Crunch, the next.  Not exactly a diabetic’s delight.   Fruits and vegetables? Forget it. “

“One old guy, at least seventy-years-old, was thrown out,” states Lyle “because Ron claimed that the fellow had used drugs in the house although no one ever claimed to see him use any drugs in the house.  Ron had gone into the man’s room and searched through his private possessions including his brief case and all the attachments for his Nebulizer – a device to help him breath.  Ron supposedly found paraphernalia and wanted the old guy  to sign a paper saying that he was expelled for drug use, and he refused to sign it.  Ron took his personal property such as his phone and would only return them when the guy was off the property,  So, there this guy was, a senior citizen with disabilities, suddenly homeless on the street with two suitcases and a briefcase and no where to go. Do to his disability, he couldn’t even drag the suitcases anywhere.  Someone took pity on him and called him a Lyft to somewhere. It should have been to a lawyer.”

Under California Law, if you have more than one lodger in your residence, they have the same rights as a tenant when it comes to eviction and illegal searches of personal property.  Landlords are forbidden from taking maters into their own hands, such as forcing a paid-up resident out on the street. They must follow the law.

“Forcing that senior citizen out on the street was certainly a violation of tenant rights,” commented an online housing law expert, “And as the gentleman was a senior with health issues, the landlord violated policies that insist that the tenant must be given 30 days’ notice, alternative housing must be arranged, and continued care must be maintained for the individual, regardless of any alleged wrongdoing.”  

The group residence at 6360 Peach, despite claims to the contrary, is not an independent living center. It is also not assisted living, nor a transitional program to assist the disabled. Nor is it recovery oriented sober living.  Whatever it is, it isn’t what it claims to be.

A sad looking old man recently transferred from a local hospital, shirtless and polite, shuffled down the hall and meekly asked “May I please have a small glass of milk?”


The man looked as if he’d just been hit in the face with a wet towel

“All I need is a small glass of milk,” he pleaded.

“No. I’ve already locked up the milk.”

No kidding. There was a padlock on the fridge.

So much for compassion, empathy or individual care;

 “You won’t find that here,” confirmed a disappointed resident speaking on the condition of name and gender anonymity in an off-premises interview. “Whatever agency  regulates these places isn’t regulating this one.  Ron claims that he has a special relationship and that the agencies do favors for him in getting him clients.  Favors? Who is paying off whom?  Ron doesn’t live here and share true living space with us. It’s a sham. We sign things when we move in that do not give disclosure of rules, regulations and of course we sign it thinking all it is a bed, three meals and some sort of emotional support and transportation to the doctor and such. I’m sure he knows that we don’t know what we’re really getting into.  And do you think any of us know how to complain or even know that we can complain? Of course not. What are we going to do? Most of have physical or mental disabilities and we have nowhere else to go, and nothing to do when we get there. We are in the Van Nuys Gulag with a color TV, and not a single thing to reinforce our value as human beings. In fact, we are deemed suspicious irritants at best.  Look at our rooms. The empty walls and no personal items in the room tells it all – our only value is the thousand dollars a month we, or our insurance, pays for us to be treated as disposable left overs, devoid of value, respect or dignity.”

Names have been changed to protect residents from retaliation.   Whether or not the owner/manager of 6360 Peach is in violation of State, Federal or Local laws or regulations is up to the appropriate agencies to determine.   Accusations do not equal convictions or  culpability.