Sunday, August 14, 2011

Palm Springs | An excellent read: 'Battle at Betty Ford Center: Internal rift clouds center's future'

In a textbook example of public-service journalism, The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, Calif., has used public documents and private correspondence to reveal a feud over the legacy of first lady Betty Ford and the addiction treatment center she helped establish in nearby Rancho Mirage. Here's the top of this morning's mainbar, by reporters Marcel Honoré and Erica Felci:

Betty Ford
The death of first lady Betty Ford has deepened divisions between her longtime allies and the director of the Betty Ford Center, prompting several former board members and wealthy former patients to pull donations at a time when the economy has constricted the center's once enviable cash flow.

The world-renowned treatment center, which aggressively protects the secrets of donors and patients, is now estranged from Betty Ford's daughter when its future is most in question. Ford — who devoted her post-White House years to addiction treatment — lent her life-story to the Rancho Mirage center and wished above all else that her daughter, Susan Ford Bales, would succeed her as the board's chairwoman, where she could protect her vision.

Susan F. Bales
But as Betty Ford's strength diminished, a feud erupted over the selection of a new CEO and a push by the center's old-guard executive, John Schwarzlose, also to treat patients who are addicted to sex and gambling — a shift from Ford's desire to focus solely on drug and alcohol addiction.

In a stunning twist, a majority of the center's board of directors ousted Bales as chairwoman last spring. The coup was not announced to the general public. Friends of the Ford family were outraged. Seven months later, Bales resigned.

The Desert Sun's circulation: weekdays, 43,422; Sundays, 50,661, according to the ABC's circulation lookup.

[Front page: Newseum]


  1. heres our pal last week's episode, he resorted to this week's, he pulls out that other ol' trusty technique....copyright infringement, using content and pages copyrighted elsewhere to beef up his content, page views and more....all to make money. Off other peoples work. Without permission. Peopke are counting these, Hopkins. The lawsuit comes when you hit a certain threshold to show not only intent, but intent over time. You're closer than you realize.

  2. I'd be interested in reading that article, but my anti-virus software warns me that the site has 2 unsafe scripts and a trojan. So, I guess I'll skip reading it.

  3. Hey, 6:07 pm, Jim's doing fine. Tsk, tsk, tsk on you for your poor comments. Links are fine. Actually, he's a promoter of Gannett's work. Must be hard to swallow.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. I look at this article and the fine work that the Indy Star did and think, 'this is what a newspaper should look like every day.'
    The community - big or small - ought to feel like today's newspaper really is giving them news.
    Jim, thanks for reminders there are professionals who are doing fine work in spite of the corporate muck.

  6. Troll Patrol8/15/2011 10:04 AM

    Thank you, Indy Star reporters, editors, photographers, designers, copy editors and the others who work behind the sense for making a fine piece of journalism happen DESPITE layoffs, cuts, furloughs, new responsibilities, uncompensated hours and all the other nonsense reigned down on the front line staff from corporate. In your face troll 9:32

  7. Troll Patrol8/15/2011 10:05 AM

    Excuse me, Desert Sun. The coffee hasn't kicked in yet.

  8. Good piece. I've often wondered what will become of the Newseum when Ole Al carps. Looks to me some greedy pigs are positioning it for turning it over to some other corporation as a showroom for their products, then dividing up the proceeds among those insiders involved. That's why I see we need reforms of these non-profits to get better public disclosure and less tax forgiveness.
    P.S. Fair use.


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