State Audit: Battle Creek’s Summit Pointe Misused $19 Million Under Brinker
An audit by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has unearthed further details of mismanagement of government funds by a Battle Creek mental health provider under their previous CEO.
Under Erv Brinker, the MDHHS says that between 2007 and 2014 Summit Pointe misused up to $19 million of MDHHS funds that they received. $13 million of that went towards pension plans for the CEO, CFO and COO along with other non-union employees, all done without Board approval. Over $5 million was also expensed improperly, including things like $86,000 for Brinker’s personal travel, $23,000 for parties and entertainment, and $15,000 to research if Summit Pointe could purchase a building in downtown Battle Creek and turn it into a boutique hotel.
A few, more odd things were also expensed, including $500,000 for psychic services for Erv Brinker, $22,000 to cover a book club, and $838 spent on a Bobcat costume “purchased for an unknown reason”.
The report also determined that several business activities Summit Pointe took part in were not allowed, including contracts for their employees and customers to take part in things like Lawn and Snow Removal, and an investment into a public Skate Park. The MDHHS recommends that in order to make sure these and several other violations don’t happen again, Summit Pointe should review their internal controls on spending and implement written procedures on proper use of government funds for expenses.
Former CEO Erv Brinker was sentenced to between 32 months and 10 years in prison in 2016, after he pleaded guilty to embezzlement and Medicaid Fraud Conspiracy for the money he spent to pay for a psychic in Florida.
According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, Brinker was released on Parole in September of this year, and he was assigned to the Hastings area.