Hernando County government poorly served the public with its continued bumbling of a Spring Hill drug treatment facility affiliated with the Church of Scientology. The five-year ordeal ended last week with a nearly $2 million settlement to Narconon Spring Hill Inc. and flummoxed county commissioners wondering how the clinic’s operators circumvented the county’s own code enforcement to house clients in an unlicensed facility within a residential neighborhood. Hernando residents deserve a county government that is more thoughtful and accountable than this expensive lesson illustrates.
Commissioners may have been in the dark about the code violations, but their lawyers weren’t. Narconon’s undocumented expansion came to light in 2013 as part of the housing discrimination lawsuit it filed against Hernando. The county’s outside counsel highlighted the off-site facilities in arguing the county shouldn’t be liable for exorbitant damages.
It’s hard to be indignant over an illegal clinic while arguing you blessed it so Narconon could serve its growing clientele.