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Free Indian Health Clinic Files for Bankruptcy

January 08, 1999

BELLFLOWER — An organization that runs the only free health clinic and residential substance abuse treatment program for Native Americans in Los Angeles County has declared bankruptcy.

The American Indian Clinic Inc. filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection Dec. 29, one day before its Bellflower clinic and Compton rehabilitation sites were to be sold at a trustee's auction. The trustee has postponed the sale until Feb. 2.

The clinic's executive director, William Beckley, said he intends to sell the clinic's properties to repay the debts and reorganize its finances. Then, he said, he plans to resurrect the clinic's free health and dental care at a rented site in Hawaiian Gardens.

Beckley said he hopes another Native American organization will take over the Main Artery substance abuse treatment program in Compton.

The clinic owes creditors about $1 million, Beckley said. Investigators from the state's attorney general's office are examining charges of embezzlement against Beckley by the Native American Community Action Coalition, a group of Native Americans campaigning to keep the county-funded programs alive. Beckley denies the allegations.

Jan Sampson, a coalition member, welcomed the idea of another entity taking over the Main Artery program, but said she wants someone other than Beckley to run it.

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