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Sununu Asks DHHS, AG to Examine Allegations Against Hope for New Hampshire Recovery

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

This story was updated Tuesday with new information.

On Monday, NHPR reported on a series of complaints alleging financial mismanagement and dysfunction at Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, which operates recovery centers throughout the state. Now, the governor’s office is asking both the Attorney General and the Department of Health and Human Services to look into the matter.

On a Tuesday morning conference call with reporters about unrelated matter, Gov. Chris Sununu confirmed he's spoken with DHHS Commissioner Jeff Meyers and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald about the issues highlighted in NHPR's report.

"I don't know if there's legal ramifications here in terms of contracts, or whatever it might be. We're looking at whether the allegations have any merit to them, first and foremost, if so what the ramifications would be and what the legal aspects are," Sununu said. "They're looking into that today. We saw the story, like everyone else did. We'll stay on top of it and see what next steps we have to take, if any."

In a statement provided after NHPR’s report was published on Monday, DHHS spokesman Jake Leon said the agency “takes these complaints very seriously and has initiated an investigation into the allegations.”

Last fall, the executive council  approved more than $100,000 in state funding to help Hope For New Hampshire Recovery launch several new addiction recovery centers.

Democratic Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky wasn’t on the council at that time but said the allegations raised in NHPR’s report raised questions for him about whether there was enough state oversight built into the contract in the first place.

While Volinsky said he supports peer-to-peer recovery models as an important component of the state’s approach to addressing substance misuse, he said oversight is also important to make sure it’s being done right.

“Particularly in this circumstance where we had an agency that was just starting out in its expansion and intended to grow rapidly with this big infusion of money,” Volinsky said. “That would’ve made me think that there maybe needed to be more monitoring for a startup, so to speak in this area than was provided for in this contract.”

Volinsky and Republican Executive Councilor Joe Kenney both said they plan to bring up the issue at the next council meeting, scheduled for next week. 

Casey McDermott is a senior news editor at New Hampshire Public Radio. Throughout her time as an NHPR reporter and editor, she has worked with colleagues across the newsroom to deepen the station’s accountability coverage, data journalism and audience engagement across platforms.

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