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Sununu calls allegations against Spofford 'serious,' says they should be investigated

 Gov. Chris Sununu appeared next to Eric Spofford at Granite Recovery Centers'  headquarters on July 22, 2021.
Jason Moon / NHPR
Gov. Chris Sununu appeared next to Eric Spofford at Granite Recovery Centers' headquarters on July 22, 2021.

Gov. Chris Sununu is distancing himself from Eric Spofford, the founder of Granite Recovery Centers, the largest network of addiction treatment centers in the state. An NHPR investigation has found multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against Spofford involving his employees and a former client.

The allegations span several years, dating back to 2017, a period in which Spofford built a reputation as a leader in New Hampshire's addiction treatment industry. Spofford has donated thousands of dollars to Sununu’s political campaigns, and said that he “knows the governor personally.” Sununu, in turn, has repeatedly praised Spofford and said Spofford is someone he turns to for advice in dealing with the opioid crisis.

But asked Wednesday to respond to the new allegations against Spofford, Sununu noted that Spofford no longer owns Granite Recovery Centers and said the treatment network Spofford founded is “tremendous” and has “saved thousands of lives.” Spofford sold Granite Recovery Centers in December after leading the company for more than a decade. Spofford has said he plans to open new treatment centers around the country.

Earlier this week, NHPR reported allegations that Spofford sexually harassed a former client and sexually assaulted two GRC employees. These three allegations were corroborated by multiple sources. Spofford, through an attorney, denied engaging in any misconduct.

When pressed further about the claims against Spofford, Sununu said, “obviously, they’re very serious, they have to be taken seriously and investigated, of course.”

Sununu also said he has faith in the state’s process for vetting the organizations it does business with, including Granite Recovery Centers. Since 2019, the company has been awarded more than $3 million in no-bid contracts to house people waiting for treatment or in need of shelter.

Asked about his personal ties to Spofford Wednesday, Sununu at first claimed not to have spoken to Spofford for several years.

In fact, Sununu appeared beside Spofford last summer at a press conference at Granite Recovery Centers’ Salem headquarters.

When that appearance was called to his attention, Sununu first said he couldn't remember what the event was about. But he said it was “probably” the last time he talked to Spofford. He also said he attended a “fundraising event” at Spofford’s home at some point.

Lauren is a Senior Reporter/Producer for NHPR's narrative news unit, Document.

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