A Warm Springs man has been ordered to report to Federal Prison by Jan. 2nd according to court documents after being convicted of bribery, aid of bribery and wire fraud. Ted Suhl plead guilty to bribing top state DHS Deputy Director Steven Jones thousands of dollars in exchange for helping Suhl’s company. Jones plead guilty to his part in the case last year.
Suhl requested that he not be made to report to prison while he challenged his convictions and sentencing, that request was denied and Suhl was ordered to begin serving his sentence by Jan. 2nd 2017.
Suhl’s company came under fire in November 2014 after losing state benefits once these allegations came to the state’s attention. Here is our original article from Nov. 2014:
Federal Judge Kristine Baker ruled in the case involving Trinity Behavioral Heath Care and Maxus owned by Ted Suhl and once known as The Lordâ€™s Ranch. Judge Baker declined to issue an injunction to stop the State of Arkansas from cutting Medicaid payments to the corporations. Both corporations provide mental health services to youths in the facility.
Trinity Health, Maxus and their owner Ted Suhl have been implicated in bribing former Department of Human Services Deputy Director Steven Jones. The Lordâ€™s Ranch was implicated in court documents in the bribery case in which Jones, a former State Representative plead guilty in early October to Conspiracy and Bribery charges. Jones received $5,000 in cash and numerous free meals from the owners of the facility which was under contract from April 2007 to July 2013 with DHS.
Suhl has been described as a controversial figure who sat on a board for former Governor Huckabee during his administration, the board regulated businesses like the Lordâ€™s Ranch. In 2006 Suhlâ€™s company reportedly allowed the use of a plane owned by his company to Gov. Huckabee, his family and staff. Once the North Carolina trip became public, Huckabee repaid Suhl for the use of the plane. That same year Suhl and his companies received 8.5 million dollars in Medicaid funding. Once Suhlâ€™s term was expired, Gov. Huckabee did not reappoint him to the Child Welfare Agency Review Board.
In 2009 DHS reviewed businesses in Dumas and Benton owned by Suhl, the companies were fined $134,714. Suhlâ€™s heavy involvement with politics does not end with his relationship to former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee but continues through campaign contributions including those of legislators. Lawyers for the Suhl owned businesses say the loss of Medicaid benefits would threaten the future of the companies which according to their claims have helped several thousand patients.
Medicaid will continue sending payments until an appeal of the suspension can be heard by the state. Suhl, Trinity and The Lords Ranch have been criticized by many due to the alleged use of corporal punishment and heavy doses of religion. Suhl and his companies including the Warm Springs facility have been the subject of several investigative reports by media from Arkansas and a 2009 Wall Street Journal report which named ties to the Huckabee administration claiming the relationship had powerful influence on Arkansas Regulatory Boards.
Complaints about The Lordâ€™s Ranch range from those of parents of patients, former patients themselves and those of neighboring land owners in the Warm Springs area. Many believe this may finally be the end of a long running political scheme which includes allegations of courts steering patients to the facility. Legislators discovered that by comparison Arkansas was spending more on expensive residential care rather than community based services further adding millions to Suhlâ€™s companies.