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California Palms in Austintown seeks to remain operating

YOUNGSTOWN — Just two weeks after agreeing in court documents that he would vacate his California Palms Addiction Recovery Campus in Austintown by Dec. 4, owner Sebastian Rucci has filed motions seeking to reverse the Oct. 30 court order.

Rucci did meet a Tuesday deadline to provide Mahoning County Common Pleas Court with the details of how he would relocate the substance-abuse clients at his facility off of state Route 46. But he also said California Palms “has secured refinancing and is in the process of negotiating a final payoff figure with the existing lender.”

The filing says the new financing could close this week, “which will moot the evacuation [of clients] deadline.” When contacted Friday for an update, Rucci said he expected the refinancing to close Friday or Monday.

Rucci told The Vindicator in an email the day the Oct. 30 court order was finalized that California Palms would remain open in spite of the court order saying otherwise.

Rucci said agreeing to the court order was a way to give him more time to refinance the facility’s debt.

Tuesday’s filing says patients were informed of the Dec. 4 deadline to leave and were notified of options available to them to transfer to other treatment facilities. There are 20 patients there, but no new patients have been accepted for nearly a month. The number of patients there is “steadily” falling, the filing says.

Other patients receive off-site medically assisted treatment and will continue to do that, the filing says. “All patients will be relocated no later than Nov. 30, 2019.”

Meanwhile, Rucci and his lawyers also filed a motion with Judge John Durkin on Tuesday that asks him to “order a new trial” on the judgment entry Rucci and his current lender, Pender Capital, agreed to Oct.30.

Though there was no “trial,” Rucci’s motion argues the Oct. 30 contempt-of-court entry “may be considered a trial” in this matter because of Rucci’s allegation that irregularities took place in the proceedings leading up to the agreed entry.

Rucci argued that no “mandatory hearing was held” because the matter was handled in judge’s chambers. It adds that Rucci and his attorney were refused a continuance to give them more time to prepare.

Rucci also argues that the reason for the contempt order has been “purged” by Rucci finding refinancing. He copied the contents of an email into the filing from a title agent, saying that the agent has prepared everything needed to close the refinancing and only needed Rucci to provide the payoff amount.

California Palms owes Pender about $4.05 million.

erunyan@tribtoday.com