Lawsuit: Missouri drug court participants used as informants

Gavel in courtroom

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The owners of a Franklin County treatment facility have filed a lawsuit against the county and others alleging that some participants in drug court were forced to work as informants for police, causing them to fail drug tests and the program.

The lawsuit was filed Aug. 1 in the district court, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ( ) reports. Kenneth Allen Jr. and Jan Allen say in the lawsuit that their company, Meramec Recovery Center Inc., lost its contract after they complained.

The Allens said in their lawsuit that using drug court participants as informants forced them to associate with drug users and dealers, which made success in the program more difficult.

Meramec became the drug treatment provider for the county’s drug court in 2000.

Sheriff’s Lt. Jason Grellner was named as one of the defendants in the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges he began using participants sometime in 2013.

According to the lawsuit, Kenneth Allen confronted Grellner after noticing that participants were failing drug tests and missing counseling sessions and drug court dates. The lawsuit said that Grellner and a prosecuting attorney met with the Office of State Courts Administrator to persuade the court system to terminate Meramec’s contract.

The office’s agreement with the company was ended nine months early in September 2013. The lawsuit does not say if the company was given a reason for the termination.

The lawsuit also claims Grellner used drug court participants as campaign aides.

Grellner said the allegation of using drug court participants as informants is “100 percent incorrect.”

A former prosecutor, the director of the Missouri Department of Corrections, a state probation officer and the new treatment provider and one of its officials were also named in the lawsuit.

A spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Corrections declined to comment. Associate Circuit Judge Stanley Williams, who presides over the drug court, and treatment court administrator Beth Billington also declined to comment.