Thursday, March 7, 2013

Midtown Medical Clinic Closed By DEA & IRS

Readers have wondered many times:  "Why are all those people in line outside the drug store at Windsor and Sheridan?"  Residents at CAPS meetings have brought up that they think strange things are afoot at Midtown Medical Center.

Well, they were right.  This afternoon DEA and IRS agents, accompanied by Chicago police, shut the place down and served search warrants for the illegal distribution of prescription medicine.  From about 2pm until 5:30, federal agents blocked off the sidewalk, parked their cars at the door, and brought out boxes of seized evidence.

According to a patient interviewed by ABC News:  "We knew a lot of them were shady just by the way they appeared coming in, bringing in five or six people at a time, they come in like groups. I have never seen anything like that. I have seen over 80 people standing out here to get in while the lobby is full," he said.  The whole story is here.

UU Note:  WGN News had a van there for hours, so they'll probably have a story as well.

Update:  And here it is from WGN, including this little tidbit. "Residents say it’s long been an open secret in the area that for a couple of hundred dollars, a doctor at Midtown Medical Center will write prescriptions on demand. They allege that common requests are the painkillers hydrocodone and OxyContin and the anxiety medication Xanax.

In fact, some residents who said they were too fearful to appear on camera, say addicts from all over Chicagoland come to the clinic, often in groups, and that lines could regularly be seen outside."


  1. And then he went and got some free soup at the Salvation Army truck.

  2. Damn that SA truck!!

    The bangers hang out there in the summertime too. Which is surprising because most bangers, I would suspect, prefer CVS for it’s nice selection of street gear.

  3. I really don't think there is anything horrible with the SA truck. I actually thought it was kinda cool for a long time. This is a tough issue. It takes serious people to solve these problems. We don't need a crazy free-market capitalist journalist or a bunch of left wing nut jobs "helping."

  4. Where is the crack Sun Times reporting on THIS story? May I suggest a few Uptown Update column titles for their article -- that is if they ever get around to writing it.

    1. Something's Hinky in Sun Times concern for Uptown residents
    2. Sun Times sees DEA/IRS raid as medical care "disincentive"
    3. Sun Times: Where will DEA displace drug operation? Oak Park??
    4. We can't print what some Uptown residents say about the Sun Times efforts to "help them"
    5. Outrage: DEA orders doctors to stop dealing to poor in North Side neighborhood.
    6. Sun Times free to show it's serious about helping Uptown

  5. Some of the comments above leave me puzzled:
    What does any of this have to do with the SA truck?, I don't understand what you are getting at either. Why all the angst towards the Sun Times?

    This story is covered by ABC and WGN, seems they did a good job...why get on the Sun Times for not being here? I actually am asking, I really don't understand.

    I'm glad the "clinic" is shut down, and hopefully the "doctor" will be put away for a long time. For me, that's about all there is to say about this, so the references to the SA truck seem unrelated in any way at all.

    -Eric, AKA Lecturing Larry

  6. Jeez, Eric. Can't you take a joke? Anyone who has closely followed the Sun Times series would recognize my suggested article titles as parodies.

    They are the same article titles used by the Sun Times for it's angst toward Uptown series. I've just substituted the Sun Times as the target of Uptown's angst.

    The jokes on you.

  7. Whew..for a minute I thought I was going to have to point out there is a difference between supplying drugs to dope attics and feeding the hungry. Nice to know I can skip that lecture

  8. Good riddance.

    I would rather have no business than this type of business in Uptown.

    We want businesses that attract people to our community, but not drug addicts and those that scurry around legitimate medical providers.


    Sounds like this was a small victory. If the DEA is looking for work, I think collectively we could come up with a few other targets right here in Uptown!

  9. Netbizzy,

    I have one complaint about your 12:44 comment. I didn't make it.


    That's some funny stuff.

    Also these doctors were charging $200+ a visit? I'm in the wrong business. Seems likely they were "serving" 100 people or more a day. That's $20,000 plus a day. Subtract $5000 for overhead etc and that still leaves a huge daily profit margin.

    It seems they had an adjoining apartment just to keep their money? Damn, I shoulda never have given up burglary as a career option.

  10. Reminds me of the good ol' days when Uptown's very own Dr. Jong Bek was busted, first in Chicago and then in Gary, Indiana for his similar "pill mill" operation.

    For curious minds wanting to know how these pill mills operate, read the 2006 case of US vs Bek at

    Geez. In the Jong case, the DEA dropped out of the sky with a helicopter loaded with SWAT agents and guns ablazing. We didn't get all that drama here. Perhaps there are no murder charges in this case from patients dying from overdoses.

    Speaking of Uptown's good ol days, does anyone else remember the Sunnyside Avenue drug dealer who had himself appointed as representative payee for all the users in the neighborhood? The Social Security office sent the SSI "crazy checks" to him and he delivered them to his users in "drug currency."

    Perhaps Jon Trott is on to something. Uptown just isn't as diverse as it used to be. Pity.

  11. said:
    Jeez, Eric. Can't you take a joke? Anyone who has closely followed the Sun Times series would recognize my suggested article titles as parodies.

    They are the same article titles used by the Sun Times for it's angst toward Uptown series. I've just substituted the Sun Times as the target of Uptown's angst.

    The jokes on you.

    Yeah yeah, I get your "creative" writing. That wasn't my point.

    The article is about the medical clinic being closed down by the DEA; None of the first four comments makes any mention of the article. I could copy and paste those comments on the other articles about the SA truck, and no one would be the wiser.

    THAT was my question, which you didn't answer.

    But it doesn't matter, this is a pointless argument. I'd rather read Irish Pirates stuff. Now HE is funny. :-)

    Which reminds me, I've been meaning to ask: Irish Pirate, why you love JPUSA so much? Just wonderin. ;-)

  12. I used to be a nurse at a methadone clinic and we would have to log their prescription meds so we could be aware of what they took...and we noticed ALOT of the same doctors and pharmacies filling these scripts..way too often. The DEA should just ask the nurses who work at methadone clinics them alot of time.

  13. There's Lots of Room at the Inn, by Sun Times Reporter Ray Coffey, Oct 1998.
    “Before we get all teary-eyed over yet another episode of that urban soap opera about downtrodden homeless souls sleeping out on the sidewalks of Lower Wacker Drive, I would like to interrupt for a brief visit with reality.
    * On any given night, through all seasons, there are from 35 to 50 homeless people camping out on Lower Wacker. Many of them, if not most, have alcohol or drug abuse problems. * Also on any given night, even in the dead of winter, homeless shelters downtown and all across Chicago have hundreds of empty beds, with clean sheets, showers and toilets other than sidewalks.
    * The reason people choose to stay on Lower Wacker--13 of the regulars have been there for 10 or more years--is they prefer the sidewalks because they don't want to be bound by standard shelter rules, such as no booze, no drugs and you have to take a shower.
    For years now, Chicago's Coalition for the Homeless (has) been dishing up illusory estimates of a constantly ``growing population'' of homeless people. They also have been asking the city (and state and federal governments) to spend more money on programs (such as their own) and on living wage jobs and affordable housing for the homeless. …
    ……What does not get much attention is the reality of what Chicago is doing for the homeless….., as seen by Sister Connie Driscoll, a Catholic nun who is chairwoman of the Task Force for the Homeless and who since 1983 has operated the Saint Martin de Porres Center for the homeless at 6423 S. Woodlawn. Her agency and programs are ``entirely privately funded--no government money at all'' and she bluntly challenges Donahue's portrait of the homeless plight. Driscoll says (COH’s) estimates of the homeless--the current number he told me Thursday is 15,000--``are inflated and always have been'' out of concern the government won't send them ``as much money as they would like.''
    (COH’s )Donahue told me ``there are no empty beds'' in Chicago homeless shelters. Driscoll says ``there has never been a night'' in nearly 10 years, on even the coldest subzero nights, when there have been no empty beds. ……… the city has ``really cracked down on'' poorly performing shelter providers, and ``we find the shelters [now operating] to be very well run.''
    So why do the Lower Wacker homeless refuse to go into a shelter? ``Many of them just don't want to live by the simplest rules. They want to take their bottles and drugs in with them.''
    Carmelo Vargas, a Human Services employee whose assignment takes him to Lower Wacker almost daily, agrees that most of the homeless there have substance abuse problems. Many have been in jail. They have a different lifestyle, he said: ``They sleep days and stay up nights.'' Also, besides not having to observe anyone's rules, Vargas said, ``they can live comfortably'' on the food, clothing and other gifts brought to them by feel-sorry passersby.
    Driscoll's St. Martin de Porres Center, which deliberately and specifically takes in homeless substance abusers under rigid discipline rules, also offers a whole range of rehabilitation and training programs. ``We have moved thousands of people'' into stable lives, she said, and there are other homeless shelter agencies also ``doing a tremendous job.'' …
    … I wonder. Sidewalks and doorways were not built to be bedrooms or campsites. There are, obviously, better places to camp out. And other people do have some rights, too, such as using sidewalks to walk to and from work

  14. The point, my dear Eric, is that while the other news sources are busy reporting real news, the Sun Times is busy creating its own tempest in a teapot to garner ratings. Sort of like Wm Randolph Hearst saying, "You take the pictures, I furnish the war."

    Creating controversy to sell papers is well ---just plain smarmy -- and frowned upon in the journalism industry. Activist journalism is not the hallmark of a true investigative journalist or of a quality, big-city newspaper. It manipulates the Uptown community and the homeless in many - even dangerous -- ways. The Sun Times editorial board should be ashamed of itself.

    How smarmy is this wholes series of spoon fed Mark Brown articles? Let's just ask the Sun Times. Back when the Sun Times still followed ethical journalistic standards, their own very respected reporter, Ray Coffey, said it best in his 1998 article: There's Lots of Room at the Inn. (see excerpts of Coffey’s article in the adjacent post)

    You see, Eric, that was then and this is now. It's the same old Coalition of the Homeless spoon fed story only this time they found a Sun Time reporter who is willing to swallow whole and regurgitate to the masses.

    But Eric buddy, I love you and your posts on the IBET blog. Good birding to you and see you out at the harbor.

  15. nettbiz,
    I guess I'm pretty slow. The 98 Sun Times said what you like to hear, so they are legit, but today's Sun Times says something different, so it's smarmy?
    I thought creating controversy to sell papers was the media's middle name.
    Anyway, I'm kinda tired of all this back and forth, it's pointless, and you haven't and most likely won't convince me of anything, nor will I convince you. I don't believe that the SA stormed out of the meeting. The fact that Cappleman said that discredits him in my book. Therefore, he's a liar and not to be trusted.
    You can trust him if you want, that's your choice, but given the stories that were told, I believe what Brown reported. And I've seen other actions by Cappleman that lend credibility to the story.
    Gotta go to bed, I'm too tired for all this.
    Oh, btw, I haven't posted on IBET for years and years, so I wonder if you're confusing me with someone else? Pointless and childish arguments on IBET about feeding Eagles hamburger and Harry Potters Owl made me quit hanging out there quite some time ago.

  16. Ok. You go your way and I'll go mine. We'll call it a respectful standoff.

  17. Eric, let's talk credibility here since that speaks to you.

    The fact that Cappleman is a social worker who founded a homeless shelter lends some bit of credibility, don't you think? Perhaps that's a fact you choose to ignore because it doesn't support your judgmental beliefs. Instead, you stated, "but given the stories that we're told" about Cappleman, which concerns me. Stories you were told? Did Cappleman have any say in these stories you were told?

    If you happen to be a member of JP/USA, any insight you could share about the Bible passage Matthew 7:1. I'm curious. It's that wonderful passage about judging others.

    How about giving me some insight about one of my favorite passages from John 8:7. You may not be familiar with it. It's the one about casting stones.

    Now there is a passage in Luke 4:18 where Jesus speaks about the need to respond to the needs of the poor. If you have any written statement that claims Cappleman is not responding to their needs, please reveal it. As it stands, I haven't seen any written evidence that Cappleman dislikes poor people except from propaganda written by others who I have doubts ever spoke with him.

  18. I’ve been following the lively discussion on the homeless/poor vs rich social services row in Uptown. I always fall back on a phrase my parents taught me: It’s never as bad as the naysayers say will be, nor will it be as good as those on the other side. It always falls somewhere in between.

    To put this discussion in context, it’s not about poor vs. rich. It’s about how the poor and the homeless can be managed and can be served with dignity within boundaries that those who are mostly working and middle class can have a community where we can all live safely and enjoy our lives. I seriously doubt calling mostly middleclass people “rich”, serves the discussion well and is mean spirited. There are plenty of middle class folks living in Uptown, should the economy go sour, find themselve’s in a position where they made need social services too.

    For those that operate shelters and other social service organizations, my hat goes off to you, because you’ve made a commitment to help those who are less fortunate. And because there is no single cause for problems of the poor and homeless, there is no simple answer to solving the problem. Drug/alcohol abuse is probably the number one cause, mental health issues, poor choices in life, (such as teenage pregnancy, gambling, lack of education). I am a strong supporter of the Salvation Army and have donated clothing, food and money to JPUSA, so they pursue their mission. They do an admirable job, especially considering many of the people seeking their services have tremendous issues.

    However, we must recognize that the members of the community that the social service agencies serve, also bring with them to Uptown a boat load of problems that neighboring communities generally do not have to deal with. Rampant drug dealing and gang wars; public urination and defecation; panhandling to name just a few. And for those that say, well, if you don’t like it, please move… my answer to that is why would you want to create a ghetto for the homeless and poor? How does making a community imblanced serve the longterm needs of the homeless and poor? Just look at south and west side neighborhoods to see how’s that going for them.

  19. can't even respond to a serious question without being a jerk.

    I give up. We're all doomed.