COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A mental health agency run by Valley native and former Ohio State University football player Maurice Clarett abruptly shut its doors in Columbus.
Clarett founded the RedZone to counsel people with drug addiction and even help kids with mental health issues.
There is another RedZone facility in Youngstown, which remains open. However, the business in Columbus is now closed.
More than a hundred clients are left without counselors since the RedZone shut down operations in Columbus last week.
“Complete shock. It was so out of the blue,” said mental health specialist Keah Carter.
Carter said she woke up on a Sunday morning to an email from Clarett, saying RedZone has been shut down.
“Just said our paperwork was inaccurate and he was never being reimbursed.”
The attorney for the RedZone said the reason for the closure was because the paperwork for clients sent to Medicaid had monumental errors from the staff.
According to a letter to employees, this caused hundreds of claims to be rejected by Medicaid.
Employees said there was a staff meeting a week before the letter was sent.
“He had a mandatory training in order for us to create the notes and paperwork,” Carter said.
NBC4 tried calling the number for the RedZone to get in touch with Clarett but it was disconnected. The email bounced back when trying to reach out to the company.
The attorney said about 15% of the company’s clients were children.
“I instantly thought of the children,” Carter said. “I really worked my butt off to gain those relationships with the children.”
Carter said she worked with elementary school students with mental health issues.
“I’m still heartbroken over the whole situation.”
Other clients like Justin Gearheart were getting counseling for former drug addiction.
“They’ve changed my life a lot from what it used to be,” Gearheart said.
Seeking help is crucial but now he said he doesn’t know what he’s going to do.
“I’ve lost a lot of family and it’s really important.”
As employees and clients are left with questions, they said they wish proper notice was given before the closure.
“I’m just very disappointed,” said Bet Laurenz, a counselor for substance abuse clients. “I assume he was redeeming himself and working for better part of community to help these individuals.”
The attorney said a letter was also sent out to other organizations, notifying them of the closure.
NBC4 has been trying to get in touch with Clarett, but haven’t heard back.
WKBN went to the RedZone in Youngstown but it had already closed for the day.
Youngstown City Schools CEO Justin Jennings said the district will continue its partnership with the organization, which provides counseling and mental health service for its students.