BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - The Women of Diversity rehab and recovery center at the former Budgetel Inn in Bossier City was shut down following the arrest of the executive director of the organization that runs it Thursday, leaving customers of the hotel and clients of the program out on the street.
According to its website, WOD started as a social support group in 2015 and grew into a residential program for people with a variety of issues, from the homeless to those just out of prison and those trying to escape drugs or abuse.
WOD has been operating the program at the hotel off Industrial Drive for less than a year after an investor agreed to buy the building and allow them to them lease it.
Executive Director Brenda Hill told KSLA News 12 in early August that they were in danger of being forced to shut down if they could not find the money to purchase the building outright.
Soon after, the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office issued a warning to local churches and residents about donating to the organization last week because of what they described as a history of financial fraud involving Hill.
On Thursday, Hill was arrested on 88 counts of monetary instrument abuse. She remains in custody on $250,000 bond.
Within hours of the arrest, the water had been shut off at the Budgetel Inn and SWEPCO had arrived to cut off the power. Residents of the program and customers of the hotel were asked to leave. Some said they were told it was because the operators of the facility had no funds.
Bossier City spokesman Mark Natale confirmed Thursday night that the property owners owe the city $18,000 dollars in unpaid water bills after a check for $10,000 bounced back in June.
After trying to work with the owners, Natale says the city the cut the water off late last week.
After the city learned that the water had been turned back on without authorization, a crew was sent out Thursday to turn it off again.
A Bossier City fire prevention officer called to the location noted multiple safety and fire code violations, according to Natale. That prompted the decision to cut the power off to the building as a precautionary measure, and the property was deemed unsafe for habitation.
Some clients of the program told KSLA News 12 that the Salvation Army and the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission were willing to take them in.
Others said they had pets and nowhere to go.