Cult expert looking elsewhere for recovery center

Fundraising stagnant; residents seem opposed
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The leader of an Ohio ministry who was eyeing a Shawano property for a proposed cult recovery center now says the city is no longer an option, after running into financial hurdles and community resistance.

Jay Howard, head of the Religious Research Project, a group that focuses on cults, has been trying since last year to raise $172,000 to purchase the New Era House at 105 E. Richmond St. The property is listed for sale.

Howard said in an interview Monday he would continue looking for a location for a cult recovery center, but added, “I highly doubt it will be anywhere near Shawano.”

Howard also said fundraising efforts to purchase a facility have brought in “not a large amount of money.”

Howard indicated in ministry newsletter comments that went out via email Thursday that the New Era House was no longer an option after talking with the Realtor handling the property.

“While in Shawano, I had planned to go through the building that I had looked at last November as a possible sight (sic) for Meadow Haven Midwest recovery center,” he wrote. “I was told that the owner would not let me see the building again unless I promised to buy the property.”

Howard said in an interview in May that he was having trouble coming up with the money for the property and that fundraising efforts, including email lists and a 45-day stint on redbasket.org, had produced “virtually nothing.”

Howard also indicated in his newsletter comments that there was community resistance to having the facility in Shawano.

“(The property owner) told the Realtor that many people had called her complaining that they did not want a cult recovery center in their town,” Howard wrote. “I have since talked to another Realtor in Wisconsin who will keep looking for properties that could be used for the use the ministry intends for it.”