The Giant, Under Attack

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One of America’s biggest rehab companies built an empire

But after a patient named Gary Benefield died, its enemies — investors and business rivals alike — struck hard.

On the last day of his life, Gary Benefield expressed hope for the future. He was finally about to “get right,” he said.

A Harley-riding tough guy and retired utility worker, Mr. Benefield had let addiction get the better of him.

The New York Times 1a logo LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLHe was downing a dozen Budweisers a day and smoking nonstop, despite needing an oxygen tank to breathe.

But that July day in 2010, he was headed to A Better Tomorrow, a California treatment center promising 24-hour care while he got sober.

Mr. Benefield was…

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