To Those Opposed, Proposed Wellness Center Is a Headache

Hudson Ridge Wellness Center says it intends to re-use – not remove — the existing real estate at 2016 Quaker Ridge Road, site of the former Hudson Institute

Following nearly a decade of expensive court battles, and eight months after winning town approvals, the principal behind a proposed luxury rehabilitation center in Croton-on-Hudson must now win certification from the state agency that licenses medical facilities before the center can start operating.  


With three experienced rehab facilities managers in place and $3 million of new financing, Kevin Cassidy, the controversial businessman behind the project, seems determined to pursue his goal of opening the facility on the Quaker Ridge Road section of the village, set on a picturesque setting high above the Hudson River 

The special use permit granted by the Town of Cortlandt to Hudson Ridge Wellness Center in June 2023, with several dozen conditions regarding operations, is in force for one year and expires June 2024. Within that one-year span, they must meet all of the conditions of their approval, and get the department heads and chair of the Planning Board to sign the drawing set, completing the Planning Board process. So far there doesn’t appear to have been any work done to renovate the existing buildings for the new center.  

Since presenting the project to Cortlandt officials in 2015, the backers of Hudson Ridge Wellness Center have spent nearly $3 million to buy three parcels of land; paid attorneys and consultants hundreds of thousands of dollars; carried property taxes costing nearly $500,000; and maintained the existing buildings on the site to the tune of $1.5 million. 

According to the tax receiver’s assessor’s office in Cortlandt, half-year school property taxes of $24,528.68 are past due on the 2016 Quaker Ridge Road property. 

The property is near Teatown, the 1,000-acre nonprofit nature preserve and environmental education center with 15 miles of hiking trails and a two-acre island refuge. 

The land and seven existing buildings were purchased by L&G Capital LLC in Newburgh, N.Y., in 2010 from the Maharishi Global Development Fund for $1.15 million and were transferred two years later to Hudson Ridge Wellness Center, a Cassidy-involved entity. 

Since 2020, seven lawsuits have been filed against Briarcliff Manor Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Care

In July of 2015, Cassidy went to the town of Cortlandt seeking a special permit and variance for a residential facility to treat patients for substance abuse and chemical dependency disorders. He won approvals for the project in June 2023 and has on board three professionals with credentials in the field of substance abuse recovery. 

Local opponents organized a well-funded attack against the proposal, took to the courts, and attended many public hearings speaking out against the plan. The group, Citizens for Responsible Hudson Institute Site Development, Inc. (CRHISD), eventually lost every court ruling, and Cassidy received his approvals. Both sides spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.   

The citizens’ group filed a new lawsuit last year against the town Zoning Board of Appeals and Hudson Ridge, and has appealed its latest defeat. 

Among the high-profile neighbors who oppose the proposal is Tom Secunda, a co-founder of Bloomberg LP, whose net worth is calculated at $3.5 billion by Forbes. 

In an August 2023 letter to a state agency, a resident opposing the plan wrote, “Our opposition has been based on … environmental impacts upon well water, traffic, lighting, noise, etc. in our rural residentially zoned area. We have also raised concerns about the secretive and somewhat shell game use of a variety of LLCs – apparently owned or controlled by one Kevin Cassidy … who has an extensive criminal background with multiple felony convictions…” 

Now that the developers have secured local approvals, Hudson Ridge Wellness must be licensed and regulated by the state Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS).  

In a letter to OASAS, Hudson Ridge Wellness identified the principals of Behavioral Management Group, the proposed operator, as Ms. Kerry Cassidy, currently the president of operations at Serenity Springs Recovery Center in Edgewater, Fla., and James Cassidy. “Mr. James Cassidy is currently a board member at Serenity Springs Recovery Center in Florida. He has many years of experience in the substance use treatment field,” the letter states. 

Jim Cassidy leads Preposterous Holdings, a private equity firm based in Asheville, N.C. He’s been heavily involved in the healthcare industry, specifically in the addiction treatment and recovery field, in the roles of executive management, board member, investor, owner and advisor.  

In a July 2023 letter, a regional coordinator with OASAS, the state agency, wrote, “Please be advised that a new OASAS provider would need to be reviewed for approval by the Behavioral Health Service Advisory Council prior to receiving OASAS Certification. The applicant would be subject to a background check, and would need to provide assurances that the ownership group has the required substance use disorder experience.”  

A call for comment to the attorney for Kevin Cassidy was relayed but not returned. James Cassidy did not respond to an email request. 

Six months prior to winning approvals from the town of Cortlandt to proceed, Hudson Ridge Wellness Center found a new source of capital from prominent players in the billion-dollar nursing home industry. 

MJ Doubletrees LLC, based in Rockville Centre, N.Y., lent $2 million to Cassidy and now holds a mortgage on the property at 2016 Quaker Ridge Road. The interest rate on the mortgage is 12.5 percent, according to the documents. The mortgaged properties include another adjacent Cassidy holding, 35 Quaker Ridge Road in New Castle. 

This past January, MJ Doubletrees lent another $1 million to Hudson Ridge Wellness on a second mortgage, this one with an interest rate of 12 percent.  

MJ Doubletrees is a limited liability company with an ownership interest in a nursing home in Vermont that lists Sam Stern as a director. Stern operates out of offices in Brooklyn and he appears as an officer in 131 nursing homes throughout Connecticut, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia and New York. 

In 1997, Stern and Brenton Eisenreich co-founded Future Care Consultants in Edison, N.J., with one employee and a goal of helping health care groups manage their revenue cycle management (RCM) and back-office services. By 2021, Future Care grew to four offices, including in Lakewood and Ramsey, New Jersey, as well as offices in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Scranton, Pa., with a staff of more than 300, according to the company website. 

“Future Care Consultants’ excellent working relationship with Medicaid and Medicare Intermediaries allows us to collect residents’ checks quicker and easier,” the company’s website says. 

In an email, Stern denied being an officer in MJ Doubletrees. 

One of the nursing homes that Stern is connected to is located in Westchester: Briarcliff Manor Center for Rehab and Nursing Care. 

The Medicare website that rates nursing homes gives Briarcliff Manor Center a one-star score on its overall rating, deeming the facility much below average. It rates two stars (out of five) on health inspections, one star on staffing, and three stars on quality measures comprised of a select set of clinical data.  

Briarcliff Manor Center is the target of seven lawsuits filed since 2020. The lawsuits allege that inadequate care caused the death of patients living in the facility. Through its attorneys, Wilson, Elser in White Plains, the company denies the allegations in the lawsuits. 

Calls to Briarcliff Manor Center and two attorneys representing the company in the lawsuits were not returned. 

The members of CRHISD are pursuing their campaign against the project and Kevin Cassidy. 

“Citizens for Responsible Hudson Institute Development continue to fight in court because no unelected official should be allowed to erase pieces of legislation. Legislation is not a suggestion,” Jill Greenstein, chair of CRHISD, told River Journal North in an email. 

“Citizens for Responsible Hudson Institute Development continue to fight outside of court because people needing treatment deserve to be in trustworthy hands. If this is a program we can trust, why do the key players hide behind multiple LLCs all located at the same UPS Store (72 North State Road) next to Squires in Briarcliff?”  

In the past several decades, Cassidy has been convicted of federal wire fraud and bank fraud, and has been incarcerated for tax evasion, credit card fraud and money laundering. In one civil case, he was accused of defrauding investors of $13 million.  

On his LinkedIn page, Cassidy described himself as the Caretaker/Manager of H.R. Wellness Center from January 2011 to the present.  

“In the future, we hope to create awareness of the need for caring treatment for individuals struggling with alcoholism and addiction. Future Development of Treatment center based on family values of support for the person and their battle with addiction. Caretaker, managing project development. Working to help people through my own life experience,” his LinkedIn page said.  

Jim Roberts is a veteran journalist whose Peekskill roots reach back generations.  

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