A lawsuit recently filed by the Michigan Attorney General against a Detroit abortion facility operating illegally can be credited to the hard work of a persistent pro-life activist.
Lynn Mills has kept a watchful eye on abortion facilities in the state of Michigan for many years, and spends hours combing through documents connected to either abortion facilities or the abortionists or owners of the facilities. Her ‘dirt-digging’ skills have led to the revocation of abortionists’ licenses as well as closures of abortion facilities.
Recently, Mills discovered that Summit Women’s Center of Detroit – which performs abortions up to 24 weeks – did not have a licensed physician listed on their corporate filings, which is a violation of state law. As a result, the state has moved to not only dissolve the facility as a corporation but to enjoin the officers from operating a medical facility in the state ever again.
At one time, the abortion chain (founded by the Lipton family in 1973) had six locations in 5 states: Connecticut, Michigan, Georgia, Nevada, and Wisconsin. A few years ago, the Wisconsin facility closed. Eventually the two Connecticut facilities, along with the Las Vegas center, also closed, leaving only the centers in Michigan and in Georgia remaining.
In 2013, Mills was looking at the Summit website where it stated that their physicians were all OBGYN board certified. Mills was familiar with most of the abortionists and she knew that the statement was false. After the discovery, a complaint was filed with the Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) for false advertising. Shortly thereafter, Mills rechecked the facility’s website and saw that it had been revised to state:
Most of our Physicians are board-certified obstetrician / gynecologists. Some of our medical personnel are licensed with extensive backgrounds in reproductive health services.
“When they are caught in a lie, we have to speak out,” Mills told Live Action News.
According to the complaint filed by the Michigan State Attorney’s Office and provided to Live Action News by Mills, David Lipton is listed as Summit’s president, secretary, and treasurer, while Anise Burrell is listed as the administrator and contact. But Mills points out that after the state passed stricter abortion laws requiring abortion facilities to be licensed and inspected, Summit’s corporate filings no longer only listed Lipton as an officer but now included long-time abortionist Alex Pickens Jr., MD. Pickens was listed on the corporate filings as far back as 2011.
Mills later discovered that in the most recent filings, Pickens was no longer listed, prompting her to file a complaint with the state’s Attorney General in December of 2015. In that document, provided to Live Action News, Mills points out that by 2015 David Lipton was the only officer listed in the corporate filings, and no physician was listed as an officer of the abortion clinic chain.
Mills pointed out in her complaint with the Attorney General that the corporation’s purpose had changed from “practice of medicine doctor” to “management company” despite Summit’s records stating that “each shareholder is a licensed person in 1 or more of the professional services provided by the professional corporation.” Mills saw immediately that this was false, since David Lipton was not licensed, writing, “there is no Licensed medical doctor as part of its 2015 filing which is required by Michigan state law.”
“We saw that the corporation papers were not in order and Pickens the abortionist had not signed anything for years,” Mills recounted to Live Action News.
Michigan statutes state: “A professional corporation shall not engage in any business other than providing the professional service or services for which it was specifically incorporated.”
Bill Shuette, the State’s Attorney General, appears to note the work of Mills in his complaint. Shuette’s office reviewed Summit’s incorporation in 2011 through its annual report of 2014, noting that Summit P.C.’s sole officer and director was Alex Pickens, Jr., MD, a licensed physician; but on May 11, 2015, the AG’s complaint states that David Lipton filed the 2015 annual report with LARA certifying that he was Summit P.C.’s president, secretary, treasurer, director, and sole shareholder, but no physician was listed as required by law.
Additionally, the complaint alleged that Alex Pickens, Jr., MD had filed for bankruptcy in 2013 and failed to list Summit P.C. as an asset or entity. That bankruptcy document was included in Mill’s original complaint to the AG. The petition required Pickens to disclose “all businesses in which [he] was an officer, director, partner, or managing executive . . . within six years” of commencing the bankruptcy. Pickens disclosed three businesses: one professional corporation, one business corporation, and one nonprofit corporation – but failed to disclose Summit.
The AG’s complaint states:
Pickens’s failure to disclose his ownership of Summit P.C. to the bankruptcy court, and the subsequent filing of ownership by David Lipton, suggests that Alex Pickens, Jr., MD may never have been the true owner of Summit P.C. and that Summit P.C. was organized through fraud and repeatedly and willfully exceeded its authority.
The Attorney General’s complaint alleges that David Lipton, who is listed on Summit P.C.’s 2015 annual report as its sole officer, director, and shareholder, is not a “licensed person” under the law.
Therefore, Defendant Lipton’s role as sole shareholder of Summit P.C. violates state law. Likewise, the transfer of ownership from Alex Pickens, Jr., MD to Lipton also violates state law.
The complaint states that the “remedy is dissolution” and that “the failure of a professional corporation to ensure that its shareholders are legally qualified to provided professional services is grounds for the forfeiture of its articles of incorporation and its dissolution,” which may be brought by the Attorney General.
It also states that the state wants to enjoin all employees of Summit from providing medical services unless they comply with state law:
The AG Seeks to preliminarily enjoin Defendants David Lipton and Anise Burrell from incorporating, organizing, or doing business in the State of Michigan as an owner, officer, or employee of any other corporation or entity for the purpose of offering or providing medical services to the public, practicing medicine, or contracting to have medical services performed for such corporation or entity, unless and until they obtain the requisite licenses and otherwise complies with Michigan law. [MCL 600.3601]
According to Mills, since the AG filed their complaint and just days prior to the publication of this report, Mills pulled Summit’s corporate filings again and noticed that Pickens is now listed as the Medical Director. This comes after the attorney general cited the clinic for failing to comply with the law.
And, Mills states, Pickens has also amended his bankruptcy papers to claim he owned shares in the Summit. But Mills points out these changes only point out the need to investigate the abortion facility’s corporate filings further and, she says, anyone can do this. Her vigilance may cause the collapse of another abortion facility and Mills said she will not stop researching these places until each one is closed permanently.