Mirasol Inc., a cash-strapped eating-disorder clinic based in Tucson, owes several of its clients hefty refunds, sometimes in excess of $10,000.

The treatment facility filed for Chapter 11, or reorganization, bankruptcy protection early in August listing between $500,000 and $1 million in assets and between $1 million and $10 million in liabilities.

Among creditors holding the 20 largest unsecured claims were five clients owed refunds ranging from $3,010 to $14,490, Mirasol's voluntary bankruptcy petition says.

Generally in bankruptcy, secured claims, or those backed up with collateral, are paid before unsecured claims, which have no collateral. Still, Mirasol's bankruptcy attorney Charles R. Hyde said he's working on a way to have those clients classified differently than other unsecured creditors so the court will allow them a full refund.

"It is Mirasol's goal to pay them back in full," Hyde said.

Kim Stoll, of Iowa, said she paid Mirasol $30,000 upfront for a 30-day treatment for her daughter. But she said the facility discharged her daughter about halfway through, saying it would refund about $20,000 of her money.

Stoll said she picked up her daughter in June of last year, but so far she's only received a refund of about $6,000.

When she tried calling Mirasol to ask for the refund, she said representatives told her the check would be mailed soon, or the payment had been held up because of changes in staff. There was always an excuse about why the payment hadn't yet come, she said.

Then they stopped responding to her altogether, she said.

The Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona has had two complaints filed against the company, one in March and one in May, said spokesman Nick LaFleur.

Both complaints involve clients who are owed refunds but haven't received them, LaFleur said. The BBB asked Mirasol to respond to the complaints, but hasn't heard back, LaFleur said.

Mark Tarter said he paid Mirasol up front for his wife's treatment, some of which was covered by health insurance. His health insurance company then paid the company for a portion of his wife's treatment. That payment, Tarter said, was supposed to be refunded to him and his wife.

Mirasol has made partial payments, though Tarter said he's still owed more than $3,000. While the company became less responsive over time, Tarter still holds out hope that he will eventually see a refund.

"All indications are that we should be getting payment for the balance due," Tarter said.

It's not just clients Mirasol has had trouble paying, the voluntary petition shows. Two of the largest unsecured claims, one for $842,000 and another for $285,000, are owed to the Small Business Administration. Another claim for $822,200 is owed to Compass Bank.

Because of the delinquent loans, foreclosure notices have been filed for Mirasol's properties at 2575 E. Woodland Road and 1515 E. Kleindale Road.

Tucson Electric Power Co. has an unsecured claim of $9,500 and a landscaping company has a claim of $7,392, the court document shows.

The treatment facility plans to remain in business and eventually emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Hyde said. A Chapter 11 filing generally protects a debtor from legal action while it works out a way to pay back its creditors.

Mirasaol Inc. began admitting patients in Tucson in November 2004.

Many of its financial challenges stem from its attempts to expand as the economy began to fall into recession and property values declined, Hyde said.

"The downturn in the economy significantly detrimented their business," Hyde said.

Contact reporter Dale Quinn at dquinn@azstarnet.com or 573-4197.