Around 1965 he was the owner of a furniture store, when he began to be involved with the cult Synanon. In 1968 (some sources claim earlier), he broke with Synanon and started his own behavior modification facility in Running Spring, California <ref name="liz">CEDU: A Timeline (Work in Progress), I Speak of Dreams, Liz Ditz</ref>
He was the owner of CEDU until the chain of facilities was sold to the Brown Schools in 1998 <ref name=liz/>.
- Info: Cedu Documentary Clip 5 - Who Is Mel Wasserman?, Youtube (Clip from a CEDU documentary produced by Liam Scheff)
- Info: Death and Denial at Herbalife - The Untold Story of Mark Hughes' public image, Secret Vice and Tragic Destiny, By Matthew Heller, Los Angeles Times, February 18, 2001 (Re-print from the webpage of the Rick. A. Ross Institute)