Mare’s Feet too Small?
A suit filed in New Jersey against Cesar Parra alleges deceptive business practices. Rate My Horse PRO has assembled the documents originating from the 2011 suit as a result of a request filed under the Open Public Records Act.
Parra presented investment opportunities to his customer, Carolyne Morgan, and to make a partnership seem attractive the documents allege Parra vastly inflated the horses’ values. Parra is said to have misled Morgan in several ways.
The suit details the purchase of a horse named Florence 115 in 2008. Documents claim Parra presented Morgan with a document showing Florence had been purchased from a German company for $765,000*. Two major problems are presented in the claim with Parra’s actions. First, according to a German court, the company, Erben GmbH, does not exist and the documents were falsified. The second, Morgan later learned Florence was only alleged to have been purchased for $373,000*.
Morgan traded another horse, Ecu 8, for Florence in which her investment was $327,000* in exchange for 50% ownership. Documents reflect Parra was to contribute an additional $242,000* on top of paying for shipping, vetting, and commissions. Documents state he did not abide by the terms. Additionally, Morgan was led to believe Ecu was traded for $526,000* as part of the sale price for Florence.
Morgan later “discovered that a German company “Wintermühle GmbH” sold Ecu 8 … for 85,000 euro [$112,000*], despite Defendants representations that Ecu 8 was traded for Florence 115 for 400,000 euro [$526,000*].” Wintermühle GmbH is owned by Arnold Winter.
The saga of Florence has taken yet another questionable turn. In a motion filed by Morgan’s attorneys last week, the claim is made that Florence was recently sold without Morgan’s knowledge or permission, and none of the proceeds from the sale have been paid to her. The partnership contract on record states that Morgan and Parra share a 50% partnership in the horse, however, if the horse is sold Morgan is due the first $327,000* from the proceeds. Florence is said to have sold for $262,000*.
Court documents state the horse was in Germany under the care and training of Arnd Erben, a known associate of Parra’s. Erben’s website currently states he was preparing Florence for high-level competition.
It is interesting to note, about a year after Parra recommended the purchase of Florence, which he had represented as a healthy five-year-old international dressage horse, allegations of health issues started to arise. Documents state Parra told his client “Florence was now only able to compete on a limited schedule.”
In December 2009, Parra reportedly told Morgan the mare’s feet were “too small” and that she would need to go back to Germany for care and that she “needed some time.” Shortly after documents state Parra told Morgan that the mare “was going to die.” He had apparently been trying to get her to trade the allegedly ailing mare for another potential “world champion” according to the suit, although a trade never took place.
Cesar Parra has highly publicized his bid to compete at the 2012 London Olympics representing the US Dressage Team. Twelve horse and rider combinations plus three alternates will be nominated by June. Currently, Parra is ranked 26th as of the April 2nd Olympic Games Ranking provided by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).
The suit filed against Parra, Katie Riley, Parra’s head trainer and Piaffe Performance Inc. happened on April 12, 2011. The case was dismissed, without prejudice, last August so that both sides could pursue mediation as stipulated in the contract.
Morgan’s attorneys filed a motion to vacate the dismissal last week stating the mediation was not successful. A hearing to address the motion is currently scheduled for April 27th.
Morgan’s attorney in Germany is Michael Klimke of the law firm Dr. Klimke & Kollegen. Klimke is the son of the legendary Dr. Reiner Klimke.
*Rate My Horse PRO has converted the euro into dollar figures. The dollar amounts are approximate based on today’s conversion rate of 1 euro = $1.31. According to historical data, when the horses were purchased the conversion rate was approximately 1 euro = $1.46.