USEF Competition

Court Orders Melissa Lovasco to Pay Up

 by Marty Bauman 

A Rockingham Superior Court has directed Melissa Lovasco, President and CEO of The Jumper Classic, to post $20,000 on account in connection with her legal dispute with David Birdsall and Silver Oak Equestrian Center. The Hampton Falls, New Hampshire facility has been the site of The Jumper Classic for the last five years.

In issuing its direction, the court verified the validity of monetary sums owed by The Jumper Classic to Silver Oak Equestrian Center and owner David Birdsall. The court ordered that the $20,000 be held in escrow by Birdsall’s attorney until the matter is fully resolved at which time the funds will be used to pay the amount owed to Silver Oak by The Jumper Classic.

“Over the last five years, I have had difficult interactions with Melissa,” said Birdsall. “She failed to live up to some of her contractual obligations and she consistently showed a disregard for my property and the terms of our contracts. As a result, I terminated her contract for breach after year four and wrote a new contract for this year with a specific surrender clause that stated that if she violated the contract that I could hold her property.

Unfortunately, her actions left me no choice but to exercise this clause in the contract, after which she chose to sue me. I held her property to ensure that she would live up to her obligations including paying what she owed according to the terms of our contract. Now, with the posting of this $20,000, I have released her property to her.”

“In response to her actions, I am filing a lawsuit against her for breach of contract and defamation of character. I hope that a final court date will become available quickly so that the lawsuit she filed, which is still pending, and the one that I am filing can both be put to rest.”

Jeff Papows, The Jumper Classic’s Honorary Chairman for the last 14 years, resigned his position following this year’s event. “Suffice it to say that Melissa and I had vast philosophical differences,” said Papows. On advice of his attorney, Dr. Papows refrained from commenting further.

Grievances against Lovasco have been filed with the U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF), at least one of which requests “that a hearing should be held to see if she is a suitable personality to operate a USEF sanctioned show in the future.”

In addition, other lawsuits have been filed against Lovasco and The Jumper Classic. Glen Logan, president of Go Video, LLC, a portable LED video screen business based in Billerica, MA, has filed suit against Lovasco for non-payment. A court date has been set for January 3, 2013.

“It seems that Ms. Lovasco has been too busy taking lavish vacations to Belize and Europe as written on her facebook page rather than pay her debts,” said Logan. “I am aware that other vendors have not been paid as well. I have filed against The Jumper Classic and Ms. Lovasco and I will have my day in court.”

Silver Oak Equestrian Center is a world-class facility and owner David Birdsall has indicated that he will continue to hold major show jumping events, consistent with what The Jumper Classic had been, at Silver Oak in 2013.

“Both Jeff Papows and I became part of The Jumper Classic because of our love of the sport of show jumping,” said Birdsall. “Jeff and I feel strongly that there is a place for a world-class show jumping event in New England and we intend to continue holding one for the sake of the competitors and fans of our sport.”