An Ohio horse rescue is being sued by the Attorney General after its founder allegedly used the organization’s funds for personal use.
The 17-count lawsuit accuses Lisa Gordon of misappropriating nearly $50,000 between 2011 and 2013. The complaint states the Frog Pond Farm president admitted to using the charity’s accounts for numerous personal bank transactions, including “restaurants, Coconis Furniture, Victoria’s Secret, Hotel Breakers, Cedar Point, Rue 21, and The Shoe Department.”
Frog Pond Farm was incorporated in March 2004, although the charity was not registered with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office from 2004 to 2012. The suit alleges violations of the Ohio Charitable Organizations Act and the Ohio Charitable Trust Act.
The horse rescue solicited money from the public by saying that donations would be used “to give equines a much needed chance at survival.” The group reportedly accepts draft horses and rescues, including some that are slaughter bound, with the intention of re-homing the equines.
A post on the Frog Pond Farm Draft Horses’ Facebook page states, “I have put my life out there in the public, my horses have ALWAYS had their care and needs met. The expenses to run this operation have been tremendous and I have NEVER taken from them to benefit myself. I would REALLY love to go into more, but on the advice of my attorney will deal with this in court in front of a judge.”
Despite allegations that include fraud, conversion, and unjust enrichment some of the rescue’s supporters rallied on the page with comments including, “I’m SURE this is retribution from someone you irked who decided to “anonymously” contact the Ohio AG with “allegations” just to try to bring you down. I certainly hope that your attorney presses to see exactly HOW they decided to pursue this.”
Also added is an updated description for the draft horse rescue. “We started this adventure in 2002 as a not-for-profit draft specific equine rescue. Coming into 2014, we will be branching out into training of drafts (for riding/trail/family safe horses), minimal boarding, small scale sales in addition to doing rescue.”
“Running a horse rescue facility requires a lot of work, and those who operate charitable organizations must be able to fulfill their legal responsibilities,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We simply cannot allow those who run charities to use the charity’s bank account as their own personal bank account or to fail in their duties to properly run the organization.”
The lawsuit seeks to recover the money that was used for personal purposes and to distribute the charity’s assets to another horse rescue.