“Imagine Our Surprise”
A day after the United States Equestrian Federation announced the suspension of two hunter/jumper professionals they are calling foul.
Lane Change Farm’s Larry Glefke and Kelley Farmer say they didn’t know about the GABA charge or a hearing on the matter or they would have vigorously defended themselves with the help of counsel.
Glefke received a 24-month suspension and a $24,000 fine. The penalty comes after Kelley Farmer’s horse, Unexpected, tested positive for GABA last July in Kentucky. Glefke put himself down as the horse’s trainer on the entry form.
USEF suspended Farmer for 12 months with a $12,000 fine. She listed herself as the horse’s owner and rider.
In a statement to us, Glefke and Farmer say, “Imagine our surprise to receive calls from our peers and colleagues relating to an alleged suspension by the USEF regarding Unexpected when we had no knowledge of an alleged violation…”
“It is unfathomable how the USEF would proceed against Glefke and Farmer uncontested at a hearing November 29, 2016, when in fact Glefke submitted evidence and had counsel present for another matter,” says Bonnie Navin, Mr. Glefke’s counsel of many years.
At a minimum, the USEF should have, as they have in many instances with Navin in the past, contacted Ms. Navin to advise that there was a pending inquiry and charge against one of her clients. Lawyers know full well when they do not receive contact from a charged party and that party has legal representation, to contact that lawyer and advise them of the charges. That is the very ethical foundation of the legal process.
Ms. Navin noted that she had been working with Ms. Keating, USEF’s in-house counsel, on other matters not pertaining to Glefke and she never mentioned the issue with Glefke/Farmer. To that end, Mr. Forman, outside counsel for USEF certainly made no effort to contact Ms. Navin, whom he knows represented Mr. Glefke for years, to determine if she was aware of any such charge.
Lastly, Ms. Navin attended a hearing on another matter September 27, 2016, and not once in a full day of hearing before the Hearing Panel counsel, Dan Danford and Hearing secretary, Emily Pratt, was there any mention of such alleged charge or the absence of a response by Glefke/Farmer.
“There is no way Mr. Glefke or Ms. Farmer wouldn’t have retained proper representation, secured a B sample of the blood, submitted evidence in writing and had experts on the medicine at a hearing if they were aware of the charge,” says Navin.
Navin says perhaps most disturbing is the fact she stood in the hall of the USEF’s headquarters in September in the presence of President-elect Murray Kessler and USEF outside counsel Forman, and neither mentioned to Navin that her clients hadn’t responded to a charge against them for GABA, which is a significant allegation.
“I was right there in front of the entire USEF legal department, the President, outside counsel, the Hearing Committee and its staff, members of the drug and medications staff, and not one person said a word that Glefke/Farmer had a GABA charge that had not been responded to,” says Navin.
The USEF sadly issued the final order and press release on the heels of the USEF Annual Meeting in an effort to “pat itself on the back” for issuing hefty fines, but they did so at the violation of Due Process which is punishable by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) if it is determined the USEF, as the National Governing Body, violated its own By-Laws and that of USOC, for due process.
USEF claims in its final order that secretary Emily Pratt called Farmer about the charges, a matter vehemently denied by Ms. Farmer. “If anyone had contacted me about any charge, no matter how small or large, I would have contacted our counsel immediately to secure our due process rights and rights under the drug and medication rules, such as having a B sample tested,” says Farmer.
Navin has immediately requested USEF provide all evidence of all documentation sent to Glefke/Farmer including phone records of the purported call to Farmer about this alleged charge to get to the bottom of the matter and further investigate what occurred. At this time Navin is looking into filing an emergency USOC charge and/or seeking the USEF vacate the prior order pertaining to Unexpected and issue a proper charge and allow Glefke/Farmer their due process rights afforded to them under their USEF membership to defend the allegation.
We contacted USEF General Counsel Sonja Keating who said, “the Hearing Committee correctly found that appropriate legal notice was provided to Mr. Glefke and Ms. Farmer.”