In an effort to save their organization and to try and keep the 48 horses at the center of the lawsuit away from their previous owner, charged with abusing them, he Grace Foundation files $20 million lawsuit against Wells Fargo Bank and Bank of America.
We are all familiar with the phrase, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Because of the “good deeds” of a non-profit animal rescue, the organization and the 48 horses they rescued have been punished mercilessly by Wells Fargo Bank and Bank of America, the same banks that, months before, requested their assistance. See Banks Deception Devastates Non-Profit Organization
Lifesaving Nonprofit On Verge Of Bankruptcy
The Grace Foundation, a non-profit animal rescue that saves the lives of hundreds of animals and provides programs for over 6,000 disadvantaged youth each year, is on the verge of bankruptcy and the horses that are at the center of this tragedy are in jeopardy of being returned to their previous owner who is now facing 65 felony counts of abuse and neglect.
Recently uncovered legal documents reveal a ten-month trail of lies and deceit perpetrated by the banks and their legal intermediary in a zealous rush to increase their foreclosure assets. The documents not only prove the duplicity perpetrated by Wells Fargo Bank and Bank of America representatives, they also reveal a callous disregard for the lives of these innocent victims of the foreclosure frenzy.
The Graveyard Case
Referred to as “the graveyard case” this story gained international attention last fall when 30 horses and 3 dogs were found dead on a property located in Susanville California. Adding to the overwhelming costs and tragedy of this case is that 22 of the horses were pregnant when they arrived and many of the foals did not survive due to the abuse their mother’s endured. With constant veterinary care and assistance 14 of the babies have survived.
To date, The Grace Foundation has spent and accrued costs totaling over $800,000. This has left the foundation buried in debt with no way to continue to cover the overwhelming expenses of these high risk babies and mares, the cost of which is now totaling $50,000/month.
“This is a nightmare we cannot wake up from,” says Beth DeCaprio, Executive Director and founder of The Grace Foundation, “The banks turned over ownership of the horses when they had no legal right to do so, the fact that they did this to simply rid themselves of the liability is a crushing blow. The banks played the game ‘hot potato’ with our organization and with the lives of these horses; we have the horses and all the financial responsibility. There is no one that will take over the responsibility of these horses. We have no money to continue to care for them without help and yet if we stopped we would go to jail.”
The banks seem happy to let The Grace Foundation slowly drown in the mess they themselves created. While they have offered The Grace Foundation a settlement, it is less than half of what the foundation has currently spent and does nothing to support the horses into the future. The Grace Foundation’s pleas for help with the horses’ immediate care have gone unanswered.
“The harm to Grace and the horses from this fraud borders on unimaginable,” says Stuart Levison, Legal counsel for The Grace Foundation. “Not only is Grace teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, but the well being of the horses has been significantly jeopardized.”
Now, The Grace Foundation has been forced to file a $20 million lawsuit against Wells Fargo Bank and Bank of America. The lawsuit, which includes both punitive and compensatory damages, has been filed in El Dorado Country, where the horses are currently residing, at The Grace Foundation ranch.
The Grace Foundation Needs Help
The Grace Foundation needs help to tell about this horrific injustice that has put the legal ownership of these 48 rescued horses back into the hands of their original owner, Dwight Bennett, who is facing 65 felony counts of animal cruelty and neglect. The foundation needs the media to help unite the public in an effort to fight this injustice and help make it possible for The Grace Foundation to continue its mission of providing protection and care for innocent and abused animals.
A fund has been established by The Grace Foundation to help them to be able to continue to care for these horses and keep them out of the hands of their previous owner.
A copy of the complaint filed with the courts is here. Contact information for the parties involved is listed below as well. A timeline, all legal documents, video and photos pertaining to this story are listed in this story, although there have been updates, available from the foundation. The Grace Foundation’s legal Counsel is Stuart Levinson and the Executive Director is Beth DeCaprio. They are available for interviews.