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Thursday, October 17, 2019

N.Y. AG settles lawsuit with Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation

By Bryan Cohen | Nov 20, 2013

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement Tuesday with the directors of a charitable organization dedicated to caring for retired racehorses to resolve allegations of fiscal mismanagement and neglect of animals.

Schneiderman's office alleged the directors of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation Inc. neglected their duties by taking on more racehorses than the group could afford to care for, resulting in the mistreatment and neglect of many of the animals. TRF also allegedly used its endowment improperly to secure $2 million in loans.

The lawsuit sought the removal of John Moore, the organization's CEO and board chairman, and Diana Pikulski, the long-time director of TRF. The settlement requires that Moore and Pikulski resign within a year of a new CEO being hired.

Three other directors resigned from TRF's board since the lawsuit was filed in May 2012. Margaret Santulli and Leslie Priggen, two defendant directors, will stay on the board.

"New York needs the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation to be fiscally sound and responsibly managed," Schneiderman said. "Our agreement to remake the board of directors will help put this important charity back on solid financial ground and able to care for the animals it receives - and it gives TRF a shot to reclaim its place as one of America's leading thoroughbred organizations. As it was previously constituted, the foundation's board proved unable to conduct necessary financial oversight and management."

Under the terms of the settlement, TRF will add a veterinarian to its board, appoint a director nominated by an animal welfare organization and one nominated by members of the nation's horse racing and breeding industry, establish a five-person committee charged with recruiting a new, full-time CEO and stop using its endowment fund to secure loans.

TRF halted its practice of accepting more thoroughbred horses into its herd than it had the resources to sustain. The organization reduced its herd's maximum size by one-third before the lawsuit was filed.

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