Ohio AG says horse rescue charity misappropriated funds

By Bryan Cohen | Feb 24, 2014

CAMBRIDGE, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a lawsuit on Thursday against a Cambridge-based horse rescue charity and its owner for allegedly misappropriating funds and failing to register with the state.

Lisa Gordon, the owner of Frog Pond Farm Inc., allegedly misappropriated close to $50,000 between 2011 and 2013 and used the funds for personal expenses. Gordon also failed to register with DeWine's office between 2004 and 2012.

"Running a horse rescue facility requires a lot of work, and those who operate charitable organizations must be able to fulfill their legal responsibilities," 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."

Gordon and Frog Pond Farm allegedly violated the Ohio Charitable Trust Act, the Ohio Charitable Organizations Act and common law. DeWine's lawsuit alleges the defendants breached fiduciary duties and engaged in fraud, unjust enrichment, conversion and reformation of charitable trust. The suit seeks to recover money used for personal purposes and to distribute the assets of the charity to another organization with a similar purpose.

DeWine also announced a settlement with the Tipp City-based Serenity Horse Rescue and Shula Woodworth, its operator, to resolve allegations the organization was not managed properly. Woodworth agreed to dissolve the organization and redistribute its assets to other horse rescue operations.

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