GRASSLANDS, CA – Fran Cole broke her silence today and thanked those who supported the California TWHBEA members in their effort to remove California Director Christy Lantis.
The meeting to vote on the recall was held in Lewisburg, Tennessee on February 3, 2014, At that time, TWHBEA President Steve Smith moved the goal posts on the quorum requirement for the meeting. Due to Smith’s erroneous interpretation, a vote was not allowed to be taken. If it had, Lantis would have been removed as California Director.
FRAN COLE STATEMENT
“Thanks to all of you for your financial and emotional support throughout this period of turmoil
Most of you have probably seen that the lawsuit filed in federal court by the California TWHBEA members was dismissed. I haven’t been public with the details of these developments, as they are tied to actions TWHBEA has taken against me that are still ongoing and involve possible future legal proceedings.
With respect to the lawsuit, we received a disappointing ruling from the federal judge denying our request for a temporary restraining order postponing the special meeting. At that point despite our desire to take this action further, it was just too expensive.
We appreciate all of your donations, but taking this to the next level of litigation would have been prohibitively expensive, and we just weren’t able to raise enough funding to do that. As it is, several of us have significant personal investments in the case that we won’t be reimbursed for.
I don’t regret the lawsuit, because even though we were unsuccessful, sometimes you just have to fight back. We were able to expose TWHBEA’S current leadership in a way that has further solidified and motivated sound horse supporters around the world.
I just wish the result had been different. However, history shows us that meaningful social and cultural change is not a linear process. There are peaks and valleys, gains and losses along the way, and this was a dip. We will prevail. These skirmishes are clearly their last stands against a future that will not include pads and chains.
My own bullying by TWHBEA continues. In January my membership privileges were suspended because I dared to question the legitimacy of the Pat Stout investigation.
I refused to answer their questions until they provided me written evidence that the investigation was a legitimate one conducted in accordance with TWHBEA’s rules.
TWHBEA has never responded to my request for such evidence, which says a lot about the appropriateness of their actions. They have willfully ignored TWHBEA’s detailed rules providing due process to members facing disciplinary action.
When I indicated To them that I might pursue legal action contesting my membership revocation, they reinstated my privileges and gave me until this week to reconsider and answer their questions.
While I would like to stay a member and continue to be a sharp thorn in their sides, I refuse to participate in their illegitimate witch hunt against Pat Stout. While I could answer their questions and avoid their “punishment” (their words), I just can’t compromise my principles to do that.
I’m not going to reveal my future plans for litigation against TWHBEA, as I’m waiting to see if they revoke my reinstatement. Isn’t this ridiculous?
How embarrassing for a nonprofit to spend all of its resources fighting long-term members whose only crime is holding different beliefs.
Look at what Steve Smith, Walt Chism and their cronies on the EC have accomplished in the first quarter of their tenure:
- Continued financial deterioration
- Continued loss of members
- Back Country Horsemen backs out of joint promotional venture
- Improper Disciplinary proceedings against three members
- Formation of Litigation Committee
- Doughnuts banned
- Membership benefits of free transfer and registration eliminated Voice magazine and Stallion Report combined into one skinny mailing (just a handful of stallions advertised.)
- My membership privileges revoked, then reinstated, with possible revocation of reinstatement coming
- Steve Smith emails that are embarrassing and illiterate
And, this is after less than only three months of their leadership! What will the rest of 2014 reveal????
Again, I want to express the California petitioners’ heartfelt appreciation for the tremendous support you have shown us.
We thank you.
Fran Cole’s California TWHBEA members were supported nationally and internationally in their effort to have a Director represent their interests, and as Ms Cole said she was optimistic about a future without pads and chains, and “we shall prevail”.
So far, 264 U. S. Representatives and 44 U.S. Senators, 58% of the entire Congress, sponsoring the PAST ACT agree and side with Fran Cole against the misguided dictatorial regime in Lewisburg, Tennessee.