WASHINGTON, DC – A year ago today, January 9, 2014, the USDA finally filed a Complaint to decertify the Celebration’s inspection program, S.H.O.W. HIO.
A year later, January 9, 2015, nothing has been done.
The Complaint was filed only after years of “foot-dragging” by APHIS Deputy Administrator Chester Gipson, and the Celebration’s delay in failing to comply with the Horse Protection Act or accept the USDA Mandatory Minimum Penalties.
The Complaint was signed on January 7, 2014 by APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea and his attorney Mr. Frank Martin, Jr., with the USDA OGC (Office of Inspector General).
Quite a bit of mystery surrounds Mr. Frank Martin, Jr. and the OGC (Office of General Counsel). Seasoned observers cannot tell if APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea is the one driving the boat, or if he is merely a deck hand operating under the directions of a faceless bureaucrat lawyer named Mr. Frank Martin, Jr. who has represented APHIS for more than 20 years.
Mr. Martin is the creator of the essentially “worthless” USDA “7060 Letters of Warning”.
When the Big Lickers get them in the mail, they immediately toss them in the trash can. They know nothing will come from them. Many long time observers believe that Mr. Martin came up with the “7060”s to clear his docket and make it look like he is doing his job when he actually isn’t.
The OGC (Office of General Counsel) is a part of the USDA. It is located in the USDA building. That is where the ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) hearings are held.
That is where the Complaint to decertify the Celebration presently sits.
Attorney Frank Martin, Jr. does not appear to be accountable to anyone. (See Organization Table below)
Mr. Shea is also subject to some public scrutiny. He hides behind a Public Information Officer and does not give interviews to the media.
There is a theme of mystery and non-transparency which surrounds APHIS and the USDA Office of General Counsel. According to the USDA website, “the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) is an independent legal agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). OGC provides legal advice and services to the Secretary of Agriculture and to all other officials and agencies of the Department with respect to all USDA programs and activities. All legal services are centralized within OGC and the General Counsel reports directly to the Secretary.” (USDA Website Source)
THE COMPLAINT – USDA VS. S.H.O.W., INC. (OWNED BY THE CELEBRATION)
It is now January 9, 2015.
The APHIS case against the Celebration’s S.H.O.W. HIO has gone nowhere.
It’s stuck right where it was filed buried down deep in the bowels of the Jamie L. Whitten U. S. Department of Agriculture building on Independence Avenue SW near the National Mall where the historic “WALK ON WASHINGTON” took place.
And the enigmatic faceless USDA OGC Attorney Mr. Frank Martin, Jr. is in charge of the case.
The USDA’s COMPLAINT to decertify the Celebration’s S.H.O.W. HIO, is continued until January 15, 2015. Some speculate that Mr. Martin has gone along with the stay because he doesn’t have the fire in the belly to prosecute the sore Big Lick.
The other factor is the Fifth United States Circuit Court of Appeals decision is expected soon on the Appeal by sore Big Lick Michael McGartland – Contender Farms, of U. S. District Judge Terry Means decision in the U. S. Northern District of Texas case upholding the USDA’s Mandatory Minimum Penalties.
MICHAEL MCGARTLAND – APPELLANT, S.H.O.W., INC; CONTENDER FARMS, LLP . VS USDA
Oral arguments in the case took place before a three Judge panel on September 3, 2014, the week after the Celebration ended.
U.S. FIFTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS JUDGE E. GRADY JOLLY
FRIEND OF THE COURT AMICUS BRIEF AUTHOR – RUSSELL GASPAR, ESQ.
Shortly after the USDA Complaint was filed a year ago on January 9, 2014, it appears that USDA APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea was caught playing footsie with the sore Big Lick. A lot of mystery surrounded a new INDEPENDENT INSPECTION SERVICES, LLC HIO application to take the place of the Celebration’s S.H.O.W. HIO inspection program.
Interestingly, Celebration Chairman David L. Howard, who is also Publisher of The Walking Horse Report, did not report that the Celebration had been sued by the USDA until February 7, 2014.
The news was broken by www.billygoboy.com on January 30, 2014, and then picked up by ShelbyvilleNOW online publication.
It begs the question if Mr. Howard was sitting on the news story hoping that USDA APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea would approve a new “clean” Horse Inspection program to take the place of S.H.O.W. HIO and give the Trainers a “Fresh Start” doing away with the 139 HPA violations which had accumulated since the USDA implemented the Mandatory Minimum Penalitesw in July 2012.
WWW.BILLYGOBOY broke the news that a new HIO application had been submitted by former Celebration CEO Doyle Meadows in the name of Independent Inspection Services, LLC HIO, represented by Lee McGartland, wife of Michael McGartland who served as PSHA Director and Secretary.
A Freedom Of Information request was filed to obtain the Application. To date, no documents have been provided in response to the FOIA request. In the past, It is believed that Mr. Shea has previously classified certain items he didn’t want the public to see so they would not be released. After a year, that appears to have been done in this instance.
The knock on Mr. Shea is he doesn’t seem to be comfortable enforcing the Horse Protection Act to eliminate horse soring, rather he is comfortable with just regulating it. The knock on Dr. Chester Gipson is he can’t be trusted and has back channel communication with the sore Big Lick.
LEE W. MCGARTLAND, WIFE OF MICHAEL MCGARTLAND
It is believed that the Licker group was encouraged by Deputy APHIS Administrator Dr. Andrea Morgan to submit the HIO application. Dr. Morgan works for APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea. There are previous indications of Dr. Morgan having a “cozy” relationship with the sore Big Lick crowd.
In 2009, Dr. Morgan emailed a “Big Licker” friendly interpretation of the Scar Rule:
The month of January 2015 could tell the tale on the Mandatory Minimum Penalties.
Then Mr. Martin will have no excuse to not go full speed ahead prosecuting the Complaint to decertify the Celebration’s S.H.O.W. HIO. That is what would happen the “real world”, but somehow one wonders if what goes on in this building is the real world?
Nephew Eugene believes that Mr. Frank Martin, Jr. needs to either get the job done for “The Horses”, or Associate General Counsel Carrie Ricci must reassign him and get an attorney for APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea who will get the job done.