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ASHA Appeals Court Decision



The ongoing dispute between the American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA) and a group of its members that calls itself Concerned Members, took another turn this past week with both groups releasing the following statements.

From the American Saddlebred Horse Association:

At a telephonic meeting held on Tuesday, February 1, 2011, the American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA) Board of Directors voted unanimously to appeal the decision of the Fayette Circuit Court which would, in effect, give open access to personal and confidential information of ASHA members, staff, Board and committee members.

In taking this action, the Board considered the interests of multiple stake holders, and in its deliberations, expressed special concern regarding member information that might be private or confidential in nature and which might have been shared with the Association with an expectation that it would not become public information. The Association has already voluntarily provided all requested financial information. The Board also expressed a hope that in the appeal process - which requires mediation - the two sides can come together in a spirit of conciliation and resolve the differences in the best interests of the Association and the breed.

A committee of the Board has been directed to identify individuals who could participate in this effort. The Notice of Appeal, a short document that expresses the desire of the Association to appeal, will be filed in Fayette circuit Court today (Feb.1).

The Concerned Members group responded to news of the appeal with the following statement that was signed by Edward "Hoppy" Bennett, Tom Ferrebee, Carl Fischer, Jr., Dr. Simon Fredricks, Kris Knight, and Lynn Via:

The American Saddlebred Horse Association, Inc. (ASHA), a Kentucky non-profit corporation, issued a statement to its members on February 3, 2011 regarding litigation it filed against some of its members. That statement contained false information. We wish to correct the record.

As background, the ASHA initiated the litigation in 2009 in an effort to prevent its members from inspecting corporate records, including financial records. On January 6, 2011, the Court issued its final judgment confirming that Kentucky law provides members of non-profits the right to inspect the corporate records. Accordingly, the Court ruled that ASHA members are entitled to inspect the ASHA’s corporate records.

In its statement dated February 3, 2011, the ASHA advised its members that it intends to appeal the Court’s decision. In that same statement, the ASHA claimed that it "has already voluntarily provided all requested financial information." That is simply not true. In fact, the ASHA tendered legal briefs and a sworn affidavit to the Court confirming that the ASHA refused to allow its members to inspect multiple categories of financial records. Perhaps the Board realizes that it looks very bad for it to continue to hide its records indicating precisely how it spends an approximate $2 million budget. If you wish to learn more about this dispute and read the Court's decision, please go to www.saddlebredcentral.com.

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