Feld Entertainment, Inc., the producer of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, announced today that the company has reached a legal settlement with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in connection with two federal court cases.
Under the settlement, ASPCA has paid Feld Entertainment $9.3 million to settle all claims related to its part in more than a decade of manufactured litigation that attempted to outlaw elephants in the company’s Ringling Bros. Circus. This settlement applies only to the ASPCA. Feld Entertainment’s legal proceedings, including its claims for litigation abuse and racketeering, will continue against the remaining defendants, Humane Society of the United States, the Fund for Animals, Animal Welfare Institute, Animal Protection Institute United with Born Free USA, Tom Rider and the attorneys involved.
“These defendants attempted to destroy our family-owned business with a hired plaintiff who made statements that the court did not believe. Animal activists have been attacking our family, our company, and our employees for decades because they oppose animals in circuses. This settlement is a vindication not just for the company but also for the dedicated men and women who spend their lives working and caring for all the animals with Ringling Bros. in the face of such targeted, malicious rhetoric,” said Kenneth Feld, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Feld Entertainment.
The parties filed dismissal papers today in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia as a result of their settlement. The settlement covers only Feld Entertainment’s claims against ASPCA for attorneys’ fees and damages in the initial Endangered Species Act (ESA) case filed in 2000 by the animal rights activists and the resultant racketeering (RICO) case brought by Feld Entertainment in 2007. Discovery in the initial lawsuit uncovered over $190,000 that these animal activist groups and their lawyers paid to Tom Rider who lived off of the money while serving as the “injured plaintiff” in the lawsuit against the circus.
“Our firm has been defending Feld Entertainment against this onslaught of misguided litigation brought by animal activist groups for years. As their attorneys, it is gratifying to finally have a settlement that begins to make up for the harm inflicted on this company, the family who owns it, and its employees,” said John Simpson of Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P., lead counsel for Feld Entertainment in all of the cases covered by the settlement with ASPCA.
Background of Case
The original complaint was filed in July 2000 by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Animal Welfare Institute, the Fund for Animals and Tom Rider, who is a former Ringling Bros. employee. The case was dismissed in 2001 but was reinstated in 2003 after an appellate court ruled that if Tom Rider could prove that he was injured by Ringling Bros.’ treatment of the elephants, the case could proceed. The Animal Protection Institute joined the case in 2006.
The trial began on February 4, 2009 and lasted approximately six weeks. The case is ASPCA, et al., v. Feld Entertainment, Inc., No. 03-2006 (D.D.C.)(Hon. Emmet G. Sullivan presiding).
On December 30, 2009, the U.S. District Court ruled in Feld Entertainment’s favor (published as ASPCA v. Feld Entertainment, Inc., 677 F. Supp. 2d 55 (D.D.C. 2009)). In its ruling the Court stated that, “the Court finds that Mr. Rider is essentially a paid plaintiff and fact witness who is not credible, and therefore affords no weight to his testimony regarding the matters discussed herein, i.e., the allegations related to his standing to sue.” ( www.ringlingbrostrialinfo.com/uploadedFiles/ASPCA%20Memorandum%20Opinion.pdf )
That decision found that the plaintiffs’ litigation was based on the untruthful testimony of a paid plaintiff and witness who the Court found received at least $190,000 in payments as his sole source of income over an eight year period by animal special interest groups, including ASPCA, their lawyers and an entity founded and controlled by those lawyers, the Wildlife Advocacy Project.
The Court also ruled, “that ensuring Mr. Rider’s continued participation as a plaintiff was a motivating factor behind the payments to him, and that these payments were a motivating factor for his continued involvement in the case.” The Court also ruled against the other plaintiffs in the case: “because the organizational plaintiffs have not established an injury in fact, traceable to FEI’s actions that can be redressed by the Court, the organizational plaintiffs have no standing to sue under Article III of the United States Constitution.”
Furthermore, the Court ruled that “based upon his failure to complain, the Court finds that Mr. Rider either (1) did not witness elephant mistreatment when he was employed by FEI or (2) any mistreatment he did witness did not affect him to the extent that he suffered an aesthetic or emotional injury.” The Court’s December 2009 ruling was affirmed in its entirety by the Court of Appeals on October 28, 2011.
Based upon what was revealed in ASPCA, et al., v. Feld Entertainment, Feld Entertainment brought suit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against ASPCA, HSUS and other animal rights activists and their lawyers alleging violations of the RICO statute and Virginia Conspiracy Act, malicious prosecution, and abuse of process. The court denied the defendants’ motions to dismiss that case on July 9, 2012. ( http://www.ringlingbrostrialinfo.com/uploadedFiles/First%20Amended%20Feld%20Entertainment%20RICO%20Complaint.pdf )
Via press release
Judge orders COPP to turn over stolen ATP materials, slams State for improper conduct
>> Court order rebukes COPP for improperly holding stolen evidence from a criminal investigation, using it to smear candidates before an election
>> Ferguson warns Bullock: ‘This is how Nixon got impeached.’
LIVINGSTON, MONT. — A Montana judge ordered the state’s Commission on Political Practices James Murry Monday to turn over materials that were stolen from a political consultant’s car and trafficked across state lines to Democrat state appointees for use in an election-eve attack on Republican candidates.
Judge Nels Swandal of Montana’s Sixth Judicial District ruled that Commissioner Murry has demonstrated a willingness to disclose private documents to the public, and an inability or unwillingness to keep the such documents secure.
Murry has until Friday to turn over to Swandal all materials or face contempt charges. The suit was filed by Christian LeFer, consultant to American Tradition Partnership, and Allison LeFer, owner of an unrelated printing and candidate mail business.
ATP is not a party to the suit and has no interest in Allison LeFer’s business or clients, but ATP’s stolen private financial records are among the documents that must be turned over.
In March 2010 ATP asked LeFer to transport the group’s documents to Colorado to be scanned and archived. They were stolen from LeFer’s car, along with other unrelated documents belonging to her own business.
The materials were later found by a convicted meth dealer, who amazingly had the presence of mind to contact the husband of a Democrat Colorado State Senator. Amazingly, though the car which was recovered stripped of its valuables and contents, the documents were the only materials that have turned up.
Rather than contact law enforcement, Schwartz contacted political allies in Montana and worked with the meth dealer to traffic the stolen materials across state lines to the COPP in March 2011.
Upon learning nearly two years later Montana officials conspired with a meth dealer to traffic ATP’s stolen private financial information across state lines, ATP immediately contacted the FBI.
Swandal ruled the documents “appear clearly to consist of stolen property, and are evidence regarding the criminal investigation of the car theft in Colorado.”
“This is going to end very badly for Steve Bullock, Jim Murry and Colorado State Senator Gail Schwartz,” said Ferguson. “ATP has contacted the FBI. This is now Nixon got impeached along with 48 government cronies convicted of crimes. People don’t like it when corrupt politicians interfere with criminal investigations and conspire with criminals to evade law enforcement.”
“We didn’t know they had our stolen bank records for nearly two years. I’m no legal expert but intentionally hiding stolen property that is evidence in a criminal investigation reeks of a felony,” said Ferguson.
Swandal ruled Montana officials used the stolen materials to attack certain candidates in an apparent effort to influence an election. “(I)t is undisputed that Commissioner Murry gave national news media access to the Colorado Documents which they used in October, 2012, in an apparent effort to embarrass certain candidates on the eve of the 2012 election,” wrote Swandal.
The Political Practices Commissioner’s legally-mandated job is to enforce campaign finance laws in an impartial manner, not to attack those who disagree with the governor who installed him. As a taxpayer-funded non-profit corporation PBS (the media outlet that aired the report) is prohibited from assisting the campaigns of political candidates.
“The fact COPP looked at all the materials, found absolutely NO wrongdoing to act on and instead of returning them, secretly held them for nearly two years so they could coordinate an election-eve attack makes the State look unbelievably corrupt,” said Ferguson.
“Commissioner Murry has refused to return the Colorado Documents to their owners and has not stated a legal basis for his refusal,” Swandal writes.
“Furthermore, it appears from the evidence that Commissioner Murry cannot continue to guarantee the security of the Colorado Documents. For example, his office was recently burglarized. According to Commissioner Murry, ‘The office is located in an old house on the Capitol campus, and Murray says ‘it’s a well-known fact that security is minimal.’”
Swandal declared Murray has shown “his demonstrated inability or unwillingness to keep the Colorado Documents secure.”
“I’m sure it’s no coincidence that after the documents were ordered sealed by a judge someone just happened to try and break in the COPP offices to steal them. It’s typical of the corruption that reeks in Helena,” said Ferguson.
COPP also used stolen ATP financial information to publicize the names and contact information of ATP’s donors. Under section 501(c)4 of IRC federal law, such information is protected for privacy reasons.
“We are contacting the IRS and Treasury Department to see what federal laws were broken by Steve Bullock and Jim Murry,” said Ferguson.
“ATP always obeys every letter of every applicable law. Everything we do is not just legal but in pursuit of accountable government. Corrupt politicians hate us, and we have seen them lower themselves to lies, smears and now working with meth dealers to traffic in stolen materials” said ATP Executive Director Donald Ferguson.
“The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) internal watchdog is looking into whether the agency uses separate internal email accounts to conduct government affairs,” The Hill reports.
“EPA’s inspector general said the audit follows on a congressional request. Some lawmakers have pressed EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson for answers on her alleged use of a separate internal email account under the alias ‘Richard Windsor.’”
The bogus email account was uncovered by Chris Horner, American Tradition Institute‘s Director of Litigation.
“Its office of the inspector general wants to know whether the agency’s email practices comply with federal laws. The concern is whether correspondence through internal accounts would show up in a search for federal records.”
More grassroots groups are joining American Tradition Partnership in opposing the “Wind Production Tax Credit” to bail out failing green corporations.
A123 Systems, the ‘green’ car battery maker bailed out by Barack Obama with $249 million in taxpayer funds only to declare bankruptcy anyway, has been bought by a Chinese car maker.
Wanxiang America Corporation bought the company in a Delaware bankruptcy court, The Washington Post reports.
A123 pocketed about $130 million of the taxpayer-backed loan handed to them by Obama before admitting they were bankrupt.
Once again, Obama bet millions of taxpayer dollars on yet another green loser. Those holding shares in A123 will lose their investment. “If the deals are approved by the court, the shares,” the Post reports. “That’s because proceeds from the sale of the two parts of A123 would be less than the company owes its creditors.”
Environmentalists aren’t just a threat to the economy, they are also a threat to property and human life.
Unhappy that most Americans support the clean, safe Keystone XL jobs project, raging environmentalists are now engaging in a campaign of vandalism and trespassing. Environmentalists see crime as a civil right.
Environmentalists “have taken to chaining themselves to machinery and trucks in an attempt to stall construction,” POLITICO reports.
Those criminals are the nice ones. There have also been attempts to plant bombs on natural gas pipelines.
Ecoterrorism is a serious problem in the United States. Because leftists see authority over others as their right they too often resort to violence in order to grasp control.
Environmentalists in the United States have also recently set fire to the homes of medical researchers and destroyed crops and slaughtered animals intended to help develop affordable foods to combat world hunger.
As environmentalism grows increasingly synonymous with violence and terrorism it is important Congress take action to confront the growing threat of environmentalist terrorism.
Join ATP, Stop Gang Green!
American Tradition Partnership (ATP) is a no-compromise grassroots organization dedicated to fighting the radical environmentalist agenda. We support responsible development of natural resources and rational land use and management policies. Only together can we protect access, private property rights, and affordable energy for all Americans!