That legal notice, published in the Reading Eagle newspaper, was for a tax lien of $19,182 by the IRS against AC4h pertaining to fiscal years 2004, 2005 and 2007. The photo was snapped by a friend of mine who then uploaded it to Facebook and tagged me in it. It was quickly shared by others who are in the know about AC4h's long and checkered history.
One of those individuals who shared it is my good friend and passionate horse advocate as well as a board member of EWA, Jo-Claire Corcoran, who has been very outspoken in her criticism of Christy Sheidy and her cruel exploitation of unfit-for-sale auction horses at exorbitant prices as unbefitting a nonprofit rescue. She has never been shy or reticent in this regard; surely Mr. Holland was well aware of her feelings, yet he never objected or raised any concerns.
That is, until Jo-Claire shared the photo of the tax lien in the newspaper to her wall, where it was apparently seen by John Holland -- or possibly by Christy Sheidy herself or one of her associates. On May 9, Jo-Claire posted this:
I regret to inform my friends I am no longer associated with Equine Welfare Alliance. I resigned from the board of directors effective Wednesday, May 7th. John Holland asked for my resignation because I posted the legal notification the IRS published about the lien they obtained against Another Chance 4 Horses (AC4H). Since John is a fervent supporter of Sheidy and AC$H, I did not fight to stay, rather chose to resign. I do not wish to be associated with any organization that supports Christy Sheidy and AC$H.The reaction from Jo-Claire's friends and others was swift and immediate, with nearly everyone reiterating their steadfast support for her and her views on AC4h, with many of them echoing those same opinions. One of them had this to say:
Equine welfare and AC$H et al should not even be mentioned in the same sentence. I am appalled that someone purporting to be concerned about horse welfare would support anyone involved in their exploitation for money on such a grand scale.Another friend of Jo-Claire's chimed in with this comment:
As we all know Jo-Claire Corcoran has always shown great respect for John Holland and EWA. I suppose that it was a great shock to her as it is to all of us. Posting a public notice on a personal page is a right we all have. I don't like anyone or organization that cheats on their taxes. That hurts all of us. An organization such as EWA shouldn't promote or endorse any rescues. In my opinion EWA should encourage well run rescues but never endorse any of them. Many of us are aware of the unethical practices of AC4H. In fact we probably know more about the crap they are doing then any other rescue on FB. It's very well known that they misrepresent the animals. It's also obvious they are making lots of income from the horses they profess to be saving. It's up to the IRS to determine if they reported all the income or not but it seems reasonable to believe they did not. It's very possible that if IRS determines that they committed tax fraud that they will spend time in prison.John Holland's position against horse slaughter as the president of the Equine Welfare Alliance is totally incongruous with his support of a seedy, bottom-dwelling horse dealer and flipper who has been using her "rescue" and its nonprofit status to live high off the backs of hundreds of lame, ill, emaciated, injured and elderly horses while sending many more to slaughter. This she has accomplished by enabling her kill buyer partner, Brian Moore, to buy dozens of young, fat and healthy horses cheaply with his cut from the broker program to fulfill his slaughter contract.
I would hate for EWA to continue to promote an organization that is committing tax fraud. It makes me wonder why they would.
It is no secret that AC4h is, and has been, under investigation by the FBI as well as the IRS since December of 2012 for a litany of crimes including wire and mail fraud, theft by deception, money laundering, conspiracy, income tax evasion, and other Federal offenses. Dozens of victims have shared their heart-wrenching experiences in Internet forums, Facebook groups and on such websites as Chronicle of the Horse and Guidestar.org, a well-known Internet nonprofit watchdog. In light of all this, it is inconceivable to me and many others how Mr. Holland could possibly overlook or ignore these very obvious red flags flapping in the storm surrounding Christy Sheidy and AC4h.
In the same thread on Jo-Claire Corcoran's wall, Darrell R. Charlton spoke up in defense of John and his actions:
As John is a personal friend of mine I spoke with him at length on the telephone today for his input on this 'drama'. As this is a personal matter between Jo-Claire and EWA it is not my place to go into the details of my discussion with John other than to say I am aware of why Jo-Claire was asked to resign. John has not aligned himself nor is EWA aligned with any specific rescue or member of the organization (which AC4H and Ms. Sheidy are as are numerous others).
I am aware of the investigations into AC4H and Ms. Sheidy. IF AC4H and/or Ms. Sheidy is/are found culpable and/or guilty then the 'system' will hopefully administer fair and appropriate 'justice'. It is also likely that both AC4H and Ms. Sheidy will face expulsion from EWA membership. Until a formal verdict has been given I choose not to participate in as yet unresolved accusations, gossip or vitriol!However, actions speak louder than words, and by asking Jo-Claire to resign after she posted the IRS tax lien to her wall, John Holland has clearly demonstrated where his loyalties lie--with Christy Sheidy and AC4h. Another friend of mine called him out on her wall, expressing her horror that he would support or condone her in any way. Surprisingly, John did comment in the thread, saying:
Jo-Claire's response to him in that thread:
John Holland It is EWA policy that we do not take a public position for or against any other equine welfare or rescue organization. We leave such issues to the proper authorities. If one of our board members knows something criminal is going on in such an organization, it is their duty to report it to such authorities, but not to become involved in flame wars.
John Holland would do well to re-examine his statements in light of a photograph I came across on AC4h.com-- a photograph of him standing outside a building with his arm around Christy Sheidy's shoulders.
Jo-Claire Corcoran Interesting John, when Marie Ewan and Jo Maloney were attacking me, you said you never let someone dictate to you how you handle the board. Yet I post a legal notification and one comment in defense of a friend, but because it's about AC4H, the response is different. it wasn't a "flame" war, it wasn't as a board member, but as myself. A legal document.
Jo-Claire Corcoran Plus this whole issue was never put before the board either, John made this decision on his own. Other board members, once they found out, did not agree with John
This photograph was snapped during the Americans Against Horse Slaughter conference that took place in Washington, D.C., on March 4, 2008-- six years ago. Mr. Holland has clearly demonstrated by his recent actions that he supports Christy and AC4h and has been doing so for a long time, despite his extremely contradictory statement above.
I am sorry, Mr. Holland, but as the time-worn cliché goes, "You cannot have your cake and eat it too". By asking Jo-Claire Corcoran to resign for merely posting a photograph of the IRS tax lien against AC4h on her wall, you've shown the entire world your true colors. You, as a co-founder of EWA, have been instrumental in bringing awareness to the public about the horrors of horse slaughter, yet you are condoning the unsavory actions of an EWA member who is implicitly pro-slaughter despite her public stance against this barbaric practice. Tell me how you are not taking a public position for or against any equine welfare or rescue organization here? Impartiality, it seems, doesn't get a seat in your ballpark.
EWA is supposed to be all about the humane treatment of all equines, yet you support your 'friend' while she callously abuses and neglects the broker horses brought to her courtesy of Brian Moore. Those abuses have been well documented by victims who bought into AC4h's emotional blackmail to save animals from the slaughter truck, thinking they were getting the horse of their dreams--only to be emotionally crushed when it arrived deathly ill, lame beyond rehabilitation, starved into a shadow of its former self, or not "child-broke", "gentle for a beginning rider" or some other gross misrepresentation.
In my opinion, EWA's image was irretrievably soiled in one fell swoop by John's actions towards Jo-Claire Corcoran. By asking her to resign over a photo that she freely shared to her wall as a private citizen, he made an emphatic statement in support of a multi-million dollar criminal enterprise, which is exactly what AC4h is. He also severely compromised any and all personal ethics he had up to this point.
What he should have done a year ago was expel AC4h from the Equine Welfare Alliance immediately following the FBI raid. The Feds do not arbitrarily raid someone's home with weapons drawn without probable cause--and it certainly wasn't over "health certificates" as Sheidy so glibly claimed in a TV interview afterwards. The Maryland FBI field agent I met with several times last year told me point blank that they do not as a rule get involved in cases of fraud unless the amount lost is at least one million dollars. AC4h raked in $860,000 in 2010 alone, the very last year a return was filed with the IRS, and the organization has been an incorporated entity since 2005. Don't forget too, that no returns were filed for the years 2011 and 2012. Today, May 15, is the filing deadline for nonprofits, and I doubt very much that the IRS will see a return for last year from Christy Sheidy anytime soon.
At this point, as I see it, Mr. Holland can only now save face by going down one of two paths: either step down as president of EWA, or expel AC4h from its membership with a public statement that EWA will not support any members who engage in unethical and/or criminal behavior where the welfare of equines is concerned. As for Jo-Claire Corcoran herself, a mutual friend said this:
I am relieved that Jo-Claire Corcoran is no longer associated with EWA. It is really a blessing in disguise. There is no way that Jo-Claire should be associated with any organization where someone, such as John Holland, is associated in any way with someone such as Christy Shady who is a horse broker and, therefore, part of the slaughter pipeline. Anyone who aligns themselves with Christy Shady is unethical and immoral. I think Jo-Claire should have turned in her resignation a long time ago.I couldn't agree more.
By the way, I thanked Jo-Claire publicly on my wall for standing up for me with regard to the vicious and prolonged attacks being made against me on the Equine Rescue Scams Facebook page, a page whose stated purpose is "to counter all the ignorant, uneducated, dumbass, 2nd/3rd/15th hand bandwagon bullstink spread by the proslaughter ASSERS who choose acute drama over helping horses."
The truth is, the page's name is extremely misleading and in actuality was created by Beth Hill Ross of New England Equine Rescues (NEER and a close associate of Christy's) to smear the good names of anyone and everyone who has the unmitigated gall to speak out against AC4h. I believe the admins are Cheryl Hanna, who also is the admin/creator of the National Pet Rescue Examiner Facebook page, and Pam Davis.
I want to thank Jo-Claire again from the bottom of my heart for defending me and for being such a courageous and compassionate human being who is not afraid to step out on a limb for the helpless and innocent creatures who don't have a voice. You ROCK, Jo-Claire!