Well, that took an unexpected turn…
On Wednesday, the United Stated Equestrian Federation (USEF) issued a press release announcing it’s crack down on doping violations under the new Equine Drugs & Medications Penalty Guidelines. The first to feel the brunt of the stiffer penalties was high profile hunter rider Kelley Farmer and trainer Larry Glefke of Wellington, Florida who were issued heavy fines and lengthy suspensions.
There’s just one problem: Farmer and Glefke say its the first they’ve heard about the positive test or the hearing.
Vanessa Brown, an employee of Farmer’s Lane Change Farm, posted the following statement on Facebook today explaining their shock. [Paragraph breaks added for readability.]
Imagine our surprise to receive calls from our peers and colleagues relating to an alleged suspension by the United States Equestrian Federation (“USEF”) regarding the equine UNEXPECTED when we had absolutely no knowledge about an alleged violation; a charge; a hearing date; let alone a hearing on this matter” says Larry Glefke and Kelley Farmer.
“It is unfathomable how the USEF would proceed against Glefke and Farmer uncontested at a hearing November 29th, 2016, when in fact Glefke submitted evidence and had counsel present for another matter, says Bonnie Navin, Mr. Glefke’s counsel of many years.
At a minimum the USEF should have, as they have in many instances with Navin in the past, contacted Ms. Navin to advise that there was a pending inquiry and charge against one of her clients. Lawyers know full well when they do not receive contact from a charged party and that party has legal representation, to process.
Ms. Navin noted that she had been working with Ms. Keating, USEF’s in-house cousel, on other matters not pertaining to Glefke and she never mentioned the issue with Glefke/Farmer. To that end. Mr. Forman, outside counsel for USEF certainly made no effort to contact Ms. Navin whom he knows represented Mr. Glefke for years, to determine if she was aware of any such charge.
Lastly, Ms. Navin attended a hearing on another matter September 27, 2016 and not once in a full day of hearing before the Hearing Panel counsel, Dan Danford and Hearing secretary Emily Pratt, was there any mention of such alleged charge or the absence of a response by Glefke/Farmer.
“There is no way Mr. Glefke or Ms. Farm [sic] wouldn’t have retained proper representation, secured B sample of the blood, submitted evidence in writing and had experts on the medicine at a hearing, if they were aware of the charge” says Navin.
Navin says perhaps the most disturbing is the fact she stood in the hall of the USEF’s headquarters in September in the presence of President-elect Murray Kessler and USEF outside counsel Forman, and neither mentioned to Navin that her clients hadn’t responded to a charge against them for GABA, which is a significant allegation.
“I was right there in front of the entire USEF legal department, the president, outside counsel, the Hearing Committee and its staff members of the drug and medications staff, and not one person said a word that Glefke/Farmer had a GABA charge that had not been responded to,” says Navin.
The USEF sadly issued the final order and press release on the heels of the USEF Annual Meeting in an effort to “pat itself on the back” for issuing hefty fines, but they did so at the violation of Due Process which is punishable by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) if it is determined the USEF, as the National Governing Body, violated its own By-Laws and that of USOC, for due process.
USEF claims in its final order that secretary Emily Pratt called Farmer about the charges, a matter vehemently denied by Ms. Farmer.
“If anyone had contacted me about any charge, no matter how small or large, I would have contacted our counsel immediately to secure our due process rights and rights under the drug and medication rules, such as having a B sample tested,” says Farmer.
Navin has immediately requested USEF provide all evidence of all documentation sent to Glefke/Farmer including phone records of the purported call to Farmer about this alleged charge to get to the bottom of the matter and further investigate what occurred. At this time Navin is looking into filing an emergency USOC charge and/or seeking the USEF vacate the prior order pertaining to Unexpected and issue a proper charge and allow Glefke/Farmer their due process rights afforded to them under their USEF membership to defend the allegation.
What happens next, we’ll have to wait and see. Clearly, someone’s got some explaining to do…