Racketeering Lawsuit Filed against HSUS and its Lawyers by Feld Entertainment, 16 February 2010

This document is a federal lawsuit filed on February 16, 2010 by Feld Entertainment (the parent company of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus) under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

Feld is suing:

  • The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS);
  • The Fund for Animals (which merged with HSUS in 2004);
  • Jonathan Lovvorn, an attorney employed by HSUS;
  • Kimberly Ockene, an attorney employed by HSUS;
  • The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA);
  • The Animal Welfare Institute;
  • The Animal Protection Institute (d/b/a/ Born Free USA);
  • Tom Rider (a discredited witness in a recently dismissed lawsuit against Feld, who a judge ruled was paid at least $190,000 for his testimony);
  • Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal (the outside law firm which handled that lawsuit against Feld);
  • Katherine Meyer (of Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal);
  • Eric Glitzenstein (of Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal);
  • Howard Crystal (of Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal); and
  • The Wildlife Advocacy Project (a nonprofit organization founded and managed by Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal, which was used as a pass-through vehicle to allow animal rights groups to pay Tom Rider for his discredited testimony against Feld).

The central claim of the lawsuit (see page 13 of the PDF) is:

[D]efendants have perpetrated and continue to perpetrate multiple schemes to permanently ban Asian elephants in circuses, to defraud FEI of money and property and/or to unjustly enrich themselves, with the ultimate objective of banning Asian elephants in all forms of entertainment and captivity. To carry out these schemes, defendants conspired to conduct and conducted the Enterprise through a pattern of, among other things, bribery and illegal gratuity payments (in violation of both state and federal law), obstruction of justice, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. (emphasis addad)