Another motion by fundraising counsel Bruce Eberle vs. ANIMAL PEOPLE is denied by court
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2004:
FAIRFAX, Va.–Circuit Judge Gaylord L. Finch of Fairfax
County, Virginia, on December 19, 2003 denied the latest in a
series of motions filed against ANIMAL PEOPLE since July 2003 by
fundraising counsel Bruce Eberle and Fund Raising Strategies Inc.,
one of several firms that Eberle owns or controls.
The case is now closed in the Circuit Court and the time for
filing appeals has expired.
The series of motions, each denied, sought injunctions
against distribution of the June 2003 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE and
accused ANIMAL PEOPLE of contempt of court, for causes originating
out of having published a table that disclosed proprietary financial
data about FRS and Eberle’s other companies.
The table accompanied a detailed account of the judicially
encouraged settlement of a libel suit brought by Eberle and FRS
against ANIMAL PEOPLE in July 2002. The settlement required ANIMAL
PEOPLE to correct two statements quoted and paraphrased from Wildlife
Waystation founder Martine Colette, an Eberle client, which were
never presented as anyone’s position other than hers, plus two brief
garbled summaries that never actually appeared in the ANIMAL PEOPLE
newspaper, nor at our web site. ANIMAL PEOPLE had long before
corrected and clarified all of the items at issue.
Eberle received no retractions of main coverage, no damages
or costs, no admission of alleged libel and tortious interference in
business relationships, and no apology.
The case was described by the Society of Environmental
Journ-alists–in electronic coverage that ANIMAL PEOPLE did not know
about until six months after it was posted–as “a legal standoff that
some viewed as an attempt to intimidate the press into silence.”
ANIMAL PEOPLE has since September 2000 repeatedly exposed
Eberle’s tactics and record as a fundraiser for clients including
former U.S. Senator Jesse Helms, who introduced a bill in 2002 that
excluded more than 90% of all vertebrate animals used in research
from protection under the Animal Welfare Act, and the Mountain
States Legal Foundation, noted for opposing key provisions of the
Endangered Species Act.
Other current or recent Eberle clients have included the
Elephants of Africa Rescue Society, Exotic Cat Refuge & Wildlife
Orphan-age (not to be confused with Wild Animal Orphanage, not an
Eberle client, but also located in Texas), Great Cats In Crisis,
Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue, Noah’s Lost Ark, Peaceful Valley
Donkey Sanctuary, Tiger Creek, and Tiger Haven. There are probably
IRS Form 990 filings indicate that Lifesavers Wild Horse
Rescue, Tiger Creek, and Tiger Haven have each spent more than 70%
of their budgets on fundraising and administrative costs every year
since 2000. The Wise Giving Alliance recommends that combined
fundraising and administative costs should not exceed 35%.
Complete current IRS Form 990 filings for the other
animal-related Eberle clients are not available.