Reigning In Government Bullies

by Diane Dimond on January 9, 2012

Some Schoolyard Bullies Never Change

Nobody likes a bully – especially me.

But what if it is the United States Government that is the bully? What if certain people in Washington decide to target a citizen and then use all the resources available to them to crush that person?

I must tell you about a story I researched recently because millions of your tax dollars were used to wage an eight year war against Robert Lorsch a successful California businessman and philanthropist who loves animals. I mean, this guy gets all weepy when he talks about helping animals and he and his wife, Kira, have donated astounding amounts of money to animal causes – like the 36 acre Wildlife WayStation refuge in Topanga Canyon, California.

Robert Lorsch and his wife Kira Reed

Since 2000 the U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited the WayStation for various violations of the Wildlife Protection Act. For example, WWS’s owner, Martine Collette, was told she didn’t have proper permits, her veterinarians weren’t properly qualified, animal cages weren’t regulation, a portion of fence needed repair and animal food had been left unrefrigerated on a countertop for too long. The USDA filed a legal action.

Martine Collette Founded the WWS in 1976

Interestingly, the government had turned to Collette in the mid-90’s to take in dozens of displaced chimps used in medical tests at laboratories that were closing down. Yet, there they were writing her up for violation after violation, offering no compliance help. One lengthy point of contention centered on one of the chimps who self-mutilated, likely a result of the lab experimentation he’d endured. The USDA wanted more done for that chimp and assured sterilizations for all the others at the WayStation. State and local inspectors found problems at the WWS too. In 2003, after the USDA filed a second legal action, Collette feared she’d loose the sanctuary and that her animals– from tigers, bears and llamas to alligators, peacocks and exotic snakes – would be euthanized by the government.

Collette, Lorsch & Nicollette Sheridan at WWS Fundraiser

Enter then, Robert Lorsch who offered to help Collette get into compliance with all the various regulators. He donated money to help fix the problems. And, having the can-do business mind that he does, Lorsch got involved in resolution conference calls with USDA officials. To make a long story short, Lorsch got testy with an agent on the phone. And, when he became convinced that some WWS volunteers were actually working undercover for the USDA magnifying minor of offenses into major violations he offered a cash reward in the WWS newsletter to anyone who could “out” the USDA snitches.

Bully Lawyers at the USDA?

This appears to be Lorsch’s biggest “crime.” Suddenly the USDA had added his name to the pending 2003 court case. This was a man who had no official position with the WWS and hadn’t even heard of the refuge when the violations were said to have occurred. Yet, there he was listed as a defendant. Again, to shorten this long 8 year saga, a judge ultimately ruled against the USDA and chided them for adding Lorsch, the “best friend of the WWS,” to the lawsuit. Chief Administrative Law Judge Marc Hillson’s 52-page decision concluded, “In many ways the government’s case against Lorsch illustrates the maxim that ‘no good deed goes unpunished.’”

Annual Safari Fundraiser With Lorsch & Quincy Jones

The USDA appealed the ruling. They lost the appeal. Yet the USDA lawyers kept coming – filing another action in 2007 for essentially the same types of violations on long-ago dates. Again, Lorsch was listed as a defendant! Not any other benefactor or board member – just Martine Collette and the charitable Lorsch. Court action on this latest prosecution was set to start later this month in Los Angeles which would have again included the expense of flying the Washington based USDA legal team back to California and housing them in hotels for what could have been long, expensive stays. But I learned that several weeks ago officials took a stab at trying to wrap it all up while still punishing Collette and Lorsch.

One of Hundreds of WWS Animals in Need

USDA agents approached Collette and offered to drop the case if she would sign a consent decree and pay a five thousand dollar fine. She jumped at the settlement. The deal was offered to Lorsch except his fine was set at 10 thousand dollars. He refused. “It’s not about the money,” Lorsch told me. “It’s about the fact that I will not admit I did something I didn’t do!” And Lorsch lambasts the agency for spending what he figures was upward of five million dollars coming after him all these years. On December 14th Lorsch filed a multi-million dollar malicious prosecution lawsuit against the USDA. He says if he wins he’ll pay his legal bills and costs and give up to a million dollars to animal charities. After he filed, Lorsch says, he learned that lead USDA attorney Colleen Carroll had issued a terse Notice of Withdrawal announcing, “Pursuit of this matter…would not further the goals of the Animal Welfare Act.” Case closed.

WWS Monkeys & Chimps Galore!

“I was persecuted because I beat them in court and they couldn’t stand it. When people are being thrown out of their houses, what right does a federal agency have to waste so much tax money?” Good question and one I would have liked to have posed to the USDA. But, after repeated calls and e-mails to the agency I got no response by deadline time.

As a taxpayer who helped fund this vendetta and as one who despises bullies – where do I go to ask for my money back?

 

The Wildlife WayStation is a non-profit, charitable organization, supported solely through donations. The WWS desperately needs your help. Please, go to this link. home

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Dimond January 9, 2012 at 1:05 am

Creators Syndicate Site Reader Matt writes:

“Well written and I am happy to see someone point out the failings of big govt in going after a man who was doing nothing but trying to help some lost and abused animals. It’s a real shame the amount of waste, both in tax payer money and time, that occurs in this country by our govt. Bob Lorsch is a good man and deserved a pat on the back at the very least for what he did here. Hope he and the animals he is trying to help both get what they deserve in the end.”

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Diane Dimond January 9, 2012 at 1:06 am

Creators Syndicate Site Reader Michael Selsman writes:

“Another example of power corruption by small-minded people whose other lives at home may be impinging on their official duties. In a more perfect existence, the human mind would be able to distinguish between reality as it applies to their jobs, and their personal problems. Man’s (and woman’s) ego will eventually be the extinction of humankind.”

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Franz Kurz January 9, 2012 at 11:13 am

Mind recent case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the wonderful NY game. Mind The Oregon Trial in Diane Downs’ case and many other wrongful convictions for dubious purposes. Power against social responsibility has not been answered in late Samuel P. Huntington’s book WHO ARE WE (2004). Only a small class of educated individuals – not the so named 1% – recognize of what is going on, and won’t make any change.

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Gordon Hamel January 9, 2012 at 11:15 am

Diane – I have been trying to interest you for years about the misuse of Federal funds by vindictive Federal employees. Not only the cost of the investigation and subsequent prosecution but, the settlement amounts are staggering. The only way to curtail this practice is for journalists in every media to focus on, highlight, and continue to write about cases such as these until someone puts a stop to it. Look what happened to Barry – at some point a disgruntled fed contacted Comcast.

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Edward C D Ingram January 9, 2012 at 12:36 pm

We must add something to the convention on readership that I want to create and I want governments to sign up to.

A convention that can relieve such people from their posts – by law, preceded by a caution if found guilty.

The knock-on effects of such a convention will accumulate like snow added to a snowball as popular support for limiting surplus power from our leaders grows.

Few nations will dare to oppose the masses and the Twittering classes that will cite the (unsigned) convention whenever such incidents occur. They will have to sign. But first we need the convention.

Who will help us to write it?

When it becomes the norm for good international relationships we will be on the way to eliminating poverty and creating good government. Another knock-on effect.

From there we might slow the birthrate as poverty goes away and thus save the planet. And there is too little time to do all of that. It is a slow slow process. And it only ends AFTER it starts.

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Edward C D Ingram January 9, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Sorry corrections:

We must add something to the convention on LEADERSHIP (not readership) that I want to create and I want governments to sign up to.

A convention that can relieve such people from their posts – by law, preceded by a caution if found guilty.

The knock-on effects of such a convention will accumulate like snow added to a snowball as popular support for limiting surplus power from our leaders grows.

Few nations will dare to oppose the masses and the Twittering classes that will cite the (unsigned) convention whenever such incidents occur. They will have to sign or some tea party type movement will remove them from office. But first we need the convention.

I have drafted an outline convention – just a first draft for the experts to work on.

Who will help us to write it?

There are always knock-on effects to correcting faults in a complex system.

1. Hundreds of symptoms that we probably employ courts to deal with and lots of legislation, just vanish.

2. When the convention becomes the norm for good international relationships we will be on the way to eliminating poverty and creating good government. Another knock-on effect.

What name can we give to the convention as a rallying call?

3. From there we might slow the birthrate as poverty goes away and thus save the planet. And there is too little time to do all of that. It is a slow slow process.

This threat to the planet only ends AFTER we set the process in motion. It is up to us. Do we want to save the planet and do we want to eliminate hundreds of problems as well?

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Diane Dimond January 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Facebook Friend Fred Mizzi writes:

“Well a good Example – look at the millions of tax payer money wasted on barry bonds to see if he told a lie. That money could of been spent on kids teaching them not to lie to government”

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Diane Dimond January 9, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Facebook Friend Diane LaBella Palen writes:

“DISTRUST WASHINGTON? THAT IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT…. THEY KNOW HOW TO WASTE OUR MONEY…OUR MONEY…THEY FORGET ITS OUR MONEY… ALL THEY KNOW HOW IS TO WASTE IT….JUST WISH THEY WOULD KNOW WE HAVE PEOPLE OUT OF WORK …HELP THEM….WE HAVE PEOPLE WHO ARE HUNGRY….HELP THEM…. WE HAVE PEOPLE THAT CANT EVEN HAVE A DOCTOR LOOK AT THE…..HELP THEM! THIS WASHINGTON WASTES OUR MONEY ON PROJECTS THAT DONT WORK FOR US,,,BUT WORKS FOR THEM AND THEIR POCKETS…AND THEY WANT OUR VOTES????????????????

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Anita Busch January 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Rest easy, Mr. Lorsch.

“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment Thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, sayeth the Lord.”

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Diane Dimond January 9, 2012 at 9:58 pm

DD Web Site Reader ANONYMOUS writes:

“Out of fear and terror I do not want my name published.
In 2006 I received fan mail from the IRS saying I owed about $50,000 in back taxes plus $200,000 in penalties and interest over a five year period.
Went to a local accountant/attorney and former IRS agent.
He filed a stay answered and re-checked our taxes for the five year period.
Said we were good and they could not find any errors.
He could not find errors and we had all the backup.
They did not answer our response just started filing liens and attaching wages and bank accounts.
We went through 3 attorney’s, and the IRS audited us. No errors,
Our first and second attorney said they did all they could and referred us to a third attorney.
Thought we were done.
Now I work in the financial sector, they levy on a banking employees’ wages it is career suicide.
They were going to allow me to keep $900 every two weeks.
By the time I was done, I lost jobs, could not find new ones, lost my house.
I had to file bankruptcy, then sue the US Government.
I won the lawsuit, even after I received notice that I won. The IRS still levied an account as it was not cleared out of their system.
When they found the error they sent the check to the State of NJ in case I owed them money.
It took months to get that back.
I never owed any money, I won the lawsuit as it was a hollow victory and cost me about $75,000 in non-recoverable legal fees.
Somehow I managed to keep my kids in college and pay for a wedding during this fiasco.
I lost a lot of sleep, money, jobs and a house. Still trying to recover.”

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Diane Dimond January 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Oh my good grief! Although I haven’t confirmed any of your information it appears that this is a perfect example of Government bullies run amok. I think without a doubt the Government should have to re-pay your lawyers fees! So sorry for your trouble! ~ DD

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chiguy January 11, 2012 at 2:47 am

Nice article Diane. Looks like another astounding example of out of control gov’t bureaucracy mixed with personal politics (eg. contentious exit interview).

Facetious charges related to violating a suspended exhibit license while attempting to recruit financial donors & volunteers to help in bringing the sanctuary back into compliance. Attempting to implicate the Lorsch gentleman: who, by any layman’s observation, was merely acting as a pro-Bono consultant and primary donor to help resolve the compliance issues between WWS & USDA….

Is this type of behavior the message the USDA wants to send to citizens’ who are sincerely working to remedy their compliance issues… let alone the next “potential” Terry Thompson(s) of the world?

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Shawn S Fahrer January 12, 2012 at 9:44 pm

See the books by GmB Bailey (‘Bridging the Gap’ and ‘Closing the Gap’) on the topic of “gang stalking”-­- often the government IS the gang doing the stalking, as Keith Labella points out in his Amazon.com review of the latter of his two books..­… Perhaps this is another case in point!

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Lawrence Imprescia January 13, 2012 at 10:23 am

Mrs. Dimond –
Thanks so much for writing this article. It is imperative that journalists such as yourself continue to expose this kind of government abuse if we want to keep our constitution and freedoms intact. Now that I know of this incident I will be contacting the USDA to express my outrage with these attacks on innocent citizens and the waste of taxpayers money. Keep up the good work.

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CLS January 30, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate your expose. The surface has only begun to be scratched, showing whom the government targets and the reasons why.

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