There’s a new turn in the ongoing saga about the Humane Society of the United States paying nearly $11 million to settle a racketeering and fraud lawsuit.
Here’s a quick recap: The Fund for Animals and other animal activist groups sued Feld Entertainment, which owns the Ringling Bros. circus, nearly 20 years ago. They claimed the circus abused animals. But it turned out their key witness, a former elephant handler, not only lied under oath but was being paid under the table by HSUS and other groups. (The Fund for Animals merged with HSUS in 2004 while the lawsuit made its way through the courts.)
The lawsuit was thrown out, and Feld counter-sued HSUS, two HSUS lawyers, and other animal activists alleging bribery, fraud, and racketeering. Feld got about $25 million in settlement—around $9 million from the ASPCA, $11 million from HSUS, and the remainder from other defendants.
Like any large nonprofit corporation, HSUS had a few insurance policies ready for when it got burned. But, only one of its two policies paid out, causing HSUS to sue the insurer, National Union Fire Insurance Co. And HSUS just lost. After a long bout of judicial gymnastics, the Fourth District Federal Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of National Union.
This decision means that HSUS donors—the proverbial little old ladies giving $19 a month to HSUS—had to cover about $5.675 million of the racketeering settlement. That amount is more than what HSUS spent on grants to local pet shelters for all of 2017.
Isn’t that quite telling? As always if you care about animals and don’t want your money wasted, give local and not to HSUS.