UPDATED on 4/13 at 10:40pm pacific time – This story was updated to reflect a statements from Tiffany Gravelle who reached out to NW Horse Report shortly following this stories original publication. Additional court documents and information about a grant received by Gravelle was added to the story.
Eugene, Ore. – MG Equine Rescue & Therapy, a 501(c)(3) non-profit horse rescue organization based in Eugene, Oregon, was found to be concealing details regarding the organization’s status, including that Tania Herring was even involved in the organization, according to records. A slew of other legal issues and questions about the non-profit’s legitimacy and use of funds by the organization and its founders, which include Herring, continue to build.
Herring, a self-described horse trader, was convicted yesterday following a nearly two day trial in Jefferson County Circuit Court. Herring was also notoriously known in the Willamette Valley before the recent charges and conviction, having be charged for neglect of horses stemming from a 2010 incident in Mill City, Oregon, in which 31 of 115 horses on a 12-acre property were seized by the Linn County Sheriff’s Office.
In response to an inquiry from NW Horse Report sent to the rescue, regarding their connection to Herring before her trial started on Monday, MG’s co-founder David Gravelle appeared to distance the the organization from Herring saying, “The therapy has not had Tania involved since Jan 2021.”
Gravelle further implied in his email that the charity had actually shuttered, saying, “As the therapy program was hit hard by COVID, and then health issues with my wife & And [sic] change of careers.” This also seemed apparent due to a October 2021 post made on the rescues website saying they were closing “due to COVID”.
Following this publication of a story about Herrings conviction yesterday evening, the website for MG Equine Rescue & Therapy appeared to be shutdown. A business Facebook page was also recently shutdown that had content still showing through Google. The story did begin to raise questions regarding the Gravelle’s rescue organization and association with Herring, as NW Horse Report had already found clear evidence that Herring was still involved with the Gravelle’s.
Failure to register non-profit with Oregon Department of Justice
After the Gravelle’s failed to respond to further inquiries about their rescue organization and association to Herring, NW Horse Report discovered other issues. This included the organizations failure to register with the Charities Division of the Oregon Department of Justice, a legal requirement for all Oregon public benefit corporations, which is one of several types of non-profits under Oregon corporation standards.
It was also discovered that the rescue had a similar name to the Gravelle’s for-profit business– MG Equine Farm, LLC. The facility for both the non-profit organization and for-profit business shared the same address off Lakeview Drive northwest of Eugene, raising questions about comingling between the two entities at the Gravelle’s personally owned property.
When NW Horse Report could not find any records for the rescue with the Oregon DOJ, nor any fillings of an annual CT-12 financial disclosure, a inquiry was sent to the Oregon Department of Justice seeking confirmation.
Kristina Edmunson, Communications Director for the Oregon DOJ, told NW Horse Report that while it had no known complaints regarding the rescue, MG Equine Rescue had only just recently submitted its registration application.
Records provided to NW Horse Report by Edmunson showed that Tiffany Gravelle submitted the organizations application and other materials on or about March 24th and 25th, 2022. This appeared to follow a 3rd formal notice sent to the organization by the Oregon DOJ dated March 1st, 2022 regarding the organizations failure to comply with the registration requirements. The notice indicated the matter would be elevated for potential legal action against the directors and officers of the non-profit if they didn’t comply.
Not only did the horse rescue’s articles of incorporation show that Herring was a Director when formed in June of 2020, alongside Tiffany and David Gravelle, the registration application only just recently submitted to the Oregon DOJ listed Tania Herring as an officer of the non-profit, specifically Vice-President.
The Gravelle’s intentionally were working not only to avoid disclosure of any involvement by Herring by provided false statements to NW Horse Report, but may have also been avoiding the public disclosure by skirting registration with the Oregon Department of Justice for nearly 2-years.
Tiffany Gravelle did eventually make several claims, although they were repeatedly conflicting. Mrs. Gravelle claimed that Herring had been removed last year from the organization as her husband said in an email earlier this week. She also stated that 5 new directors had been appointed to their board, but that the documents they provided to the DOJ were only the initial articles from 2020, all in an effort to explain the discrepancy.
When pressed with additional information, Gravelle then claimed that Mr. Gravelle mistakenly said “2021”, having intended on saying January of 2022. However, when Mrs. Gravelle was asked about the document dated last month that she signed showing only the three of them in a board of officer role for the entire organization, including Herring as the “VP”, her story began to change again.
Mrs. Gravelle then claimed that Herring was removed just days ago by their board of directors, claiming to have just learned about the new charges for which Herring received convictions on 2 counts of neglect. She then claimed at the time there was only 5 directors total, with Herring being one of them. When asked who the other two directors were, she declined to provide any specifics, along with the new director she claimed was appointed to replace Herring.
When Gravelle was pressed on how they were not aware of Herrings charges until days ago, she ultimately admitted to actually knowing about the charges last year shortly after Herring was indicted.
Gravelle then claimed that 3 new directors were actually appointed when Herring was removed (for a total of 5), which is why they weren’t on the recent application. These multiple claims ultimately didn’t add up, considering Gravelle had said the new directors were added last year. When clearly asked, Gravelle declined to disclose who the other directors were.
Mrs. Gravelle had also provided multiple reasons for why the required filing with the Oregon Department of Justice was never submitted; ranging from the length of time it took to their EIN paperwork back from the IRS, that a registered agent service Northwest Registered Agents didn’t file the paperwork, and that she simply wasn’t aware.
NW Horse Report asked Mrs. Gravelle if she would provide transparency of the non-profit by disclosing meeting minutes of the board of directors and the organizations financials, to which she said she would after speaking to the organizations attorney on Tuesday.
Gravelle also initially claimed that the organization was not fully up and operating yet and receiving donations or provide services, but quickly reversed course after being asked about multiple online fundraising campaigns documented by NW Horse Report before their website was taken down. Other third-party websites contained records of some of the fundraisers.
It did not appear that the State’s prosecutors in Herrings recent trial for animal neglect were aware that Herring was a director or officer involved with the 501(c)(3) horse rescue.
Mrs. Gravelle also claimed to NW Horse Report that Herring was no longer living at their facility/residence following her conviction of animal neglect yesterday. When asked about Herring’s horses on her property she said that Herring was no longer the owner and that the horses would being moved shortly, but declined to provide any further information as to who had bought the horses and where they were going.
When asked about why they were involved with Herring in forming the rescue considering their knowledge of the charges in the 2010 incident, as well as knowing about the new charges stemming from the 2019 incident, Mrs. Gravelle said she wasn’t going to comment.
According to documents from the Oregon DOJ, MG Equine Rescue & Therapy now has until July 15th to file their overdue CT-12 financial disclosures for 2020, and an extension to November 15th to file their CT-12 for 2021.
Gravelle’s & their business face slew of recent lawsuits from local businesses for non-payment, bad checks
Between 2018 and 2021 alone, the Gravelle’s and their business MG Equine Farm, LLC, have also faced numerous civil complaints from various businesses and an individual which in total together claimed damages exceeding $35,000. One one the several complaints filed in small claims by Lori Garcia of Polk County alleged MG Equine Farm had neglected her horse and returned it severely “malnourished” following it’s time in training. Due to veterinary bills she allegedly incurred, Garcia’s claims exceeded $3,000.
Another case involved a judgement for approximately $9,000 issued in Lane County in favor of South Willamette Veterinary against Tiffany Gravelle and her daughter for unpaid veterinary bills. In a strange twist, a court filing made by an attorney for South Willamette Veterinary just yesterday (April 12th) indicated that the judgement had been “satisfied”, but it did not provide any details as to how much if anything was paid by the Gravelle’s recently to settle the claim.
NW Horse Report had requested comment days ago from the Gravelle’s specifically regarding the lawsuit with South Willamette Veterinary Clinic. Owners for South Willamette Veterinary and their attorney did not return requests over multiple days seeking comment, including explanation for the sudden timing. It is unknown if Gravelle’s suddenly offered a settlement, or any potential of a non-disclosure agreement after becoming aware of this publications inquiries that specifically asked about the complaint and judgement.
When Mrs. Gravelle contacted NW Horse Report following this stories original publication she claimed that she and her daughter had been making regular payments since the judgement was entered against them to the veterinarian. When asked about the timing she said eluded to it being a coincidence. The court record did not show any previous partial entries of satisfaction with installment payments on the judgement, but it is unclear if South Willamette Veterinary’s attorney waited until the judgement was paid in full, or for another reason. Gravelle said she could provide documentation showing that the payments from her and her daughter had been on a regular basis, but has failed to follow through with doing so.
South Willamette Veterinary has also yet to responded to requests regarding any ties to Tania Herring.
One of the complaints filed in 2021 showed a Eugene business called Urban Arbor Care, LLC, seeking $14,135 in damages from the Gravelle’s. The company’s owner, Charles Lystrup, detailed to NW Horse Report the extensive work performed for the Gravelle’s over the course of several days in March of 2021. Lystrup explained how his company worked on several trees on the property that posed issues for a large number of horses, as well as being told that the horses and facility were part of a non-profit horse rescue.
When asked if the story about the horse rescue was why Lystrup didn’t require payment upfront, he said, “not really, at that point I just always had faith that people I’m meeting are honest.” Lystrup also expressed how being stiffed on a large job like the one for the Gravelle’s hurts his small family business, “It can take 5-10 more jobs of a similar size just to make it up,” said Lystrup.
Gravelle declined to say much except she was in the process of resolving and paying Lystrup’s company what she owed, but declined further comment until she spoke to her attorney on Tuesday.
Another complaint was filed by Roto-Rooter franchisee obtained a $6,350 judgement in 2019. An asphalt paving company also obtained an outstanding judgement for $6,319 against the Gravelle’s.
During part of the same period of time that the Gravelle’s racked up a debt to local vendors, Tiffany Gravelle also received $8,979 from a Watershed Enhancement Board grant. This included horse corral panels totaling $5,649. The grant was handled by the Upper Willamette Soil & Water Conservation District, who confirmed the grant application was filed by Mrs. Gravelle individually and made no mention of her for-profit business, MG Equine Farm.
Luxury and vacation cruises while thousands remain owed
While these small businesses continue to have tens of thousands owned by the Gravelle’s, Tiffany Gravelle appears to be enjoying lavish cruises, often multiple times a month as detailed by her public business focused Facebook page.
The page promoted herself as a travel agent, which appears to have also been removed overnight following yesterdays initial story regarding the Gravelle’s and Herring. The profile detailed her work as a travel agent, but also had a group called “Travel with Tiffany” which showed Gravelle frequently traveling on lavish week long cruises over the last year and this year, sometimes multiple times a month. A post by Gravelle had also detailed a large number of upcoming cruises she was apparently scheduled on throughout 2022.
When asked if she had any explanation for a number of individuals familar with her ties to Herring and frequent cruises, Mrs. Gravelle deflected by claiming one of her cruises was, “paid for by the travel agency”. When asked about the name of the agency and what percentage of the cruises they were actually paying for, she declined to comment until she could speak with the attorney on Tuesday. However, Mrs. Gravelle’s had said earlier in her conversation with NW Horse Report that the attorney she was scheduled to speak with specialized in non-profit matters.
NW Horse Report also discovered that MG Equine Rescue & Therapy was not registered as an Animal Rescue Entity with the Oregon Department of Agriculture, and did not have a affidavit with a declaration that they are not subject to the requirements (ie. having less than 10 animals). The official noted that if the rescue does not have more than 10 animals within the care of their facility at any one time they do not fall under their scope of authority.
An official with the Oregon Department of Agriculture additionally stated that Herrings conviction of animal neglect would likely severely hinder or prohibit the organizations registration, at least while she’s a director, officer, staff member, or volunteer of the organization. The official also confirmed that they would still work with law enforcement and other agencies concerning those prohibited from possession of animals being involved with the rescue entities that don’t meet the 10 animal threshold, but confirmed such entities fall outside the authority of their agency.
In a final attempt in seeking any comment before press time, a phone call placed this evening to Mrs. Gravelle went unanswered. This article was later updated after Tiffany Gravelle contacted NW Horse Report shortly after this story’s original publication.