Lorna Margaret ‘Muffie’ Guthrie and Jeff Brandmaier of Knightwood Stables, LLC, of Arkell, ON, have received a judgment against Eric Lamaze and defendants totalling $1,390,189.44 in the case of a pair of unscrupulous horse deals.
According to the details of the lawsuit, Lamaze sold the jumper Nikka VD Bisschop, which was 50% owned by the plaintiffs, to the (Mark and Tara) Rein Family, failing to disclose the sale to Jeff and Muffie and wrongfully retaining their profit from the transaction of over $1.3 million. The judgment issued by the Palm Beach County circuit court in Florida includes principal in the amount of $1,325,534.21 and accrued interest totalling $64,655.23. The pair are also entitled to recoup their attorneys’ fees which, will be determined at a later date.
In another element of the lawsuit, they claimed that in 2020 Lamaze falsely inflated the purchase price when they invested in Newberry Balia NL. They believed they were getting 100% ownership but later learned their ownership was not registered with the FEI. The plaintiffs claimed an agreement was reached to find a buyer, but that the defendants failed to do so and the horse returned to the US with an injury.
“Although justice was served, it is incredibly sad for the sport,” commented Guthrie. “I was disappointed that a forty-year relationship ended up in court.”
This closes the door on just one chapter in a number of long court battles involving the Olympic gold medalist. Lamaze had also been sued by several other parties including Robert Chad and his Stone Ridge Farm, which alleges that Lamaze didn’t faithfully execute a partnership agreement and failed to account for $1,000,000, and also a separate complaint for a horse deal gone wrong. Iron Horse Farm Inc., operated by Karina Aziz, filed a $500,000 lawsuit against Lamaze and Torrey Pines Stable over three horses that Lamaze sold to Iron Horse for Karina to compete, which Iron Horse claims were not of the quality represented by Lamaze. The case experienced several delays over the years due to Lamaze’s ongoing medical issues as a result of his brain cancer. In September of 2023, the Ontario Superior Court found that the 2008 Olympic gold medalist had fraudulently submitted forged medical documents to the court. As a result he has been suspended by the FEI for four years and is also on Equestrian Canada’s Not in Good Standing list.
Lamaze and his legal representatives have 45 days from the date of the Nov. 13, 2023 judgment to submit a fact information sheet, which is a a sworn financial statement the debtor must sign under penalty of perjury.
Lamaze did not respond to a request for comment.