Monday, March 26, 2007
Help Me Howard: Horse Fight
It's a horse story that started as a love story, and ended with a broken heart and a battle over the horse. Two people each saying, "I own that filly." Two people refusing to give in. Was it a gift horse or a misunderstanding? To find out they turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- Andrew Caksackkar: "She is trying to figure out what the camera is."
When Andrew would get off work every day he would head straight to the stable to see Summer.
Patrick Fraser: "You like this horse?"
Andrew Caksackkar: "Love her."
A horse, of course, but now, of course, the question: Whose horse?
Andrew Caksackkar: "When the horse was first born they were going to sell her because they didn't want to keep her, and Melanie and her mom thought it would be a good idea to give her to me."
Melanie was Andrew's girlfriend. After she brought up the idea of giving Andrew the horse, Andrew says her mother Susan, who owned Summer, said, "OK."
Andrew Caksackkar: "She said it was a great idea to give the horse to me, and she told me herself if I wanted it, I can have her."
Andrew then started paying to feed the horse, $275 a month to board her, and he even trained her.
Andrew Caksackkar: "It's time consuming because you have to be out here everyday with them."
But this horse tale took a twist when Andrew broke up with Melanie. She was not happy.
Patrick Fraser: "So the love has gone out of your relationship with her?
Andrew Caksackkar: "Oh, yeah."
And the day they broke up, the fight over this young filly broke out.
Andrew Caksackkar: "Her mom turned around and said, 'I never gave her to you.'"
Simply put, Andrew says his former girlfriend and her mother gave him the horse. The mother says, 'No, I didn't.'
Patrick Fraser: "Do you have anything in writing that shows it's your horse?"
Andrew Caksackkar: "No."
Patrick Fraser: "Do they have anything in writing that shows it's their horse?"
Andrew Caksackkar: "Nope."
That night after we left, Susan came and took Summer away. Andrew has no idea where she is but wants her back.
Andrew Caksackkar: "Stressed out, severely. It's on my mind."
All right, Howard, whose horse is it?
Howard Finkelstein: "This is a classic 'he said, she said' and after hearing from both sides, it's my opinion that a judge could rule either way and be right, and that's why both sides need to settle this."
I tried to get Susan and Andrew to settle it and failed.
That is when Jerry Tabas, a certified mediator, offered to try and bring the two sides together.
Jerome Tabas: "The benefits of mediation are that the parties decide for themselves what the outcome is going to be, as opposed to court where a judge or jury decides the outcome."
Jessica Lassman agreed to represent Susan at the mediation. Susan's point: Her daughter could not legally give the horse to Andrew.
Jessica Lassman: "Of course my client never ratified that as the owner of the horse, either orally nor in writing, and therefore anything that Melanie may or may not have said is not legally going to transfer ownership of this horse to him."
Andrew was joined by his mother, who has kept a record of the money he spent caring for Summer.
Mediations are confidential, but after three hours, the two sides failed to come to an agreement over the young horse. Howard though, says that does not mean the mediation was a failure.
Howard Finkelstein: "No, because mediation is a process that forces both sides to look at weaknesses and strengths in their case, and sometimes after thinking for a few days they finally reach a compromise."
Andrew though, does not sound hopeful. He told me he is ready to go to court, determined to win this horse race and get Summer back.
Andrew Caksackkar: "The horse was given to me. I didn't waste all that time being out here, training her and being with her for nothing."
Patrick Fraser: "Andrew, of course, wants Summer back, but, if not, he at least wants the money back he spent boarding and training Summer, and if they don't settle, he plans to go to court. He told me he is hoping a lawyer will step forward to help him."
Racing to buck a bad trend? Saddle up with us. We may not have any horse sense, but we have un-bridled enthusiasm.
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