Amateur dressage rider Alice Tarjan has filed a civil lawsuit against professional trainer Caroline Roffman alleging that Roffman misrepresented the sales price of a horse she sold for Tarjan, as was first reported by Dressage-News.com.
In Tarjanâ€™s suit, filed against Roffman and her business Lionshare Dressage LLC, in the Palm Beach County Circuit Court (Fla.), Tarjan, from Flemington, N.J., alleges that her horse Fabrege MF was actually sold by Roffman for $900,000 but that Roffman allegedly told Tarjan the horse sold for $300,000.
In the suit, Tarjan also alleges that in Nov. 2015, Roffman told her the horse sold for that amount to Peter Eeckman HorsesÂ in Belgium. Tarjan is claiming Eeckman never purchased the horse, but that she was instead sold for the $900,000 amount to U.S. rider Bethany Peslar of Everglades Dressage LLC, who was represented by Endel Ots, a former trainer at Roffmanâ€™s Lionshare Dressage. Tarjan alleges Eeckman served as a middleman for transferring funds and was given a portion of the sales price by Roffman to facilitate the sale to Peslar.
Tarjan is bringing five counts against Roffmanâ€”including breach of contract and violation of Floridaâ€™s unfair and deceptive trade practices actâ€”and seeking $500,000 in damages.
â€śDespite the contract, Defendants breached and deprived Plaintiff of its expectations pursuant to the contract by, among other things: 1) concealing the true sale price for Fabrege; (b) concealing the true buyer of Fabrege, and (c) retaining a commission and/or illegal profit from the sale of Fabrege in excess of the agreed upon ten percent (10%) commission.â€ť
A copy of the signed sales contract between Tarjan, the seller and Eeckman, the buyer, is attached to Tarjanâ€™s lawsuit. (You can read the full lawsuit here).
Before the sale, Tarjan competed Fabrege MF, a Hanoverian (Fidertanzâ€”Diora), in the 4-year-old division at the 2013 Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse Dressage National Championships (Ill.), where the mare placed sixth.
Roffman issued the following statement to the Chronicle via email:
â€śThe recent lawsuit filed by Alice Tarjan against Lionshare Dressage, LLC is disappointing.Â The facts alleged in the lawsuit are inaccurate, misleading and in many instances just plain wrong,â€ť Roffmanâ€™s statement reads. â€śUnfortunately, in business these days and in the horse world in particular, it is not uncommon for someone to file a frivolous lawsuit seeking to gain a tactical advantage.
â€śI am confident that after a Court looks at the facts and law governing the dispute, the lawsuit filed by Ms. Tarjan will be dismissed quickly,â€ť Roffmanâ€™s statement continues. â€śI would like to thank the Chronicle for being objective in getting both sides of the story. I will continue to focus on my family, my training, and going to work every day with a smile on my face.â€ť
Tarjan was reached and did not wish to comment further on the matter.