LOS ANGELES (CN) - A German shepherd shelter claims in court that donors used their multimillion-dollar contributions as leverage to control it, then cut off funding because they believed they "did not receive enough credit and attention."
In December 2012, the Ronald and Catherine Gershman Foundation sued Robin Jampol and the Westside German Shepherd Rescue of Los Angeles (WGSR), claiming Jampol misused $2 million of their $4.7 million donation.
In that Superior Court complaint, the Gershmans say they are dog lovers who gave their time and money to transform WGSR into a professional charity, including renting and refurbishing a new facility on Pontius Avenue.
The Gershmans praised Jampol's dedication to helping dogs but said she managed WGSR so poorly they had to take over temporarily. When they returned control to her, they claim, she failed to raise money and accepted more dogs than the shelter could care for.
The Gershmans say they stopped donating because Jampol did not run WGSR professionally. They claim she took the equipment they bought for the Pontius facility and abandoned it.
WGSR filed in a cross-complaint this month, defending Jampol's management of the shelter. It says the Gershmans were more concerned with making money and getting attention than caring for dogs.
"Jampol has never taken a penny or other form of compensation from the Rescue or any of its donors, nor ever diverted or misused any of its funds or other assets," the cross-complaint states.
WGSR says Jampol founded it 10 years ago to rescue abandoned German shepherds and adopt them out to compatible families.
The organization has saved thousands of dogs thanks to Jampol's "direct, active, and tireless supervision," the cross-complaint states. "Had the Rescue not taken in those dogs, most of them would have been euthanized or left uncared for, or otherwise suffered horrible fates."
Jampol and the other volunteers at WGSR were unpaid and worked mostly part-time, the organization adds.
It says the Gershmans started volunteering at the shelter and making donations in 2009, without being asked. They believed so much in the cause that they offered to financially support the shelter through their foundation, according to the cross-complaint. WGSR claims the Gershmans leased the Pontius Avenue facility on its behalf, hired architects to remodel it, and drew up a grant promising, among other things, to pay the rent, property taxes and parking.
When Jampol "expressed concern" about whether WGSR could afford to stay in the Pontius facility, the Gershmans promised "in writing" to donate an additional $500,000 each year beyond their obligations in the grant, the cross-complaint states.
While Ronald Gershman claimed he had to serve as WGSR's executive director because Jampol was not interested in the job, Gershman allegedly "appointed" himself to the position and used his powers as executive director to assume control of the shelter's finances.
WGSR says that, given the grant agreement and the Gershmans' promises of support, Jampol believed the shelter would be able to stay at the Pontius facility for some time. "Shortly after" moving in, however, her relationship with Ronald Gershman allegedly soured when they disagreed about adoption fees for a dog.