(Private page--no internal links from business site.)
This page is for those who feel they cannot help us get back our stock trailer because “there are 2 sides to every story”.
On the writing of truth:
If you don’t know where to start, remember that every single thing that has happened to you is yours, and you get to tell it.
If people wanted you to write more warmly about them, they should have behaved better.
~~Writer Anne Lamott
Here is my side, and his side can be gotten from him, Danny Atkinson—you can easily find him on Facebook—or phone 951-742-9349--or email or (I don't know which works because he refuses to answer me)
I can tell you already that he will present the narrative that the embezzlement was justified because we "owed" it to him. You can decide.
Despite the story that follows, when Danny chose to leave me and Western Trails in late 2018 (his choice—I was 100% devoted, a choice I made in 2013 and adhered to unconditionally, through hell and high water), I was willing and ready to just put everything behind me and move on and never have contact again. By September 2019 I had regained my health and sanity and was busy moving retired horses “out to pasture” in Montana to enable their retirement fund to be sustainable.
Then we found out he had embezzled our essential horse trailer back in 2015 when I was totally incapacitated by chemotherapy. In 9/2019, he hid at a neighbor’s house while he sent a Sheriff with the title to “claim it”. It was a complete surprise and a shock, and more than a little depressing to find out he was already plotting against us back in 2015 when I trusted him completely and totally. I guess he finally gave up on his expectation and hope of me dying of cancer and decided to cease his false front and just claim his golden parchute.
I have begged and begged Danny to let us handle this privately, for him to just do the right thing, to not have to involve other people, to not have to bad-mouth each other that way. Unfortunately, he refuses to communicate in any way or work with me at all. And I really, really need help from other people. I’m exhausted. The trailer is essential to saving these horses.
You need to understand why he was not justified in taking the trailer.
In early 2013, my family had a thriving horseback riding family business—owned by son Trevor, managed by me, labor shared by all of family, built up over 5 years of blood, sweat and tears—LOTS of sweat.
(Side note: Danny’s sister’s narrative of it being some kind of “failure” that he “saved” is ridiculous, since the Gross had been increasing yearly. Any lack of savings in the bank at the time was because everything was plowed right back into building the business for at least 5 years, and it grew in Gross Income every single year, from 0 to about $250,000. Guess she didn’t understand how small businesses grow.)
Then we lost the essential ingredient—that miracle location I had developed—because Danny didn’t want to move his many vehicles stored on the property, and it really p.o.’d the landlord. He gave our turn-key operation over to a minor competitor.
It has never recovered from that, nor could it ever. It survived through the 2014-2015 years and grew a little due to two people being involved rather than just me, and both working so well together--they shared the work and the benefits, just like in any “Mom and Pop” type operation--but even that didn’t “double” the income or growth and could not even sustain the business in the worse location, especially after Danny abdicated in late 2016. (After that, he was gone much more than there.)
Now, I had started out with a thriving business and ended up with nothing but a liability, tens of thousands in debt and with the heavy burden of the responsibility of 30+ horses, yet Danny thinks he is “owed something” from the time he spent involved (on top of the years of room, board, expenses, horse usage, etc, etc)—that he should have been leaving with some kind of wealth that I sure never "got".
I cannot follow that rationale, given the story, how things started and how they ended up and all that his involvement cost me and the horses. If you do, that’s up to you.
But there is also even a little more to the story. In addition to joining a thriving business and leaving it in a wreck, he caused us some unusual “expenses” over those years:
~~Several hundred dollars for the birthday party 3/2015 at Toby Keiths for like a hundred invited people he didn’t show up for.
~My laptop computer--$600—he smashed and destroyed in anger that night while I was at “his” birthday party (anger at me, for him not showing up?).
~~A precious gift from my son—a huge, expensive monitor worth many hundreds I let him use—he smashed and destroyed in anger.
~~Many hundreds, or more--ALL the initial and ongoing costs of his dogs for several years
~~$15,000 of business money he lost in an ebay tractor purchase wire transfer scam, which I minimized to not hurt or embarrass him, and never held over him—my only sadness at the time was him not getting the tractors he wanted.
~~$400 robe gift for Dick, his stepfather.
~~$3000 put in “his” locked garage for safekeeping while we went to Colorado. Never returned.
~~$300 kept for safekeeping our last weekend together. Never returned.
~~$500 Bed for his sister Cindy. Never paid for.
~~Countless cash payments for rides he kept and didn’t turn in.
~~$500 Auger for “mom”. kept
~~All the stuff we bought for WT but taken to his many storage units every time he stomped off mad and never brought back—we just had to re-buy, especially all tools.
~~$2000 auto he bought with WT money (because he wouldn’t let me repair the business truck).
I could go on, but those are just the things that spring to mind without researching expenses.
I welcome now a list from him of the things I “did to him”. Much easier to make a list of things I “did FOR him” every day we were together.
Yet, he now justifies to himself, his family, our previous common friends, and anyone else he can con, his embezzling of the business horse trailer, taking another $14,000 as a “golden parachute” that neither I, the business, nor the horses ever got.
So there is one side of the story. You can get the other side from him.