The RHL Group, Inc. (www.rhlgroup.com) today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a withdrawal of a complaint against its Chairman and CEO, Robert H. Lorsch, in connection with his philanthropic contributions to the Wildlife WayStation as its Best Friend, Financial Supporter and Director. The Notice of Withdrawal stated that, "Pursuit of this matter would not further the goals of The Animal Welfare Act." The Wildlife WayStation (www.wildlifewaystation.org) is a Los Angeles-based non-profit wildlife sanctuary founded by Martine Colette. Lorsch said that he hopes the resolving of this action will enable him to focus on raising money to call attention to the needs of legitimate charities working to protect and rescue animals of every species.
Lorsch, who serves as Chairman and CEO of MMRGlobal, Inc. (OTCBB: MMRF), was recently profiled in The Daily Beast about a million-dollar lawsuit brought on behalf of shareholders of MyMedicalRecords.com against "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star, Taylor Armstrong.
According to Lorsch, "I regard this as an example of Occupying Bureaucracy for the benefit of taxpayers who foot the bill for millions of dollars of waste in the form of USDA legal costs, travel to California and other expenses from the USDA's actions, while at the same time reminding everyone how important it is to care for all animals everywhere who suffer from neglect and illness."
The withdrawal of the complaint came less than one week after Lorsch filed a four million dollar Federal Tort Claim against the USDA following procedures required before filing a lawsuit for Malicious Prosecution and other possible claims. The claims came out of nearly five years of involvement and efforts helping the Wildlife WayStation, which included helping raise millions of dollars to get the wildlife sanctuary into compliance and keep it running for the benefit of the animals and the community.
On August 4, 2008 in a 52-page decision, Chief Administrative Law Judge Marc R. Hillson found that Lorsch did not commit any violations of the Animal Welfare Act, commenting, "In many ways, the government's case against Lorsch illustrates the maxim that 'no good deed goes unpunished.' He was trying to help an organization he had supported for some years to be able to continue its worthwhile function of serving as a sanctuary for animals who generally had no other places to go." (A video played during the trial with comments by Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2n_spCDwWc.)
The USDA appealed the Judge Hillson decision, after which Administrative Law Judge William Jenson on July 9, 2010 issued a final and binding denial of the investigating law enforcement officers' and the USDA's claims against Lorsch, finding that Lorsch was not liable for any actions of the Wildlife WayStation.
However, the USDA continued to prosecute a 2007 action for essentially the same claims in earlier actions with different dates. After nearly a decade and millions in costs, expenses and legal fees, the USDA finally, last month, settled with the Wildlife WayStation's Martine Colette for $5,000.
"I have been a sponsor and supporter of the Wildlife WayStation for nearly a decade," said Lorsch. "I was added to the USDA's lawsuit against the WayStation in an amended complaint simply because I questioned the motivations of inspectors, which I thought were unfair. At the expense of the lives of hundreds of animals, the USDA insisted on hiring a psychiatrist for a chimpanzee, which held up licensing and nearly shut down a home for more than 800 animals. So instead of spending thousands for food, the WayStation spent money buying coloring books for Sammy the chimpanzee, along with a therapist to color with."
Lorsch continued, "The record is clear that I had no liability in the 2003 complaint against the Wildlife WayStation, which was appealed and reaffirmed. However, the USDA must have believed they have a blank check to pursue claims against certain individuals at the expense of taxpayers such as myself."
The Wildlife WayStation for years has had to fight inspectors of the USDA in their mission to provide care for animals. The facility is still in danger of closing because of declining donor support in the face of the economy and the continuous litigation from the USDA.
"It would appear that in these difficult economic times, when our nation faces some of the greatest financial struggles in its history, why would our government allow anyone to allocate millions to pay for this type of a lawsuit? I hope anyone following this story will support the animals at the Wildlife WayStation this holiday season by giving a gift to www.wildlifewaystation.org," Lorsch added.
About Bob Lorsch
Robert H. "Bob" Lorsch is a Los Angeles businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is Chairman and CEO of MMRGlobal, Inc., a position he has held since 2005 when he launched MyMedicalRecords.com, Inc. MMR provides a suite of health IT products and services based on its proprietary patented technologies, including the MyMedicalRecords.com Personal Health Record for consumers and the MMRPro end-to-end electronic document management and imaging system for physicians, surgery centers and small hospitals. Additionally, MMR's MyEsafeDepositBox provides secure online storage solutions to the insurance, legal and financial services industries. Mr. Lorsch also heads up the business management and investment-holding corporation, The RHL Group, Inc. with diverse interests in e-commerce, entertainment production and natural products for pets. From 1994-1998, he was Chief Executive Officer of SmarTalk TeleServices, Inc., leading the company he co-founded through a successful public offering in 1996 and building it into one of the largest providers of prepaid telecommunications products and services in the world. Prior to that, he partnered with Pacific Bell Information Services to build a voice mailbox system that became part of the WinFax product offerings. In the 1980s, he built and headed Lorsch Creative Network, a full-service advertising and sales promotion agency specializing in marketing campaigns for national and international blue chip clients, including the ABC, CBS and NBC broadcast television networks, Campbell's Soup, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Marvel Entertainment, Northrop Grumman, McDonald's Corporation, and others.
Mr. Lorsch is currently a Member of the Board of Governors of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of D.A.R.E. America, and Member of the Board of the Sheriff's Youth Foundation. He also served on the Personal Health Record Steering Committee of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), whose membership is comprised of leaders in the field of healthcare information technology. For his philanthropy, he has received numerous honors and awards, including D.A.R.E. America's "Future of America Award," the Muscular Dystrophy Association's "Humanitarian of the Year Award," the Wildlife WayStation's "Paws of Fame" Humanitarian Award, and the Starlight Children's Foundation's "Golden Wish Award." He is a longtime supporter of science and technology and the California Science Center in Los Angeles, where the Robert H. Lorsch Family Pavilion stands as the gateway to the museum in Exposition Park. For his public spirit, Mr. Lorsch was awarded the prestigious "C" Flag Private Sector Initiative from the White House during the Reagan Administration for his work in raising millions of dollars for financing state and local earthquake preparedness education. His efforts for the cause have also earned him awards from the City and County of Los Angeles, the State of California and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Mr. Lorsch resides in Beverly Hills, California with his wife, producer and entertainment personality Kira Reed Lorsch.
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