BLM Doesn’t Accept EWA Conclusions About Board Member

By Steven Long

Photo by BLM   

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The Chicago based Equine Welfare Alliance issued a press release Monday alleging a Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board member, Robin Lohnes,  may be working behind a shell organization to bolster her position as an equine welfare advocate on that board.

“Lohnes is the executive director of the American Horse Protection Association (AHPA). The AHPA has no website and maintains only a small, unoccupied office

on the lower level of a Georgetown hotel,” EWA stated.  “If the organization has been involved in any activity (horse protection or otherwise) since the 1990’s they have managed to conceal it both from Google and from the hotel’s maid who told an EWA investigator that she had never observed anyone in the office.”

Horseback Magazine did a Google search for information on the organization and confirmed the findings of EWA. The magazine then asked  BLM chief Washington spokesman, Tom Gorey, if the agency was investigating the animal welfare organization’s allegation regarding Lohnes and her group.

“Simply put, the BLM does not accept your contentions about this organization,” was Gorey’s reply.

Horseback Magazine made no contentions about Lohnes or her organization, yet in an interview with her earlier in the year the board member claimed her organization was legitimate and had thousands of members. At that time we confirmed what EWA recently found. An office in a Georgetown hotel sat vacant and was not used although Lohnes name as well as the name of the American Horse Protection Association was on the door.

Horseback asked EWA Vice President Vicki Tobin to again confirm her organization’s recent findings.

“I just called the hotel where her “office” is located,” she said. “I said Iwas going to be visiting DC in the near future and wanted to visit the AHPAoffices but haven’t been able to get in contact with them.

I asked if the lower level office was still there and she (the hotel official) said yes, but there is rarely anyone in the office and to make sure I contact them because if I just stop by, chances are nobody will be there.”

“In the 80s and early 90s AHPA was a huge advocate for the horses,” Tobin continued. “Obviously, things have changed.”

“Clearly Lohnes got control some how and left the organization in cold storage so she could play on its old reputation,” said EWA President John Holland of Virginia. ” But that only works for a short time.

Sooner or later someone is going to notice the corpse isn’t breathing.”

The office is located at 1000 29th St. NW.

For an organization with such a low profile, the AHPA appears to be well funded. In its most recent IRS filing required of non profit cheritable organizations, the group had assets of $985,848 and income of $1.417,718 for 2008.

Lohnes appointed four academics to determine if BLM “gather” procedures were humane. The group, some longtime supporters of horse slaughter, gave the agency a clean bill of health. In 2009 BLM discussed euthanizing thousands of wild horses because it’s program of captureing them was out of control and over budget. But the discussions were leaked to the Associated Press which did a story. A firestorm of protest erupted among wild horse advocates and the horse loving public.

The agency shelved the proposals.

“If the observers think butchering a live horse is humane, they certainly wouldn’t find fault with the BLMs handling of wild horses.” Tobin said.

Horseback also spoke with the EWA investigator who originally went on site to determine if Lohnes’ organization staffed a viable office.

“This is exactly what the person behind the hotel desk told me when I went to see her,” said the investigator who declined to be identified. “There are no posted hours outside the door and there was no one in the office.

There was one light on in the office. It looks like a hotel room was converted to an office because the basic layout is what you would see in a hotel room and there is a bathroom. The front part of the office (the only part I was able to see) had pictures of Robin on horses and there was one empty desk with a small desk lamp.  On either side of the door is a large window and the door was locked with no sign that anyone would return to the office.”

Horseback Magazine’s questions to the BLM spokesman, Gorey, were journalistic, reasonable, and polite. We said:

“In light of the issue raised by the Equine Welfare Alliance regarding BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Member Robin Lohnes organization – what is the agency doing to verify the information in the release they sent out and that we printed. FYI, months ago I received the same information they used from a source independent of them and confirmed that her offices is really just a shell, or mail drop, and is never used.  My confirmation came from sources within the building. Further, I had highly respected and trustworthy investigator go to the building and confirm what was reported. I didn’t do the story on this months ago because I was just too busy to get to it. Further, I’m pretty well connected in the equine community and can’t find anybody who has crossed paths with Lohnes or her organization in a very long time other than one horse rescue organization that said in a blog post they had received a questionnaire. Lohnes purports she is the head of a 10,000 member equine welfare organization. When I interviewed her months ago she was sketchy in the information she was willing to provide to me regarding her membership and funding. I have never heard of a single person who is a member.”

We continued in our note to Gorey, “So the question is this. If this organization is bogus, as it appears, is BLM investigating? Has homeland security been called in? Is the director considering asking for her resignation from the board? As you know, if this continues to check out it will reflect badly on the administration and there tends to be a domino effect when things like this surface. Has the White House been notified of EWA’s findings? Has BLM received instructions in the matter from Pennsylvania Ave?”

Gorey would not respond Horseback’s  questions regarding Lohnes’ organization.

“We continued, asking, “Also, the EWA is claiming that some of the handpicked experts Lohnes chose and you named in your press release are longtime horse slaughter advocates.

In light of Abbey’s attendance and speech at the upcoming Vegas event will BLM now acknowledge that despite its stated prohibition to slaughter it in fact supports the slaughter of wild horses?”

Gorey responded saying, “The BLM does not support the slaughter of wild horses, as made clear by Director’s statement at http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/newsroom/2010/december/NR_12_03_2010.html

Our inquiry continued saying, “Finally, I continue to hear of unbranded wild horses being taken from BLM lands and ending up in slaughter auctions. Is BLM doing anything to police its contractors and truck drivers to determine if there is trafficking in stolen government property (horses) going on?

“If you have any evidence whatsoever that wild horses are being stolen from BLM-managed public lands, please provide that information to the BLM and our law enforcement rangers will look into it.”

Horseback Magazine has recently been informed that BLM rangers have un-holstered their weapons in the presence of wild horse advocates and threatened them.

BLM has consistently refused to call in outside law enforcement organizations or observers.

19 comments for “BLM Doesn’t Accept EWA Conclusions About Board Member

  1. Jan Schultz
    December 15, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Ms. Lohnes will issue a statemnet after her advising team has take a good long look at the story they came up with so everyone is on the same page. Promise. I am ashamed to say that one of the vets on the team of observers is from our local UC Davis, a school I have been proud of for their ethics and devotion to the horse for years. Their Day of the Horse was a resource unlike any other. Now, it is a moneymaker the school hypes and now I see why – they are after the almight buck too. Hypocrites.

  2. Nancy Smoller
    December 11, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    I want to knwo what it’s going to take tostop the BLM? O’ve been writting letters, e-mailing, etc. for years, and they still think they can do whatever they and their special interest groups urge them to do.

    I know how the US government can save lots ofmoney. Close down the BLM.

    • Jan Schultz
      December 15, 2010 at 7:30 am

      No civil servant is interested in saving money, that means less money for him/her. We’re the taxpayer, we have our money taken from us – sometimes with extraordinary penalties – in order to fund these escapades. So we have to break tha tie or at least modify it.

  3. susan martin
    December 10, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    When will the lying,deciet and unspeakable cruelty end??when the last vestiges of the wild hoses and burros are in front of the bolt gun??? I have a sort of crazy,off-the-wall notion of forming a posse of expert (and extremely courageous)riders,such as myself riding with the herd as they are being rounded up/run to death.I realize this sounds wack-o,but I would be willing to do it,without fear ,if it meant saving one horse.

  4. December 10, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    GREAT REPORTING!

  5. windgust
    December 10, 2010 at 6:58 am

    So WHO and WHEN will investigate this fraud woman Lohnes ??? Do the lies ever end ? Or the evasiveness of government, when asked questions ? Gorey refused to have a comment on the incident with the helicopter touching a horse… I guess they are excempt from FAA rules as well. Heck they resemble a clan of Godfather alikes – with such funding is it any wonder they buy out their “humane” observers who are in fact puppets on the strings of BLM corruption.
    This must be exposed nationwide – Lohnes’ throne must be dismantled now – and Gorey and the PR head honchos quit hiding from the truth.

  6. December 10, 2010 at 12:41 am

    Time for Robin to make a public statement as she will be investigated until we know who and what she is all about. mar

  7. Boswell
    December 9, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Every BLM Board members’ affiliation and background should be published and checked for authentification, ASAP!

  8. December 9, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    OUR WILD HORSES DESERVE TO BE FREE FROM ANY HARM! The idea of “THREATS,” being made by the BLM angers me! ! ! THANK HEAVEN for all the brave and caring advocates out there going to bat for our horses and burros!~

  9. Morgan Griffith
    December 9, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Funny I’m not hearing ANYTHING from those that love to support the BLM concerning this story. Even the BLM, as Steve points out, can only issue the government version of the Mom-line “because I said so”. Perhaps if we anyone would have an address for Ms. Lohnes we should write to her and politely suggest that she should resign and take her minions with her.

  10. Laura Houston
    December 9, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    May be worth a call to the IRS to discuss fraud. Won’t be the first or last person earning themself a income off donation fraud.

    IRS number to discuss fraud- call the agency’s fraud hotline at 1-800-829-0433 for instructions.

    IRS website (they pay a reward!)

    http://www.irs.gov/compliance/article/0,,id=180171,00.html

    • December 9, 2010 at 11:42 pm

      Ha! Wouldn’t it be awesome if a whole bunch of horse lovers put the IRS onto the BLM and the ghost of the AHPA and did get the reward? And then funded the save the wild horses campaigns?

      Of course the IRS is a piece of the same government that is ignoring the issue, and the courts, even when they rule in the horses favor haven’t enforced.

      But still, I love the idea!

  11. Robin Bailey
    December 9, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    …oops, that should be “accountability”. Forgive the type-o!

  12. Robin Bailey
    December 9, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Steven, excellent article!! Mr. Gorey can attempt to dismiss the truth all he wants, but he and the BLM cannot hide from the facts. By refusing to address these proven allegations against Robin Lohnes and AHPA, he invites speculation from the American tax-paying public that BLM not only had knowledge of but also supported this act of fraud (IMO). I grow tired of the BLM’s constant claims of “we don’t support horse slaughter”. It rings so hollow in light of the fact they were exposed discussing this very option in 2009. No, the truth is not that they oppose slaughter, they are just legally forbidden to pursue this option first hand. And Mr. Gorey’s assurance that “BLM and our law enforcement rangers will look into” mustangs ending up in slaughter houses is just more fluff and posturing. He knows the truth, and so do we. Where are those missing mustangs that BLM’s recent report cannot account for? And what about those unbranded horses that have recently ended up in the auction lot at Fallon, NV, this year? Mr. Gorey and the BLM have a whole lot of explaining to do. Simply saying “the BLM does not accept your contentions” does not make them any less true. The American public wants honest answers and accoutability, not the brush off.

    Keep up the great work, Steven!!!

  13. December 9, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    I hope someone can photo the BLM rangers pulling their guns in the presence of wild horse advocates!

    • golde w
      December 9, 2010 at 11:52 pm

      The BLM handcuffed and cited a neighbor when the Challis 2009 round up was going on…for simply wanting to observe. The man they handcuffed is an upstanding citizen, who works with law enforcement agencies here in Idaho. They treated him like an ‘eco- terrorist”……we all know who the real terrorists are. If you want a full story on this..let me know……When I FOIA’ed the Info on the round up…the BLM lied in their report.

      • Christie
        December 10, 2010 at 5:51 am

        Golde W.

        If there are specific details that you could supply regarding the Challis 2009 round-up that contradict the BLM’s official report, it would be helpful for you to go to the Department of Interior’s Inspector General’s hotline and report this event. If the BLM lied about what happened, they have committed fraud, and it should be reported to the IG. At some point, the numbler of incidents when the BLM has lied and committed fraud will reach a tipping point. I do not know if the man you refer to is willing to file a complaint himself, but if you have obtained the BLM’s report and it is not what he experienced, he may very well want to file a report. You do need details, and the closer you are to the incident the more credible your testimony. Please consider.

        • golde w
          December 10, 2010 at 5:08 pm

          The man who was hand cuffed was with 2 other people..The BLM “guard” at the road where the staging area for the round up that day, was a sleep at the wheel. So my friends drove right on in…when they asked him how he got in..my friend said the “guard” was asleep. In the report I FOIA’ed…..they said my friend “sped” by the “guard”……and came on in….which was of course a lie. There are more lies in this report…and ommissions…I was there..it is my “backyard”…

  14. APony
    December 9, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Follow the money

Comments are closed.