Longtime Friend On Maria Borell: 'She Is Stopping At Nothing' - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Longtime Friend On Maria Borell: ‘She Is Stopping At Nothing’

“The whole thing just breaks my heart,” says Amanda Burke (right) about Borell

The list of people looking for former trainer Maria Borell keeps getting longer.

On Tuesday, various news outlets reported that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Mercer County Fiscal Court sued Maria Borell and her father, Charles Borell, seeking legal ownership of the 43 horses a state veterinarian said were abandoned and in various stages of neglect at a Mercer County farm leased to the Borells. The suit also wants the Borells to pay the $20,000 the state said it has spent taking care of the horses in the last three months.

Charles Borell has been arrested and charged with 43 counts of second-degree animal cruelty, a misdemeanor. A labor relations arbitrator from New York, he was released on bail and has a court date next week. Serving him with the lawsuit papers should be a relatively easy matter.

His daughter is a different story.

Maria Borell's whereabouts are unknown. There is a warrant for her arrest on the same 43 counts of animal cruelty, but because the alleged crime is a misdemeanor Kentucky officials are not able to extradite her if she is found.

But process servers are also looking for her, hoping to hand her papers from a recent lawsuit filed against Maria Borell by the South Florida veterinary firm Teigland Franklin and Brokken for defaulting on payments of $7,974.74 for services rendered earlier this year. Another South Florida business, Finish Line Feeds, is expected to sue over a bad check she allegedly wrote to them for $484.78 (with treble damages she would have to pay $1,939.12 if a judgment is made against her).

In Florida, it is a crime to write checks that have non-sufficient funds.

This wouldn't be the first time Maria Borell stiffed someone on money owed or bounced a check.

Earlier this year, while in Concord, N.C., Borell signed a court-ordered settlement with Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., agreeing to pay the $15,191.14 she owed for veterinary services rendered in 2013-14. Payments of $250 were to begin in July and the full amount was to paid by the end of 2017. Under the terms of the agreement, Borell would pay off the debt sooner if she prevailed in her breach of contract and defamation lawsuit against Jim and Linda McIngvale, but that case is in limbo as her former attorney quit because Borell would not respond to his questions.

Then there was her 2010 bankruptcy when Borell listed a bounced check to Southern States in Georgetown, a vet services judgment to Melinda Sharp, DVM, and another unpaid bill from Rood and Riddle among her creditors. She was required to complete a financial management course as part of that settlement.

So where is Maria Borell?

The Paulick Report has received anonymous messages that she was spotted recently driving her white Chevrolet Silverado pick-up with Florida plates in Camillus, N.Y., just west of her family's home in Syracuse. Another had her in Williston, Fla., near Ocala, Fla., where she worked briefly last winter after losing her job as private trainer for the McIngvales, the day after their champion horse Runhappy won the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

In January, Borell found work in South Florida as a trainer for Drawing Away Stable and was based at a training center adjacent to the former Calder Race Course (now Gulfstream Park West). She was fired by that outfit in mid-May, just as reports about the deplorable condition of horses at the Borells' leased Kentucky farm began circulating on social media.

Amanda Burke, a childhood friend who was with Maria Borell when Runhappy won the 2015 King's Bishop at Saratoga and the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Keeneland, said Borell called her on May 17, saying she was on her way to Kentucky and wanted to stop in and say hello to Amanda and her husband, David, at their home in Concord, N.C.

Borell with her father Charles at last year's Breeders' Cup
Borell with her father Charles at last year's Breeders' Cup

Seven weeks later, Burke said, after Borell claimed to have “squatter's rights” and refused to leave, she and her husband threw Borell out of their house after Amanda Burke's sister called the Concord Police Department.

“Her dog bit my son and we said, 'You have to leave,'” Amanda Burke said. “She said, 'I've been here long enough, you can't kick me out.' She said we'd have to evict her.”

Burke thinks Borell returned to New York, but at one point said she called a man in North Dakota named Leo Kuntz, who runs a horse ranch there, asking if he was willing to take in a “runaway.”

It was during her stay at the Burkes' home that a story by Margaret Ransom at USRacing.com was published, bringing to light the condition of the horses at the Mercer County farm leased by the Borells, and the subsequent criminal charges were brought against them.

“She sat on the couch and screamed and yelled at people,” Amanda Burke said. “She claimed the pictures (of emaciated horses) were fraudulent. She tried to figure out how to make Margaret Ransom's life miserable. She would actually Google things like 'free ways to mess with people.' She had no money and borrowed $1,000 from one of our neighbors and promised to pay him back.”

Burke, who met Maria Borell while both had a horse at the same barn in Syracuse and became close friends with the Borell family, said she was asked to claim that six of the horses at the Mercer County farm belonged to her so the Borells wouldn't lose possession of them.

“Her dad offered to pay for the lawyer to say I was the owner, and I refused to do it,” Burke said. “I emailed (Kentucky state veterinarian) Rusty Ford and let him know that if anything says I'm an owner, it is fraudulent.”

Maria Borell's plan, at the time, Burke said, was to get a farm in North Carolina and bring the horses there.

“This whole thing is 100 percent Maria's fault,” said Burke. “Her dad has no knowledge of horses. Why would you leave someone who doesn't know anything about horses to take care of them. I feel like she's almost running a Ponzi scheme. These horses didn't have food. When she was at my house, she was calling every farrier she could to try and get them to help her. Her dad was not the one who asked for this. He lost everything for her.

“Maria is a sociopath,” she added. “She has no empathy or feelings for anyone whose lives she has ruined. This girl was my best friend for 20 years, best friends since we were kids. She is stopping at nothing to blame everyone for her stuff.”

Last week, Burke and her husband were visited by the local Department of Social Services, which said someone had filed a claim accusing them of not taking care of their children properly.

Amanda Burke is convinced Borell made the false accusation.

“Based on the accusations there were things that only she would know,” Burke said. “She is angry at me and did this in retaliation, slandering me and putting my 11-year-old daughter through something like this, having to be questioned by Social Services.”

The Burkes were cleared of any improper behavior.

“This whole thing just breaks my heart. I loved her. She was like my sister. Anyone who knew us, knew it was 'Maria and Amanda.' But I'm not going to be a liar and perjure myself for her.”

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