Fifth Third Bank is taking another prominent Thoroughbred owner to court for allegedly defaulting on loans.
In the past six months, Fifth Third has sued top Thoroughbred owner Ahmed Zayat and owner/trainer Cash Asmussen, in both cases alleging defaults on loans.
In the latest case, filed on May 20 in Fayette Circuit Court, the bank sued Stonewall Farm Stallions and farm owner Audrey Haisfield, her son Marc Haisfield and a group of related business entities for $14.8 million in loans.
On Tuesday, paperwork was scheduled to be filed for the bank to foreclose on the Versailles farm's bloodstock and appoint a receiver to handle selling off the collateral, according to John Hamilton, attorney for Stonewall and the Haisfields.
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Audrey Haisfield is named as guarantor for $14.85 million in loans to Stonewall and associated business groups, including NeverTell Farm and Palm Beach I; Marc Haisfield is named as guarantor of $1.06 million in loans to Palm Beach I.
Hamilton said the farm is not closing its doors but has decided to get out of the broodmare end of the business, and weeks ago it went to the bank about handing over the collateral.
"We had actually approached the bank about setting up a dispersal sale of the broodmares that they have here on their farm," Hamilton said. He said they were finalizing the papers when Fifth Third filed the suit. "I don't know why you fight for something somebody's trying to give you," he said.
Fifth Third attorney Craig Robertson said the bank would have no comment on the suit.
According to the court documents, the collateral includes Grade I winners Jostle and Nonsuch Bay, and dozens of other broodmares and unnamed young horses.
The farm stands six stallions, including turf champion Leroidesanimaux, who stands for $15,000, and A.P. Warrior, who stands for $10,000. Stonewall's Ocala, Fla., division stands five stallions; the Florida farm recently pensioned Marquetry, sire of two Breeders' Cup champions.
Last June, Stonewall sold its majority interest in Medaglia d'Oro, sire of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, for a rumored $40 million to Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum's Darley operation in Lexington.
The Fifth Third suit is the latest legal trouble for Stonewall and the Haisfields. According to the Daily Racing Form, a Pennsylvania bank sued Stonewall and Audrey Haisfield in November, alleging default on $15.2 million in loans.
In March, a group of stallion shareholders sued the farm in Woodford County Circuit Court, alleging that they were owed income from six shares in Medaglia d'Oro's 2009 stud fees.
Those cases are pending.