OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) - For the first time, the embattled founder of a North County nonprofit Mustang horse rescue is speaking on camera with 10News about accusations that she stole crucial donations from the rescue. 10News aired its initial report two weeks ago. At the time, Equinox Horse Rescue founder Sandrine Linglet declined to comment or offer a statement. She has since changed her mind. 10News investigative reporter Jennifer Kastner met with her this Monday.
“I have nothing to hide. Nothing,” she told 10News. Linglet is facing allegations in civil court that she suddenly walked away from the nonprofit with most everything the horses needed to survive. “You've been accused of stealing from the charity's funds. Is that true?” we ask. “No. No, it's not,” she replies.
Equinox’s new president is Scott Rehn. He was interviewed in 10News’ initial report, where he admitted that he believed Linglet was hiding information after her sudden resignation. He believes that her actions substantially interfered with the nonprofit's ability to conduct day-to-day operations.
Equinox is suing her, accusing her, in part, of conversion by taking the charity’s property and donations for her own use. The lawsuit claims that items she kept for personal use include bank statements, tax records, horse titles, a horse trailer, PayPal account information, website information, donated apparel, saddles, bridles, blankets and so on. “She shut down the social media [accounts] immediately. She shut down the website. Those are all the main source of funds to pay for the vet visits, to pay for the hay, to pay for anything and everything these horses need,” added Rehn in our initial story.
“I have proof that the rest of the money is [in] my attorney's trust fund. I have a cashier's check to prove that. I have never [taken] a dime,” she tells 10News. She shared with us a copy of what appears to be that check, along with a Facebook message she sent that appears to show that she turned over the rescue’s website password information. Linglet also showed us other documents to aid in her defense, like a copy of the title to a horse trailer that she says proves that the trailer is hers.
Linglet tells 10News that she had resigned from Equinox because of threats, insults and hostility from Rehn and his wife, Jennifer. As an example, she says that Jennifer Rehn would use her index and thumb fingers to mimic a gun and shoot it at Linglet when she’d see her in the neighborhood.
Linglet explains that she didn’t show up on the date she had planned to return some of the nonprofit’s items because she retained counsel. She says her counsel advised her against going to the meeting to hand everything over. She adds, “My attorney told me, ‘You're not going anywhere. Now you're represented.’”
All of Equinox’s horses were eventually taken in by another local nonprofit, ResQue Ranch in Escondido. Ranch manager Michelle Bearer says there was a red flag when she met Rehn.
“He kept telling us that he would require $500 for legal fees and I said, “It's not our business to pay for legal fees. We're in the rescue business.’”
Linglet says there was another red flag. She shared a bank statement. It shows that after she resigned, three payments of $500 were transferred from the nonprofit to Pacific Suncoast Management, Rehn’s wife's personal company. Rehn later explained to 10News that the transfer was the only way that the nonprofit could immediately access resources to pay for the feed and stable rent, and it was all done legitimately and with the oversight of their attorney.
As for the Bearer's claim that Rehn demanded money for legal fees, Rehn clarified that the nonprofit was in dire straits and it was never a demand.
He and his wife also deny that they ever made violent threats against Linglet.
“They must be really sad in their own life to ruin someone else's life, someone else's legacy and dream,” Linglet adds.
Linglet filed a motion to dismiss the case against her. The hearing is this Friday.