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What Happened to Hacienda de los Milagros?

Sometime in March or April 2012 (and I do still have the e-mail if needed) I received an e-mail from Cindy A. Morton of Phoenix, someone I did not know expressing support for HDLM, especially because it was a lifetime home. More supportive e-mails followed.

Late spring or early summer, Cindy Morton and Susan Kreager, someone else I did not know, made a short visit to HDLM, having been recommended by a friend who was part of Heart Walk of Sedona. Both professed to think it was a wonderful place. Cindy Morton actually posted three 5 Star reviews of HDLM on Great Nonprofits. Lisa Brothers, Susan Kreager, Denise Thifault and Madelon Hendel each posted one 5 star review.

Cindy Morton sent several e-mails informing me she knew many people she could get to donate to help HDLM (NONE actually did). She and Susan Kreager wanted to do a black tie fundraiser in Phoenix for HDLM, with HDLM potentially on the hook for several thousand dollars if it failed. Money HDLM did not have and could not afford to lose. They were going to have a retired Phoenix TV personality to be the draw. I felt we needed a huge draw to make this work, and contacted Kate Tweedy, daughter of Penny Tweedy (Secretariat’s person). I had the good fortune to hear her, and she was great. Unfortunately, she was not available and the event did not happen.

Cindy Morton never visited HDLM to meet all the animals and spend some time, nor did Susan Kreager, or any of the others who turned on HDLM. Denise and Madelon did, and knew better.

Cindy did ask me to take a burro, which she dropped off and left immediately, and then a horse, which was unloaded across the street where 2 other horses of HDLM’s were, and then she left. She wanted the horse, a very sweet TB gelding gone from her place because her trainer said “he was dangerous and would hurt someone”. Fact is the horse had a terrible sore back. No wonder he tossed the trainer. He was so sore, it was all he could do to stand with the most minor pressure of a finger. I called her and told her the issue, and also told her “your trainer is an asshole or an idiot, and you should fire him”. She never fired him. After she started saying what a horrible place HDLM was, she never took the burro back, nor the horse, until people started asking her “how can you leave a horse at this place you say is so terrible?” The horse, Hank,


was in much better shape when she got him back, none-the-less, she lied about his condition. The vet knew.

During early summer 2012, I got a call from someone named Lisa Brothers, who told me “I have been told you will always help someone who needs help”. She told me she had found a horse that had been reported loose just on the south end of the Grand Canyon for a few months. She and her husband were there, about an hour from the closest town, without a trailer. Could I come up with a trailer and load the horse? The water tanks were running dry, and the horse needed to get out. I got a friend, and off we went. Got the horse on the trailer, and I offered to let him stay the summer in an area at HDLM to minimize the great difference in temp between where he was and where the lived, in New River, AZ. They covered some of his feed. In late fall, he went to New River. Never once did she complain about anything at HDLM. She said it was great.

Lisa had told me she met Cindy Morton, and did not like or, nor would she work with her. After Cindy Moreton was elected to the HDLM Board, all of a sudden, there was Lisa. Cindy had a majority of the board. Then the lies started about me, including that I was violating IRS rules by not doing the books monthly. Books had to be done prior to filing the Federal 990. No rules states anything else, and we were a cash basis taxpayer. Cindy’s claim to significant nonprofit governance experience was pure BS. Google her in FL, and the groups she claimed she started there do not show up. What does is that she lost her RE license in FL., an involuntary surrender. Only law enforcement can find out what she did. In hindsight, the fact that not one of her supporters wanted to look at the By-Laws, Articles of Incorporation, or prior Fed 990’s should have sent a huge warning. They had an agenda, to get rid of me and destroy HDLM.

All the years HDLM existed, the books were done early the following year, as they only were used for the Fed 990. Despite the complaints from Lisa Brothers, there are no IRS Rules on this. Despite being removed from the board effective 12qw-2-12, I did the detailed financials for 2012, except for the donations. I was not allowed to do them. I was given adding machine tapes prepared by Denise and Madelon, one tape only, fore the 1200 some donations. The amount of the tapes was incorrect by over $7,000. If you take the beginning bank balance, add receipts, deduct expenses paid, the result must equal the ending bank balance and checks on hand not deposited.


Since I had done the expenditures, and checked off each item on the bank statements, I knew what the donation amount had to be. It was incorrect, and it is easy to see why one tape on over 1200 items could be off. None-the-less, I would not do the 2012 Fed 990 since I had not prepared the donation schedule. No one did the return for 2012 or 2013. Turns out, they did not keep duplicates of donor receipts for 2013!

After getting rid of me, Cindy Morton & friends failed to get board approval to give all the animals to Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue and shut down, so they resigned, and stared their hate website and continual lies and hatred. Unfortunately, there was some truth to a few things they said. Hooves were not kept trimmed, and Dawn Gonzales and

Bobette Harvic, added to the board after Morton 7 friends resigned (in writing, fortunately) were in fact starving the horses. Everything except grass hay was taken away, despite age or condition. In early March 2013, I was asked to come to the sanctuary (first time I was allowed since 12-2-12) because a TV Station was sending a crew to investigate, and no one on the board then could answer questions. I got there early to say hi, and was shocked b y what I found in the horse barn. Skinny, some worse than what they were when HDLM had taken them, hanging their heads waiting to die. Two people were with me, one sobbing and one looking for someone in charge to kill. At that time, I thought the board was just mistaken, and wanted to continue, so I let the horses out before the TV station crew arrived. I sent an e-mail to the 4 board members, 2 of whom had not seen the horses. Noel Breen was 4+ hours away, and did not have experience in horse care. Karen Hanks, formerly know as Karen peters-Young, should have known, except she did not check on the animals despite being in or thru Chino Valley several times a week, because “she did not feel welcome there”! A board member who didn’t feel welcomed, so to hell with the animals! I threatened to go to the authorities unless immediate steps were taken to get the horses back to health. For a few older ones, they never fully recovered! One had come to HDLM as a 30 something, with a body score of 2-, and I had her fat and happy when I left.

As a result of the condition of the horses, I was asked to take over animal feeding, much to the delight of the NACOG workers who had been threatened with their jobs if they told anyone what had been done to the horses. I got a donation to get all horse hooves,, and 1/3 of the burro feet trimmed. My feeding program got the majority of the horses back to good weight, and unfortunately, too soon for Animal Control to file cruelty charges.


One of the iconic burros was missing, a magnificent Jenny named The Golden One, who had come to HDLM from BLM in 2000 with a deformed right front leg. It did not cause her difficulty, or pain, or prevent her from doing anything the others did, and she wanted to stay. Her daughter was there. Dawn Gonzales had sent her to out of Africa, a wild animal facility, to be killed, along with another burro, and fed to the big cats, because “she didn’t like the way she looked”!!! My contempt for Dawn Gonzales has not lessened one bit, evil &**(() that she is!! Turns out that she had signed paperwork for all the older horses to go as well, without the full board knowing about it. Fortunately that was stopped. Bobette’s husband Rhett was acting Director, and involved as well. Rhett, Bobette and Dawn were the only officials on site from the time I left in early January until I came back to help in early March. During that time, power tools, hand tools, accessories and hardware went somewhere else. Of course, they knew nothing, even though a person who worked for Rhett gave me a couple of wrenches back! I overheard a board members say money was missing, and then the 2 sides of the board had their attorneys prepare a secret agreement whereby Hanks and Breen got the checkbook, debit card, and financial records back from Harvic and Gonzales. I believe Breen was not party to this. Gonzales and Harvic were voted off the board after 3 more people were added.

Meanwhile, Morton & friends has set up a hate website in which they admitted they were FORMER board members. In late March, that website was taken down, and Cindy Morton executed a fraudulent deed, giving the property to Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue for $1! She also signed a fraudulent Amended annual Return at the AZ Corporation Commission claiming to be chair and President, and listing Christina Montana, Denise Thifault and Madelon Hendel as directors or officers, and a request to dissolve the corporation immediately.. In addition to Cindy Morton’s signature, signatures reporting to be those of Denise, Madelon and Christina were present. Denise’s husband Dennis told me they signed nothing, and Denise said they did sign under threat. Certainly a handwriting expert could solve that question. All parties had resigned in writing well before the deed and report. Neither Denise nor Madelon will speak to me now. Copies of the referenced documents follow this narritave.

TV 3 did not buy Cindy’s lies. Fox news let the viewer decide. Someone from Fox, wink wink, “forgot” the package of materials Cindy and friends had sent them, for me to see and share.


During the time I was away, only ONE funding solicitation was sent, and that was only to the e-mail list, which was 20% of the total mailing list, and it was bragging about cutting the feed costs in half (starving the horses) and with no herd reduction. Anyone with any experience knew that had to be bad. No one had a clue what to do, and no one asked. No fundraising.

The animal residents were screwed again. After hearing the board say they were going to dump the animals and close down, I left for the final time. Placement and loading, according to people who were there, was horrible. All the elder jacks were killed, even though 5 were fine, because they didn’t want to find them homes. Animals were abused. All were gone on June 4, the same day a fundraising newsletter went to the Post Office asking for help for the animals. NO ONE received a newsletter until all the animals were gone! Sound like mail fraud to you? Does to me.

The insurance expired on 6t-4-13, so that was why all the animals had to be gone. The house was rented, and the renters started a fire which destroyed the house, in a fireplace in a mobile home which had not been used in 21 years!! No one asked!!

Talk about even worse, from Morton to Hanks. A wonderful place destroyed by liars, crooks, and stupidity. Hanks final act was filing a fraudulent annual report, showing her address as the sanctuaries, when shed never lived there, and the house was gone, because she didn’t want anyone to know how to find her. The AZ Corp Commission dissolved the corporation again, and IRS pulled the exemption because returns were not filed. Property went into foreclosure, and was sold for no more than the new barn cost. The property was Barb and my home before we gave our interest to the nonprofit in 1999. We paid for the original barn and lots of the fencing. Our savings and my retirement went in to it. And haters and liars and crooks and lazy jerks lost it all. And the controlling AZ RE license board will not even hold a hearing to take away Cindy Morton’s RE Licenses (broker and seller) because no police agency filed a report! Chino Valley Police would not touch it “It is too hard” they said. The AZ AJ’s office did nothing for 13 months, then sent it to the Yavapai County Attorney’s office, where it was investigated, agreed that crimes were committed, yet no charges filed as of this date (8-20-15).

Some people asked me if this was personal by Cindy Morton to me. It might have become that, despite I know and cannot prove she was paid to do it, because:


  1. When she brought the horse to the sanctuary, I ran my hand ever so lightly, from the whethers down the spine, and the horse almost collapsed. He was that sore. I called Cindy to tell her, and suggested she fire her trainer (the one who said the horse was very dangerous). She was angry, and asked why she should do that, and I told her with a back that sore, and a trainer who could not tell, he was either an idiot, or an asshole, or both. She never fired the trainer.

  2. At her first board meeting she asked why we paid sales tax. I told herf in AZ we are not exempt. She asked why did some not pay it, and I said they might have signed an exemption certificate, and the seller accepted it. She said she would sign one to save the tax, and I said that would be fraud, and I would turn her in if she did.

  3. She said I called her stupid. Even though she is and was, I did not call her stupid.

I asked 2 reporters at the AZ Republic to investigate, one said too busy, and one never replied. I asked the Phoenix new Times, no reply. In all 3 instances, I sent copies of all documents. People who were long time donors, and had been at HDLM and knew better, just walked away. I suspect that Hanks and friends had as much to do with that as Morton & friends. The animals never had a chance.

The biggest donor made a lot of promises to me for Circle of one animal Sanctuary, none of which were kept. Donations, and even help getting a new location, nothing was done.

Those from the first group to destroy HDLM:

Cindy A Morton Denise Thifault

Lisa Brothers Maadelon Hendel

Susan Kreager Christina Montana

Susan Via

Next Group:


Karen Hanks, formerly known as Karen Peters-Young

Amanda Marsh (yes, that Amanda Marsh)

Peg Millet

Two local people had 2 very good opportunities to stop the madness and save HDLM, and did nothing.

And all those who didn’t care enough to learn the truth

Some 130+ animals lost their lifetime home. A few found good new ones. The rush to get them gone was for 2 reasons: (1) the insurance expired on June 4, 2013, and (2) Hanks was leaving to teach in Italy for the summer.

Most of the burros went to a middle man in AZ, Hoofbeats on the Heart, who merely took them to give to “Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue”. Total betrayal.

Dr. Karen Hanks is connected to Pat Parelli (famous horse trainer). Wonder what he will think of this.

For those who don’t know, Karen Hanks big plan for HDLM when she tried to get my job in 2010/2011 was to turn it into, her words, “the Disney Land of AZ”!! Very few animals, and those would be in petting areas, with the rest amusement things for humans, under the IRS 501(c)(3). She never did learn anything about what 501(c)(3)s could and could not do, or rules governing them.

Prepared by W. Wynne Zaugg

While Wynne was running HDLM, the sanctuary had 105 out of 105 Five Star reviews on www.Greatnonprofits.org. Cindy Morton and 2 friends of hers added (the newest ones on the list) 3 lousy reviews, just to add trash. Cindy Morton, earlier that year, had written 3 reviews, all 5 star. If you are interested in truth about HDLM, please go to Great Nonprofits, go to the list for H, and you will see all the reviews for Hacienda de los Milagros. Thank you for caring!