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  • Donald V. Watkins

The Birmingham Cavalier “Rescuers” Are Howling

By Donald V. Watkins

©Copyrighted and Published on May 19, 2018


By all accounts, AZ Cavalier Rescue is a very reputable, ethical, Phoenix, Arizona-based Cavalier rescue organization. AZ Cavalier Rescue was started in 2006 by a group of people who love Cavaliers and found there was a growing need for a Cavalier Rescue in Arizona. The organization helps any Cavalier in need.  It will re-home Cavaliers or put them into foster care.

AZ Cavalier Rescue also takes in English Toy Spaniels and mixes. The organization has been known to pull small dogs off the euthanasia lists and place them in loving homes.   Even though its name says Cavalier, this organization tries to do what it can to help save any dog in need. 


Educating Its Supporters in the Cavalier Community


On Friday, AZ Cavalier Rescue posted on its Facebook page all six of my recent articles that featured Birmingham, Alabama Attorney Angie Ingram, Greater Birmingham Humane Society CEO Allison Black Cornelius, and their highly-publicized "rescue” of Lineville, Alabama breeder Terri Taylor Easterbrooks’ Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies and adult dogs at an auction held on November 22, 2014 in Wheaton, Missouri.

Angie Ingram and her fellow "rescuers” promoted the Missouri "rescue” operation on a GoFundMe website as a mission to "save” Easterbrooks’ Cavaliers. The "rescuers” were successful in raising a total of $268,000 for this cause through a well-planned GoFundMe campaign and a separate PayPal solicitation held on the day of the auction. They used the donor money to purchase Easterbrooks’ Cavaliers and some other dogs at the auction.


While planning the “rescue” operation, Angie Ingram and her “rescuers” called themselves the Cavalier Group of Greater Birmingham (“CGGB”). At the time, they also functioned as Cavalier Rescue USA’s Alabama coordinators and volunteers.


During the funding solicitation campaign headed by "rescuer” Brittney Wilk, the women of CGGB never disclosed that they intended to keep some of the highest price Cavaliers for themselves. They had promised donors that the "saved” Cavaliers would go into Cavalier Rescue USA’s respectable foster home program first. From there, the Cavaliers would be adopted to pre-screened, qualified families who sought them as house pets.

Instead, the "rescuers” cherry-picked the expensive Cavaliers they wanted, allocated these dogs among themselves, and adopted them to each other without any approval from Cavalier Rescue USA’s board of directors. The Cavaliers that were left over went into the foster home program. Afterwards, the "rescuers” disassociated themselves from Cavalier Rescue USA and later formed Cavalier Rescue of Alabama.


Remarkably, Angie Ingram and "rescuer” Christina Carnes took ownership of two Cavaliers that Ingram purchased from other buyers at the Missouri auction for a total of $24,200.00 using donor money.


“Rescuer” Lisa Thompson Goes Ballistic


After AZ Cavalier Rescue posted my six articles that exposed how the CGGB group had "gamed” the national Cavalier rescue community and worldwide donors, "rescuer” Lisa Thompson went ballistic on the Arizona Cavalier rescue group. “Those are one-sided blogs written for the purpose of supporting the defendants, by someone with zero credibility”, wrote Thompson. "Have you seen the lawsuit [filed by Angie Ingram on behalf of Lisa Thompson and six fellow 'rescuers' against seven 'whistleblowers' who raised accountability and transparency questions in the aftermath of the Missouri rescue]?”, Thompson asked. "Why not post it? It tells a very different, and factual, story. How truly irresponsible”, she lamented.


Lisa Thompson is a friend of Angie Ingram and Allison Black Cornelius. She is also a GBHS board member. In a very public display of disgust, Thompson made this post on AZ Cavalier Rescue’s Facebook page: "A reputable rescue does not behave as this one does. Bashing others, sharing 'paid' propaganda and supporting naysayers on a hate campaign who commit libel and bash rescue is just bad behavior.”


AZ Cavalier Rescue responded in a respectful manner as follows: "Lisa we haven’t bashed anybody. We just posted the articles for others to read and make up their own minds about the situation.”


Setting the Record Straight


It is time to set the record straight regarding Lisa Thompson’s false and misleading claims.

First, the so-called “one-sided” information that is presented in my news articles came directly from: (a) sworn discovery responses provided by Angie Ingram and her co-plaintiffs in their 2015 lawsuit against the “whistleblower” defendants; (b) public records from the Internal Revenue Service and Alabama Secretary of State on Cavalier Rescue of Alabama; (c) text messages, private Facebook messages from Lisa Thompson and her fellow “rescuers” to third parties and each other, and Facebook posts written by Lisa Thompson and other CGGB “rescuers”; (d) websites established and maintained by the CGGB “rescuers”; (e) affidavits signed by Allison Black Cornelius and Joey Kennedy; (f) the deposition testimony of Brittney Wilk; (g) public court records of the legal proceedings referenced in my articles; and (h) news accounts of the Missouri “rescue” that were generated by Angie Ingram and Allison Black Cornelius and published by their close friend, Joey Kennedy.


Second, I am not a dog owner. As such, I do not have “a dog in this fight”. I do not have to spin the Cavalier "rescue” story for anybody’s benefit. My loyalty is to truth and justice. I have dedicated my life’s work to both of these cherished values.


Third, it has always been difficult for my critics to dispute the detailed facts that are presented in my articles. Instead, they try to disparage my character and reputation. I call this a "kill the messenger" strategy. Here are a few examples of this strategy in recent years:


Former Alabama Governor and convicted criminal Robert Bentley tried this strategy when he ordered the Alabama Banking Department to target and harass Alamerica Bank and me (as the bank’s largest shareholder) after I published news articles exposing his shortcomings as governor in 2013 and his public corruption and martial cheating in 2015. The Banking Department dutifully complied with the governor's command.


Former Montgomery, Alabama federal judge Mark E. Fuller also tried this strategy after I published articles in 2014 that exposed his marital cheating and violent wife-beating conduct. Fuller was forced to resign from the federal bench in 2015 after a Court of Appeals judicial inquiry panel confirmed the findings in my news articles.


Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice and failed U.S. senatorial candidate Roy Moore tried this strategy after I exposed his lawlessness on the High Court. Moore unleashed his “Bible-thumping” campaign surrogates to attack my character and reputation on an unrelenting basis. Of course, Roy Moore is best known today as the reputed "child molester" who nearly won a U.S. Senate seat.


In 2016, I solved the July 19, 2005 murder of 19-year-old Army Private LaVena Johnson on a military base in Balad, Iraq and identified her murderer as former four-star general Kevin P. Byrnes. The Army labeled Private Johnson’s death a “suicide”. I used forensic evidence and military records to establish that Private Johnson was murdered. After consulting with President George W. Bush about Private Johnson’s death, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and top Pentagon officials decided to classify her death as a “national security” matter that could only be declassified with the written approval of the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After I published an exclusive series of investigative articles on Private Johnson’s murder in January and February of 2016 and “outed” General Byrnes as her murderer, the Pentagon and a powerful U.S. Senator tried to discredit me by getting the Washington, D.C. offices of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Internal Revenue Service, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and U.S. Department of Justice to launch a “blitzkrieg” of probes into my business and personal financial affairs.


Interestingly, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld fired General Byrnes from the Army on August 8, 2005. To this day, Private Johnson’s “suicide” investigative file remains sealed. The SEC, FDIC, and DOJ probes are ongoing. The IRS's probe of my annual tax returns from 2009 to 2014 ended with no additional taxes due.


The family of Terry Jackson “Sweet T” Bunn, Jr., the designated “suspect” in the 2015 Megan Rondini rape case aligned itself with a Montgomery, Alabama-based public relations firm named Matrix, Inc., and its CEO, Joe Perkins, in its attempt to discredit my reporting on this rape case. In November 2015, Matrix and Perkins filed a highly publicized “defamation” lawsuit against me. Matrix and Perkins also sponsored “Deadbeat Donald” billboards in Tuscaloosa and an Internet website under the same domain name.


Lisa Thompson is the latest attacker who has tried to discredit me in an effort to silence my journalistic voice. To date, none of her predecessors has been successful in their attacks.

For five years, I have written and published articles on matters of significant public interest ranging from the engrained culture of rape in our society to the growing problem of public corruption at all levels of government, and from the duplicitous and morally bankrupt conduct of “public officials” and “public figures” to our need to hold prosecutors accountable for their failure to prosecute cases against rich and powerful criminal suspects.

During this period, I have never sold advertisements to support my website or Facebook page. I have never been “paid” by any individual, special interest group, or political candidate to write a favorable or unfavorable article. Finally, I have never sought or received anything of value from any individual or organization that has been the subject of my articles.  My independent and transparent approach to investigative journalism has given birth to a large and growing audience that is hungry for truth in journalism.


Epilogue


Freedom of speech in America allows people like Lisa Thompson, Angie Ingram, Allison Black Cornelius, and others of their ilk to be completely wrong in their observations about my character and reputation. It also affords this group of women the freedom to keep spinning their misleading narrative about what really happened to Terri Taylor Easterbrooks and her Cavaliers.


At the end of the day, I am a “public figure”. I realize that America has given these women the freedom of speech to criticize me, as well.


In America, you have the right to be wrong about a “public official” and “public figure”. This is one more reason why America is the greatest country the world has ever known.


PHOTO: Birmingham, Alabama Cavalier "rescuer", business woman, and GBHS board member, Lisa Thompson.




© 2020 by Donald V. Watkins, P.C.