Acro Cats and Rock Cats Rescue got scammed!

Dear Rock Cats Rescue and AcroCats Supporters,

In this time of worldwide emergency, I hope all of you are keeping healthy. I am trying to keep my spirits up, but I have been thrown into a level of depression and stress I can no longer hide. It brings me great sadness to report that Rock Cats Rescue, Inc., the nonprofit that oversees the AcroCats, was recently the victim of a scam. It was not long ago you helped me raise funds to repair our aging AcroCats bus. That money was stolen by a trusted part-time driver I had known for more than four years.

It all began last fall, when this person informed me the tour bus frame was bent and unsafe to drive. He made this assessment after he allegedly took it to a shop for a vehicle x-ray. Based on his advice, we launched the GoFundMe campaign you all so generously supported to fix the “problem.”

This person told me he would find a bus shell similar to the existing one and transfer the usable parts and materials from one bus to another. A few weeks later, I purchased a bus shell of the same make and model for $42,000 and was assured by him that this new shell was safe for human and animal passengers.

I gave this person a company credit card for gas and parts. Suspicious charges began appearing on the credit card statements. Also, a first-class flight in his name, on Delta Airlines to California, showed up on a credit card he didn’t even have possession of at the time. When I questioned the charge, he denied making it. Other expenses showed up on our nonprofit’s charge account, which he also denied making.

This person provided endless excuses for not submitting paper receipts to me for the work he was doing. He was erratic with his updates, making constant and untrue excuses.

Last December, just before this person was scheduled to drive us to New Orleans in the new, renovated bus, he notified me the bus engines had to be swapped out and needed $8,000 to cover the bill.

We made expensive alternative transportation plans to New Orleans in order to fulfill our contractual performances. It was decided this person would drive the renovated shell bus to New Orleans when the engine transfer was complete. When he arrived in New Orleans, the condition of the bus was not acceptable or livable.

 Condition of the bus that was dropped off to us in New Orleans

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When the New Orleans tour was over, I traveled to South Carolina to the property on which the original cat bus was being stored and was devastated when I saw it.

Our original cat bus, featuring all our precious kitties
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Cat bus found with wrap removed in South Carolina (you can see some of the purple left behind)
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This person had removed the exterior wrap, valued around $12,000. Kitty City had been torn out and was being converted into a bedroom. Kitten City, which was our beloved home for our foster kittens, was decimated; pieces from both were found in one of the bays of the bus.

Watch a video of Kitten City here.

Before: Happy AcroCats in Kitty City
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After: Broken pieces found in the bus bay
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Clearly this person was renovating the interior for his own personal use and needs.

Kitty City being turned into a bedroom
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We returned to Atlanta and took both the shell bus and the original cat bus to a professional bus mechanic for assessment. (We had to spend $2,000 on the tow back to Atlanta, because we were concerned that at the last minute this person compromised the engine by putting coolant in the oil).

The mechanic said there was no way an engine transfer had taken place. He also explained how my original cat bus was repairable, and that everything I had been told about its undrivable condition was a lie.

However, it’s going to take many hours and considerable funds to get it back to a safe and livable condition.

We later received additional information, after tracking receipts and talking to businesses, that most of the parts reportedly ordered for our bus renovation were actually for his personal use and gifts for his friends.

Currently, I have no acceptable vehicle to transport my cats long distances, until we get our first bus back into touring condition. We are currently using a cargo van and trailer for short tour runs, and have found wonderful people with sun porches or spare rooms to keep the cats in during these shows.

This past weekend, we were set up to perform in Athens, GA, and three hours before the show, we got the news that we had to cancel. With the Advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing social distancing recommendations, we have cancelled all of our shows for at least the next eight weeks, leaving us with no revenue opportunities.

I have currently depleted my personal funds to keep the rescue running.
We have found an attorney in South Carolina to take on our criminal fraud case, but while we wait for the legal system to run its course, with great embarrassment, I am once again humbly asking for your support.

The past three years have been challenging for Rock Cats Rescue, with the move to Georgia, the business reorganization, my year and a half long battle with cancer, and now this heart-breaking scam against us and the resulting financial struggle. Your incredible enthusiasm has lifted us up these last three years and kept us going.

We cannot continue our mission now without generous and caring supporters like you. Please remember that Rock Cats Rescue, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and your donations are tax deductible as allowed by the law.

Important update!  Funds take several weeks to receive and we need help ASAP...To help our campaign sooner, 
please mail a check to 


Rock Cats Rescue 
PO box 376
Brooks, GA 30205

Or click this donation button
https://shop.circuscats.com/products/donate-to-rock-cats-rescue

You can also sponsor an Acro Cat to help with medical needs, as some of our senior cats need extra help
https://shop.circuscats.com/t/sponsor-a-cat

Thank you,

Samantha and all the felines here at Rock Cats Rescue

Donations

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  • Sue Rickenbacher 
    • $20 
    • 3 d
  • Charlotte Henry 
    • $50 
    • 4 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 8 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 9 d
  • Leah PSimer 
    • $50 
    • 9 d
See all

Organizer

Samantha Martin 
Organizer
Griffin, GA
Rock Cats Rescue Inc 
Registered nonprofit
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