Keeneland has taken legal action against Bernice Givens Sykes, who never paid for the 59 horses that she purchased for $267,700 at last November's breeding stock sale. A lawsuit was filed in early April in the Fayette Circuit Court in Lexington, claiming that Sykes still owes Keeneland $232,740.81. Keeneland recovered some of the amount owed by repossessing the horses and selling nearly all of them privately.
Keeneland also is asking that Sykes be required to pay late charges, at the rate of 18% per annum, as well as court costs and attorneys' fees. In addition, Keeneland wants Sykes to pay for the care and cost of boarding the horses following their repossession and prior to their sale privately.
Sykes also did not pay for 75 horses that she bought for $431,100 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale. Most were repossessed and sold by Fasig-Tipton at the stockyards in Paris, Ky., on Feb. 13. Fasig-Tipton originally planned to offer the horses at its February mixed auction in Lexington, but was forced to make another arrangement after some of the yearlings became ill with strangles. Fasig-Tipton also sold some of the horses privately.
Harvie Wilkinson, Keeneland's director of finance, said his company plans to hire a private investigator to gather further information about Sykes, who lives in Maryland.