Plainfield therapeutic riding center gets eviction order rescinded

Brock A. Stein | 7/19/2017, 3:05 p.m.
A judge has vacated an order to evict Ready, Set, Ride, a therapeutic horse back riding charity based in Plainfield ...
Ready, Set, Ride is a non-profit therapeutic horse riding center based in Plainfield. Photo by Brock A. Stein

Ready, Set, Ride executive director Lisa Afshari, managed a public relations campaign against a landlord that sought to evict her non-profit organization from its Plainfield home while also making arrangements to move equipment and 14 horses if her last ditch effort to stay failed.

“We had lined up 16 horse trailers,” she said, noting that an army of volunteers were ready to help the group move if the order had stood.

“It’s a big sigh of relief,” she said of the order to vacate the eviction.

Fortunately for the hundreds of children who take part in the therapeutic riding center’s programs each week, Afhsari’s efforts paid off in a last minute reversal of a previous judge’s decision to evict the center from its Essington Road location.

The judge vacated the order of eviction citing landlord Joseph Tages’ inability to restructure his debt or show proof that he could continue to make debt payments.

“The judge asked him for proof and he said he didn’t have any,” Afshari said before the eviction order was rescinded citing the bank as the new owner of the property.

The group will meet with its real estate attorney in the next week to decide what the next steps will be.

A Go Fund Me campaign has been initiated to raise funds to purchase the property from the bank. For the past 16 years it’s rented the grounds located at 13056 Essington Rd. in Plainfield. So far the group has over $23,000 toward its fundraising goal of $100,000. (https://www.gofundme.com/save-ready-set-ride).

The hope according to Afshari is that they can “work something out with the bank” in the coming weeks. “The good guys do win sometimes,” she said of the ruling.

The non-profit which runs equestrian therapy programs for kids with special needs and terminal illnesses were given 2 weeks to find new homes for their 14 therapy horses after a Will County Court ruled on July 3 that they must vacate the property after failing to pay rent for several months to previous owner Joseph Tages.

According to Afshari, Tages later offered to sell the property to the non-profit for $393,000 but a title search revealed that the property had a $1.4 million lean against it.

Right now she’s glad that the riding center’s programs will continue and the turmoil of the past couple of weeks will recede in the minds of the volunteers who work there.

“Riders will continue riding and the kids won’t be affected by any of the ruckus from the last two weeks,” she said adding, “We’ll just keep working behind the scenes to make sure that we have a permanent home.”