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Plainfield therapeutic riding center heading back to court

Brock A. Stein | 9/13/2017, 9:22 a.m.
After a dispute with their former landlord was settled in July, Ready Set Ride, a therapeutic horse riding center in ...
Ready, Set, Ride is a non-profit therapeutic horse riding center based in Plainfield. Photo by Brock A. Stein

After a dispute with their former landlord was settled in July, Ready Set Ride, a therapeutic horse riding center in Plainfield is heading back to court this week.

The former owner of the property, Joseph Tages, has filed suit in Will County to have the non-profit evicted from the property at 13056 Essington Rd. This despite a judge ruling in July that Tages, a former doctor, had lost the property to foreclosure and no longer had a say over how the land was managed or who resides there.

“We really don’t know who owns the property anymore,” said Ready Set Ride executive director Lisa Afshari.

“The judge told him the last time that he [Tages] couldn’t come to court until he had a deed,” she said.

Afshari said that Tages is suing the non-profit for back rent and seeking to have the center evicted from the property for non-maintenance. According to Afshari, the complaint claims that a property manager that worked for Tages failed to deposit 6 months in rent checks from 2011 that he is now seeking to have reimbursed.

At the time, Afshari said she doesn’t believe he was aware that the checks weren’t being deposited.

“Now he knows that they were never deposited and he wants them back,” she said.

“I just think he’s a desperate person at this point.”

A search of Will County real estate records shows that the Essington Rd. property was purchased by Joseph Tages and his wife Leticia in 2006 for $650,000. Tages, a former Aurora-based doctor, had his medical license suspended in December 2013 by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation for filing false tax returns. He was charged in a 12-count indictment for diverting more than $750,000 in funds from his medical practice in 2004 through 2006 and failed to pay more than $260,000 in taxes according to the indictment. Will County court records indicate that he is named as a defendant in two foreclosure cases filed in June and July of 2016.

Despite the most recent distraction in the courts, Afshari said that the center continues to provide therapeutic riding services for about 80 special needs children per week with the grounds and animal care handled by a staff of mostly volunteers.

“I’ve decided we’re going to keep going, business as usual,” she said.

She and the center’s executive staff are also moving ahead with plans to purchase the property where they’ve operated for 16 years with the help of a local anonymous benefactor.

“We have somebody who’s offered to help us,” she said, “They’re just waiting to see when it can be bought.”

Attempts to reach Joseph Tages for comment were unsuccessful.