The problem with lying is keeping all of them straight. A Jefferson Parish Political Corruption / Trout Point Lodge Scandal Update Part 3

There is no doubt the timing of Rich Rainey’s series of articles on Trout Point Lodge and Aaron Broussard’s connections thereto could not have come at a more inopportune time for the three owners of the lodge, Danny Abel, Charles Leary and Vaughn Perret.  While Rainey focuses his articles on the curious Nova Scotia connection involving Broussard and the complaint to the Louisiana Ethics Commission, Rainey’s articles contained some damning evidence of potential wrongdoing involving Leary and Perret in Canada and it had nothing to do with Broussard per se. In fact I’d submit to this day neither Rich Rainey or his employer know real reason why Leary and Perret went postal on them after his story on Trout Point appeared in January, 2010 but that changes today. Our first stop is the courts in Nova Scotia and the suit against one of the girls business misadventures there, La Ferme D’Acadie by the Canadian Government through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. The first published opinion has salient case background:

In June 1998 the plaintiff, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, made a “repayable contribution” to a partnership involving the defendants, in order to assist in the startup of a cheesemaking and tourism business. The partnership was subsequently dissolved and incorporated by the former partners, and part of the business was moved to another location. In September 2001, the plaintiff declared that the partnership was in default of the repayable contribution agreement. The plaintiff launched an action in June 2002, the defendants being Mr. Leary, his former partners and the partnership itself. I note that Mr. Leary acts both for himself and for the partnership on these applications; when Mr. Leary is referred to, the reference includes the partnership, La Ferme D’Acadie, where appropriate.

We covered this part of the case in detail late last April and as usual our commenters filled in more than a few of the blanks. But before we get to that we need more background from the courts in Nova Scotia:

[2] In June, 2002 the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (“ACOA”) sued La Ferme d’Acadie, Daniel Abel, Dr. Charles Leary and Vaughan Perret. The statement of claim alleges that (1) in June, 1998 ACOA contracted with each defendant that ACOA would advance money, (2) ACOA advanced $126,127, and (3) the defendants breached their contractual obligations to ACOA by altering their business operations, ceasing the operation of La Ferme d’Acadie, and providing misleading information to ACOA. The statement of claim says that on September 5, 2001 ACOA notified the defendants that they were in default. ACOA claimed the amount outstanding, quantified as $104,211.12.

[3] On November 22, 2002 Dr. Leary filed a defence which denied the claim and said that La Ferme d’Acadie was a dissolved partnership, and counterclaimed that ACOA failed to act in good faith and committed negligent misrepresentation.

[4] I will not detail the events that occupied portions of the next several years. These are discussed in the Supreme Court’s decision (2008 NSSC 334). The defendants Perret and Abel have not yet been served with the Originating Notice, and ACOA has not moved for substituted service. In November 2007 ACOA filed a Notice of Intention to Proceed. Then in March 2008 Dr. Leary applied the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia for an order dismissing ACOA’s claim for want of prosecution. ACOA applied for an order under the former Rule 7.02 that Dr Leary and La Ferme d’Acadie disclose the names and addresses of the partners in La Ferme d’Acadie. Justice LeBlanc heard the applications in chambers on June 5, 2008.

So it is clear that just as we saw later with Leary going postal with the Times Picayune the subject of ownership in the various girly business ventures is a touchy subject with Team Trout Point. A step further translating the court record the ACOA is trying to sue Perret and Abel but they are dodging service of process.  The dispute was the crash and burn of the Nova Scotia boutique farm and rolling over some of the money into Trout Point.  The ACOA wanted their money back because it is clear they feet the girls were less than honest in dealing with them and according to local lore so do the trade venders that originally did business with Team Trout Point.

At this point Leary has lost at every point of the proceedings in Nova Scotia.  He was compelled to disclose the names of the owners in La Ferme d’Acadie and produce records in the Canadian equivalent of discovery.  He claims in sworn testimony the records were all gone and he denied Danny Abel was involved as this snippet from the court record clearly indicates:

At the hearing of this application, Dr. Leary said that, if he were to comply with the disclosure order under appeal, he would repeat the information in these paragraphs – i.e. the only partners were Dr. Leary and Mr. Perret, not Mr. Abel. ACOA already has this information in Dr. Leary’s memorandum of December 19, 2008. The order under appeal also requires disclosure of the partners’ addresses. ACOA already has Dr. Leary’s address, on the documents Dr. Leary has filed with the court and served on ACOA for this proceeding. The only item yet to be disclosed, as required by the order under appeal, is Mr. Perret’s address.

The problem here is lots of inconsistency in the public record but inconsistency is the only constant with the girls.  Danny Abel in particular should rue the day he ever befriended Matt Labash at the weekly standard, whose piece on post Katrina New Orleans we profiled in-depth in part 2 of this series:

In addition to his own small law practice, Danny has owned an exotic cheese farm, is an accomplished chef who used to run a Creole restaurant in the Quarter, and has co-written the Trout Point Lodge Cookbook, based on Creole dishes he and his business partners serve at their lodge in Nova Scotia.

So it appears in 2006 Abel claims Leary and Perret as his business partners but it is equally clear in the business records his partners do not claim him as such.  I have this bit of research courtesy of several readers but one of our new friends in Nova Scotia sums it up for us:

I went back to Registry of Joint Stocks Nova Scotia…….I found this:

La Ferme D’Acadie (a limited company), was registered two days later, June 25, 1998, again showing all 3 (Abel, Leary and Perret) as partners, but this time Abel’s address is Mt Hermon Lousiana. This fits in with the piece written on the Lodge in 2001….

Five months later they come back to register Trout Point Lodge, again all 3, same address given, 107 Chebogue Point Rd, Yarmouth. Registered Dec 14,1998.

Then they realize they made a mistake, they failed to register as the all important “limited” corporation that protects their assets, so they fixed that right away, dissolving this and registered Trout Point Lodge Ltd Dec 14, 1998, and this time they took off Abel’s name, and just have Leary and Perret as partners, their address being 189 Trout Point Rd, East Kemptville.
Now note that their address likely changed to Trout Point Road after 1998, likely in 2000 when the Lodge was built.

Indeed per the business records in Nova Scotia Abel was out, or was he. In 2001 the girls got mucho free publicity from the Times Picayune and indeed Rich Rainey mentioned the piece in his now retracted reporting on the subject. Luckily for us our own Jr. stepped in with some of the text of that circa 2001 pump and it is his comment that we highlight next:

Perret and Leary met at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Abel, a native of Lafayette, who grew up working in restaurants, is a longtime family friend of Perret’s. In the early 1990s, they united to start Chicory Farm in Louisiana’s Washington Parish; they grew organic produce, but became better known for their goat cheese and blue cheese, which they sold to restaurants ranging from Commander’s Palace to Gramercy Tavern and Picholine in New York. Abel took a two-year sabbatical from law to run Chicory Farm Cafe, a Creole vegetarian restaurant in New Orleans’ University area.

In 1998, they shut it all down. Perret’s and Leary’s reasons for leaving Louisiana for a while are personal and complicated, as those things tend to be. They already had bought a place in Nova Scotia and they settled again in Ithaca for the winter, when not traveling or working in Costa Rica on their next place. The partners still are debating the format, whether it’ll be for cooking classes like they sometimes hold at Trout Point or a retreat or whatever, but say it should be ready next January, maybe.

They opened the cheese dairy on Nova Scotia’s Chebogue Peninsula, and last summer, the lodge. Their mission is simple: Good eating in a wilderness setting. “I came for the wilderness without camping,” said Marsha, of the Boston art gallery. “I’ve never been anywhere else like this,” said a guest from Maine. “It’s a true retreat.”

Abel is the steadying glue — – and a good evangelist. The guys won’t name names, but the 200 acres have become a haven for some prominent New Orleans and Jefferson residents.

“Mr. Broussard was up here last week with his son,” said a construction worker outside a brand new lakeside home I checked out on my walk. “Mr. Broussard?” “Aaron,” he said, as in Jefferson Parish Council chairman. “This is his house.”

And “Miss Marie’s” house over there, that would be Miss Marie . . . ? Listening carefully to his garbled pronunciation, I came up with “Marie Krantz?” “Yes, that’s her,” he said. As in the Fair Grounds’ Marie Krantz.

Wendell Gauthier is an investor, though he’s never been here. New Orleans attorney Peter J. Butler Jr. said on the phone he invested as a 2 percent partner, and plans to visit for the first time next October. “We hope to make money, but if we don’t, I hear it’s a nice place to visit.”

So here we are as early as 2001 with Aaron Broussard’s name mentioned in connection with Trout Point.  At this point it is important to remember the allegation is that Broussard was making Parish venders rent his property up in Nova Scotia in a kicked up pay to play arrangement and indeed there is no evidence that Leary, Perret, Abel and the lodge were involved. That said it is also clear Broussard was not simply some guy from down the road as Leary tried to paint him to Rich Rainey.   Broussard was the market maker for the girls and peddled those 2% investments to select individuals in Louisiana along with his legal sidekick Danny Abel.

So what is it that made Leary nervous about Rich Rainey’s reporting? IMHO it is mainly the fact that Rainey reported additional 2% owners and folks that likely does not jive with what Leary has told the Canadian Courts in sworn testimony. Here is an excerpt from the now retracted Trout Point piece by Rich Rainey:

“But the familiar names of some of the investors shed some light on the political lattice of Jefferson Parish.

They include Bennett Powell, who said last week he bought a small share in the lodge similar to the one described by Muniz, and Larry Stoulig, who is listed as a partner in Broussard’s management company and who said other investors bought him out five years ago. The late Marie Krantz, former owner of the Fair Grounds and Jefferson Downs race tracks, and Nick Baroni, a Kenner City Council member while Broussard was mayor there, also invested in developing property near the lodge, Baroni said.”

“Baroni and Stoulig have served time in federal prison on fraud charges in separate incidents unrelated to the Nova Scotia investments.

The link between Nova Scotia and southern Louisiana, outside of the historical link of Acadian culture, seems to have begun with Daniel Abel, a lawyer who made a name for himself in 1999 working with the late attorney Wendell *****Gauthier to sue gun manufacturers for violence in New Orleans. Muniz said *****Abel served as Broussard’s legislative aide when he was on the Jefferson Parish Council.”

“But Louisiana secretary of state records and documents provided by Muniz show that in 1997, Abel, Charles Leary and Vaughn Perret formed a Louisiana corporation called La Ferme Ltd. and its Canadian counterpart, La Ferme d’Acadie. The three soon opened the Trout Point Lodge, according to a 2001 travel story in The Times-Picayune.

After investing in the lodge, Muniz said he turned down a second offer from Broussard, in 1999, to buy nearby property. Having yet to see a financial report about the lodge, Muniz said he demurred on the new opportunity.

None of this is new ground here at Slabbed and in reality Rainey was 100% factually correct in his reporting.  Now I am open to the possibility Rainey’s employer is pusillanimous in the way they hung him out to dry but I also suspect Rainey and the gang had no clue as to Leary’s testimony before a Canadian court.

But here is some new ground as events have compelled me to dig further into this whole Trout Point/Aaron Broussard/Paulsen v State Farm social network of gay men and politics.  So I am 100% clear I am completely down with those of you in the Slabbed Nation living alternative lifestyles and really do not care what consenting adults do in their private lives. That said there is no better place to get a feel for a social network than the obituary pages and so allow me to present to the Slabbed Nation the remembrance written for ULL legend Glynn Abel:

Survivors include his sister, Freda Abel Harper; son, Daniel Glynn Abel of New Orleans, La; two grandchildren, Shane M. Gates, and Christine E. Hymel, both of New Orleans, LA; and one great-grandson, Grafton Gabriel Gates of New Orleans, LA.

He was preceded in death by his parents, and wife, Leah Jane Egan.

The family requests visiting hours be observed on Friday from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm and continue on Saturday from 8:00 am until the time of service.

Pallbearers will be Gary McGoffin, Tom Voinche, Rick Michot, Earl Webre, Richard Bonnet, Dickie Hebert, George Guidry, and Gene Broussard. Honorary pallbearers are Dr. Vaughn J. Perret, and Dr. Charles L. Leary.

Now if I paid taxes in Nova Scotia I think I’d want an explanation and full accounting of the ownership of Trout Point Lodge and it’s relationship to the failed venture La Ferme D’Acadie as it appears the shifting of assets and ownership could well indicate that the ACOA was defrauded.  To the extent Leary claimed discrimination in a Canadian court for being gay while freely marketing Trout Point as a Gay Owned Lodge in Kemptville Nova Scotia illustrates the dishonesty inherent to his dealings with the Nova Scotia court system.

In Part 4 we’ll explore the lawsuit Abel and his “son” Shane have filed against author Peter Brown as we delve a bit deeper into Abel’s long time association with Aaron Broussard.

sop

8 thoughts on “The problem with lying is keeping all of them straight. A Jefferson Parish Political Corruption / Trout Point Lodge Scandal Update Part 3”

  1. Ever go scuba diving and get the bends? It is not pleasant. Anyhoo, I saw this place advertised on Trip Advisor, it is called River Bend Lodge. Who's your daddy River Bend Lodge? Can't find you registered. Anyway, here are the two reviews posted.

    "We rented River Bend which is a huge cottage. There were 3 couples traveling and this was perfect in size. Trout Point is about 35 to 40 minutes from any town, so you will want to bring food. When we open the front door there was mouse droppings, lots of it! Now we are out in the woods so we weren't too upset but the Innkeepers could have swept it up before we arrived. The Innkeeper gave my husband the extension to call the front desk to make breakfast reservation. She gave us the wrong number! I had to drive back to the lobby to make the reservation. Breakfast was fine, nothing special, potato cakes, waffles and fresh fruit and 1 muffin that was very good. We were expecting more because of the culinary reviews. After breakfast we asked the cost for dinner. We were infomed that breakfast was $22.50 and dinner was $143.00 for two. We opted not to have dinner. Dinner in town for a full lobster and mussels runs about $30.00. The next day at check out we were hit with a 18% gratuity on the whole bill!!! and breakfast was $22.50 per person!! When I say whole bill, I mean including the lodging. No one ever came and cleaned our rooms when we were out. We stayed two days. So why the 18% gratuity on the lodging?? All the information we read about Point Trout never mentioned the 18% additional charge and I am in the process of contacting my credit card company to reverse that charge. If you have any questions about the area or about the Inn then you will have to look for the Innkeeper because they are never at the front desk.

    We will not stay here again. It was a beautiful place but this place is very deceptive in their charges.

    Stayed August 2007"

    So 11 months later they got the all important acknowledgment their concerns were heard and being dealt with:

    "RiverBendManagement, Manager at River Bend Lodge, responded to this review
    July 24, 2008
    1. The 18% service fee is clearly indicated on our web site, on a large-print sign displayed at the reception desk, and the guest guide. It covers basic tipping, use of canoes, kayaks, hot tub, parking, local calls, soft drinks, coffee, tea, etc. It is not a hidden charge.
    2. No reservations are required for breakfast–it is open to all guests.
    3. Breakfast currently costs $22 per person if not included with another meal. If included with a 4-course dinner, the cost is $71.50 per person. Dinner does not cost $143 for two persons.
    4. We do not clean whole cottage rentals on a daily basis. Linens and towels are changed every 3 days. Daily maid service is provided for guest rooms"

    Here is one other review and this was a 5-star naturally:

    "This magnificent chalet has very comfortable rooms, tumbled marble bathrooms, and a fantastic Great Room with a crackling fire in the fireplace. It is remote, but for a true getaway to nature, it can't be beat. Breakfast was good. We plan to go back in the summer.

    Stayed February 2009"

    Well thank god for Jordiborb of Spain for leaving us on that positive note. Breakfast was good. See, it is worth $22 a plate. Odd though that a fellow or lady from Spain visiting Nova Scotia in February wouldn't comment on the snow, freezing rain, bad roads, unplowed lanes, delayed flights, frozen pipes… guess they get a different clientelle than us regular ole whiners.

  2. Sop, as you well know truth is THE DEFENSE against slander and defamation and your part three reads almost like a brief in support of a Summary Motion to Dismiss.

    Do you really think this suit will progress to depositions?

    The Meffert/ St.Pierre civil case depositions led to both their criminal incarcerations. Fools rush in….

  3. Suit Lockem? What suit? 😉

    The Trout Point Manifesto really doesn't worry me. Leary and Perret are one trick ponies and in respects nothing like Danny Abel, a man by all accounts possessive of depth of personality and social range. Abel has hung with Aaron Broussard all these years and ol' Aaron has all the personality tools it takes to make a salesman extraordinaire so this should not come as a shock. These personality traits also transfer well into both the law and politics.

    For my part I intend to keep all my options open and that includes the possibility of an anti SLAPP counter suit. My reporting is well sourced and I have nothing to hide. OTOH if we should ever get to depos I'd love to know what Broussard got in exchange for peddling 2% ownership stakes in businesses he does not own.

    All that said something tells me the courts in Nova Scotia will not take kindly to being abused in the way Leary, Abel and Perret have abused them. The girls hung 6 figures of bad debt on the Canadian taxpayers and strongly appear to have lied to the courts. This IMHO, is not a winning combo, especially after years of passing threats to anyone who crossed them.

    I'll have part 4 ready in a few days.

    sop

  4. Sop, got another question maybe for you to think about asking on a possible deposition. In part 4 above :

    "…..but one of our new friends in Nova Scotia sums it up for us:" " … June 25,1998, again showing all 3 (Abel, Leary and Perret) as partners, but this time Abel's address is MT. HERMON, LOUISIANA."

    Is the Mt.Hermon where Abel lived the same Mt.Hermon hick town where it is rumored all the Jefferson Parish trucks,equipment, pump operators and other personnel were evacuated to before Katrina struck? And if it is where did all these trucks, equipment and personnel stay? It seems like a small town like that would not have enough motel rooms or equipment storage areas to accommodate the mass numbers of personnel and equipment. Just a coincidence I guessthat Abel lived in Mt.Hermon and that's where massive equipment and personnel were rumored to have been evacuated to. Maybe Dr. Maestri, emergency director who post Katrina got involuntarily vacated himself, could shed some light on this for the Slabbed Nation.

    Of course Broussard did not personally order said evacuation to Mt.Hermon as per his deposition they all just left like programed robots in accordance with the DOOMS DAY EVACUATION PLAN which they all had memorized for years.

  5. There were no motel rooms and no equipment storage in Mt. Hermon, at least not used by your run-of-the-mill Jefferson Parish employees. The entire "Doomsday Plan" shelter and storage consisted of one school building and its adjacent parking lot. In fact, there were well over one hundred "employees" and their equipment/vehicles that were turned away with no alternative plan on the very night the storm made landfall after getting explicit instructions from the administration to report there.

  6. Vonzippa: If there were no pre-planned housing accommodations in Mt.Hermon why in your opinion were they and the Parish's equipment sent there in the first place.

    FYI the persistent Dudley Do-right, riding ass backward on his famous steed, has left the metroplex of Wiggins, Miss. with his skidmarked lawsuit in hand and is headed northward to investigate the "Case of the Disappearing Dairy Farm".

  7. Lock, that question has rolled around in my head for years. I am still at a loss. The best I can figure was that the Parish administrators were just that inept and had no clue just how many employees they actually had to accommodate. Perhaps it reveals that the entire concept of "The Doomsday Plan" was political and NEVER anticipated ever having to use it – and when they did, the jig was up.

    The chink in the armor was that the Parish did not control the shelter, the Red Cross did. Once the shelter reached capacity per Red Cross, no others were allowed in.

    GROSS INEPTITUDE on the part of the Parish officials.

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