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:
 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.
 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.
 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.