Slabbed explores former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard’s business activities in Nova Scotia Part 2: You own 100% of 2% of nothing.

Trout Point Lodge Owners Vaughn Perret, Danny Abel and Charles Leary

In part 1 of this series I covered the genesis of Trout Point development and the associated fleecing of the ACOA by our three amigos Danny Abel, Vaughn Perret and Charles Leary. The fallout was slow in developing though as certain employees at the ACOA that were involved with the La Farme D’Acadie disaster actually died in the interim and the ACOA was not especially diligent in pursuing repayment of the tax money given to the 3 American partners. When the ACOA filed suit Trout Point did not contest it and a default judgment was entered.  Later the default was set aside and the litigation began a tortuous path in the Canadian court system. It came to a head in 2008.

I highlighted the entire ACOA disaster in several posts but this one has received the most attention and for good reason as the lawsuits involving Leary, Abel and Perret and the  ACOA heated back up and one of the major issues turned on exactly who owned La Ferme D’Acadie.  Let”s review shall we:

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.

Like I said one of the sticking points was the disclosure of the owners of La Ferme D’Acadie, which Leary claims is the Dairy Farm portion of the Nova Scotia operations and despite the fact Abel’s name evidently appeared on the paperwork to get the loan Leary was insistent Abel was not involved and the gyrations are simply stunning as we continue from the court opinion:

The applicant claims that broken pipes caused a flood in his home during the winter of 2002, resulting in the destruction of documents. In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina wiped out the office of Daniel G. Abel, who was Mr. Leary’s Louisiana attorney and business associate. The applicant maintains that he kept records of the partnership’s dealings with the plaintiff, as well as other business records, at this location. In the spring of 2006 a break-in at Trout Point Lodge in East Kemptville, NS, resulted in the theft of a safe containing certain documents related to the transactions which are the subject of this proceeding.

Of course I called bullshit on Abel losing his office to Hurricane Katrina since he practiced out of the Super 8 Motel on Clearview with Aaron Broussard. In fact a long time business associate of Abel’s, long before that April post was published gratuitously and out of the blue told me Abel “never had an office”.  That tidbit also lined up with a tip on Abel I received in early 2010 regarding his representation of Dumpster Dived Jimmy Lawson so the data points obtained from various sources that were not connected lined up perfectly, enabling me to call bullshit on Leary for lying to the Nova Scotia courts regarding the ownership of La Ferme D’Acadie.  What I haven’t shared yet is the owners of La Ferme D’Acadie were not limited to Abel, Leary and Perret.

Two individuals that claim ownership in Trout Point Lodge have told Slabbed that the investment they were sold was not called Trout Point Lodge back when they purchased it. In fact those sources indicate their paperwork says they were buying into a company called La Ferme D’Acadie. Slabbed commenter Jr. was invaluable posting a July 2001 travel piece that ran in the Times Picayune:

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 in July 2001 and there is mention of connected New Orleanians that were investors in Trout Point but the question remains, exactly what did they invest in?  Luckily for us Finisterre gave everyone a big clue in October 2011 when he linked the resume of a local attorney David C Loeb and sure as shootin’ there it is listed on his resume under directorships:

La Ferme D’Acadie

And of course, based on that extensive article about the ACOA disaster I excerpted we know the girls bought the 200 acres that would become the Trout Point Development. According to that July 2001 travel piece for the Times Picayune they already owned it in 1998:

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.

And the public record is littered with references to the owners of Trout Point Lodge and the amount of land it is situated on.  For instance in this Globe and Mail story dating to March 15, 2000 we find the amount of land for the Lodge itself had shrunk to 81 acres, ostensibly because some of it had been sold we find Abel again mentioned as an owner:

Opening this summer is Trout Point Lodge, a luxurious 10-room retreat at the edge of the Tobeatic Wilderness Preserve, near East Kemptville in southwestern Nova Scotia. The log-and-stone lodge is on the shore of the Tusket River on 81 hectares of land.

Eight guest rooms and two suites feature water views, log or granite walls, and log-beam ceilings. The suites and two rooms have sandstone fireplaces, while two other rooms have wood stoves. Accommodations include three meals a day.

Food will be a highlight at the lodge. Owners Daniel Abel, Vaughn Perret and Charles Leary have been partners for more than a decade in various ventures related to food and hospitality in the New Orleans area. In the U.S., from 1990 to 1998, they operated Chicory Farm, which grew organic vegetables and specialty mushrooms, and produced goat- and cow’s-milk cheeses. Their cheese and produce was used in numerous New Orleans restaurants. In 1998, they moved to Nova Scotia and formed La Ferme d’Acadie, a new creamery producing European-style goat’s-milk cheeses. La Ferme’s cheeses now appear on restaurant menus across Canada, and are exported to the U.S.

Not surprisingly, they will be offering two- and three-day food-oriented vacations that will include such things as field trips to learn about edible wild plants and mushrooms, and cooking lessons on such themes as French new world cuisine. The lodge will be available for booking in its entirety by small corporate groups.

Costs will range from $500, double, for suites and $425 for rooms.

Those rooms sure were pricey back then considering they now go for well under $200/night excluding meals and other hidden charges. I also noticed how the Globe and Mail had Abel owning La Ferme D’Acadie. That was then but in 2008 this is what Leary was telling a Nova Scotia court:

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.

So there you have it folks, people like Peter Butler Jr, who owned 2% of La Ferme D’Acadie were cut out when the rubber met the road in the Canadian court system. Worth noting is that La Ferme D’Acadie had a very short existence in Nova Scotia as it was formed and dissolved within the same year. Simply put La Ferme D’Acadie does not exist except on some pieces of paper that are worthless from a legal standpoint. Poor Baby Butler owns 100% of 2% of nothing.

The PR at Trout Point never stops though and like our own Magnum, the gang simply makes it up as they go along as this snippet from Open to the World Illustrates:

It might not be paradise, but it’s close— thanks to the vision and hard work of the owners, who are proud of their hands-on involvement. “We designed the building and the furniture and we do all the cooking,” says Leary. “We try to do everything.” Says Perret, who used to practice law at a Park Avenue firm in Manhattan….

And this snippet illustrates they also had other business interest in New Orleans:

Besides Trout Point Lodge, the trio operates the Inn at Coyote Mountain in Costa Rica and the Granada Cooking School in Spain. They also owned the Chicory Farm Cafe in New Orleans’s Uptown district until just two weeks before Hurricane Katrina struck and devastated the Gulf Coast of the United States in August. Since then, Perret’s mother and brother have sought refuge at the lodge, and other relatives are expected to arrive in the coming weeks and months.

And speaking of Hurricane Katrina I hope everyone remembers the suit against State Farm that Eric Paulsen filed regarding Hurricane damage to his house in Slidell? I hope so folks because I have caught a wee bit of flack in certain circles for terming Paulsen “The Toolman”. In that case, there were questions raised about the true ownership of the property.  I’ll see that State Farm lawyer’s gambit and raise the ante for in 2006 Abel claimed to own the house in Slidell:

“Everyone has been wonderful. Everywhere I go in this province, somebody is doing something to help our friends and neighbours in Louisiana,” says Abel, whose house in Slidell, La., had its first floor wiped out by the hurricane and the ensuing tidal surge. “People who know me have come by and called and asked what they can do. Every time I go to a public place, there’s always someone collecting something for someone. Just the other day, we were in the parking lot at Yarmouth Mall, and some guys with the Lions Club were literally stopping every car [to raise money for hurricane relief]. You couldn’t get out of the parking lot until you dropped something into their buckets. I was so touched by the generosity. I know we’ve settled in a good place.”

And of course how do I know it is the same house? There are several reason but author Peter Brown was kind enough to fill in a few gaps for us:

…..the fact that danny and shane are great people. you would have to be closer to it to understand that danny, shane and christine plus the grandchildren make a cohesive and close family. a lot of people may want that not to be true but it is. they have closer bonds than most born and bred families i know.

Throw in Paulsen and I bet it gets real kinky folks.

We’ve made it all the way to 2008 in the history of Aaron Broussard’s Nova Scotia adventure. Stay tuned for part 3 as we fast forward to late 2009 when it all began to unravel.


Post revised as Sop did not account for the metric system. (Hat Tip a reader in Nova Scotia)

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