Dirty deeds done dirt cheap: Slabbed explores the genesis of the Trout Point Development and certain land sales to Aaron Broussard and his cronies.
July 22, 2001 Sunday
Nova Scotia Nirvana; Trout Point Lodge is rich in Louisiana roots, an hour from the Evangeline Trail, co-owned by New Orleanians who used to make cheese at the north shore’s Chicory Farm. But it’s decidedly Canadian, an unparalleled wilderness experience in the lap of luxury.BYLINE: By Millie Ball; Travel editor
SECTION: TRAVEL; Pg. 1
LENGTH: 2229 words
EAST KEMPTVILLE, NOVA SCOTIA — Once a month, from May through October, New Orleans lawyer Daniel Abel catches a flight to Maine and then a boat to Yarmouth, a town at the southern tip of Nova Scotia. By the next morning, Abel has settled into another week-long stay at Trout Point Lodge. It’s his idea of heaven. Others agree, including Food and Wine magazine, which raved about it last month. The 10-bedroom lodge is surrounded by 200 acres of spruce and pine and birch and maple trees and overlooks the Tusket River and a pond that reflects the clouds and skies above Nova Scotia. The interior is Metropolitan Home rustic, with kilim rugs and furniture crafted from tree branches. The comforting smell of earlier fires that crackled in the many fireplaces mingles with fresh scent of spruce logs that were trucked in to build the lodge.
Abel’s one of the owners. He knows how to find Trout Point, which isn’t easy. It’s an hour north of Yarmouth and an hour east of the Evangeline Trail, the heart of Acadian Nova Scotia.
“Go past East Kemptville to East Kemptville Road” — a dirt road, by the way — “then turn at the lodge sign and follow the electrical wires to the end,” said Vaughn Perret, Abel’s business partner with Charles Leary. Perret was talking on a cell phone that kept fading in and out.
Perret and Leary run the lodge, now in its second season, as well as a nearby cheese dairy farm similar to their last project, the north shore’s Chicory Farm, which gained some renown in the mid-1990s.
So said Millie Ball way back in 2001, This is important for several reasons, one of which I can’t speak about on the advice of my attorney but before I get to that we need to visit with Millie’s travel piece for the Times Picayune a bit more:
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.”
“They counted on us to create something beautiful,” said Perret.
Again notice the date in reference to the Cerro Coyote project, which they peddled to investors a few years before in 1999. And of course there is Aaron Broussard, who evidently already owned one cottage by that time and who would end up with Ms Krantz’s after her death via an interest free loan.
This is topical because Slabbed has obtained certain deeds from the Trout Point Development, including one where Lot 20 was sold to Aaron Broussard, Roy D’Aquila, Larry Stoulig and James Smith for $1 per the deed instead of “$1 and other good and valuable consideration”. But first it is worth seeing where Charles Leary, Vaughn Perret and Danny Abel originally bought the property in 1999.
Through time I had heard there were restrictive covenants on the development, which Leary, Abel and Perret evidently drew up after the development was platted into lots. Those covenants were contained in the sale of Lot 20 to Broussard, Stoulig, Smith and D’Aquila aka Kempt Wilderness Lodge Services. Worth noting is the above referenced omission of “and other good and valuable consideration” wording behind the $1 we now examine the sale of lot 20:
There is something else that I must point out here and to do that we must visit with a now retracted follow-up story Rich Rainey did to his January, 2010 expose on the resort at Trout Point which was later the subject of a defamation suit in Canada:
Charles Leary, managing director of the lodge, e-mailed The Times-Picayune on Friday saying Broussard “does not and has never had any ownership or management involvement with Trout Point Lodge Limited.” The message went on to say Broussard owns a “vacation home on the same road.”
The deeds indicate a much deeper relationship than Leary’s email to Rainey. Speaking of deeper relationships I’d invite our readers to visit this old post on Aaron Broussard and Danny Abel using the Super 8 Motel on Clearview Parkway address as their office address in certain court filings, specifically this comment by V:
2421 Clearview is the Super 8 Motel.
This is where Abel AND Broussard are working out of? Right between the do it yourself carwash and falling down taco stand? Wow.
What a fine establishment. Room 106, not exactly a sweet “Suite.”
“Legal Department”? For whom or what exactly? Skid Row, Inc.?
The 70004 PO Box appears to be just off Airline though.
We later found out the owners of the Super 8 Motel has a zero property tax assessment, the savings of which certainly came in handy when they bought a parcel of land from Broussard and his now ex-wife Karen Parker on October 1, 2010:
Stay tuned as Slabbed continues its exploration of Aaron Broussard and his business involvement with the owners of Trout Point Lodge.