Son seeks control of father's Mardi Gras float-building company

Alejandro de los Rios Oct. 4, 2010, 5:17am

A lawsuit filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court claims the owner of New Orleans' largest Mardi Gras float production company has used his recent control of the firm to "aggrandize his own financial situation to the detriment of...shareholders."

Barry Kern is suing to evict his father, Blaine Kern, "from any directorial or officer position" and to appoint "a receiver to manage and/or dissolve" Blaine Kern Artists (BKA) which produces Mardi Gras floats and runs the internationally-famous Mardi Gras World.

The suit claims Blaine Kern, 83, has acted under the influence of his fourth wife, Holly Brown, who is nearly 50 years younger than him.

New Orleans attorneys Randall Smith, Stephen Gele and Zach Butterworth filed the petition for declaratory judgment for quo warranto and for appointment of a receiver on Oct. 1.

The lawsuit claims that since Blaine Kern began dating Holly Brown, his "personal expenditures on houses, cars, travel and entertainment, and thus his debt, skyrocketed."

The suit also claims that Blaine Kern's spending has made BKA "technically insolvent" and that the company has bounced payroll checks to employees. It also claims that Blaine Kern named Brown as co-captain and treasurer of Blaine Kern's Krewe of Halloween in the Boo Carre, which has failed to make timely payments on equipment and materials provided by BKA.

The 12-page suit also makes the claim that Blaine Kern improperly fired Barry Kern, who was named president of BKA in 1995 after successfully running similar companies in Europe, Las Vegas and Orlando. Barry Kern has since resigned as president even though the suit claims Blaine Kern had no authority to fire his son.

New Orleans attorney Marc Stein is listed as the registered agent for BKA.

Orleans Parish Case 2010-10092

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