Suits remain on file against Mardi Gras float production company

Alejandro de los Rios Oct. 7, 2010, 5:00am

Despite reports that their differences had been settled, Barry Kern's suit to oust his father as head of the family company remains on file in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

The suit, filed Oct. 1, sought 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.

On Oct. 3, the Times-Picayune reported that Pip Bennan, the captain of the Mardi Gras krewe Bacchus, arranged a meeting with Blaine and Barry Kern and resolved their differences. It was also announced that Barry Kern had been restored as president in BKA after being supplanted by his father in August.

BKA is responsible for preparing floats for close to 90 percent of all Mardi Gras krewes that hold parades during the carnival season in New Orleans. Barry Kern's suit claims that Blaine Kern's spending has made BKA "technically insolvent" and that the company has bounced payroll checks to employees.

A separate suit filed in Orleans Parish is also ongoing. In it, Mardis Gras World LLC (MGW) is suing Blaine Kern and BKA, claiming that BKA has violated its licensing agreement and moved property from MGW's warehouse on the Mississippi riverfront.

That petition for injunction was filed Sept. 15 and claims that the defendants "removed inventory from the plaintiff's business and have threatened to continue to remove inventory." MGW and BKA have a licensing deal, a copy of which was attached to the petition, that grants MGW "exclusive license" for all property – including floats, props, costumes and sculptures – possessing a "Mardi Gras theme."

According to court papers, MGW sought a temporary restraining order against BKA to prevent Blaine Kern or his employees from removing any more Mardi Gras property. A September hearing was continued until Oct. 28 after plaintiffs filed an amended petition for injunction.

New Orleans attorneys Randall Smith, Stephen Gele and Zach Butterworth represent Barry Kern.

New Orleans attorney Stephen Dwyer represents MGW.

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

Orleans Parish Cases 2010-10092 and 2010-09647

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