Mardi Gras World
Mardi Gras World

This is the second entry that goes on both my blogs- Watchopp and my Mardi Gras blog as well. We can thank the Legislative Auditor‘s office for this one, they released the report that the Kerns used the movie tax credits to build floats in 2006 instead of their unfinished documentary, Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras: Building of the Greatest Free Show on Earth. The Kerns own Mardi Gras World, a New Orleans institution. They build REX, Bacchus, Orpheus, Endymion, Muses, and Alla, among others.

Barry and Blaine Kern in Happier Times
Barry and Blaine Kern in Happier Times

Barry Kern’s huge response to the Auditor report states that the practices the Kerns followed were somewhat widespread at the time among live entertainment documentaries that applied for the tax credit during the same time period. Those productions include Jazz Fest, Voodoo Fest and Essence Fest. That’s pretty esteemed company for the Kerns to be keeping. I guess French Quarter Festival kept their nose clean on this live entertainment documentary mess. Good for them!!

Barry Kern thinks his dad, Blaine Kern Sr., notified the Legislative Auditor about the tax credit situation. That made Barry Kern very mad. If Dad’s objective was to make Barry mad, it worked. The Kern family is in the middle of well known legal battle for control of the Kern empire. Barry started the legal feud, and Blaine is doing his best to continue it. This is the juiciest, saddest public legal family battle we’ve seen in quite some time. My condolences to all involved.

Kern's REX Parade on Mardi Gras Day
Kern’s REX Parade on Mardi Gras Day

The big news in the case is at the end of February 2012, the Louisiana Appeals Court overturned the lower court and gave Kern Sr. back control. They threw out the deal the Kerns brokered with the key Mardi Gras Captains, and lifted the temporary injunction against Kern Sr.

That means the lawsuit, in which Barry Kern accused his father of ruining the company, will go back to Orleans Civil District Court for a full hearing.

Barry Kern now has 14 days to appeal the ruling to the full Fourth Circuit bench for a rehearing.  Otherwise, the case will be sent back for trial before Judge Kern Reese.

So if the elder Kern is back running the business, why would he contact the Legislative Auditor and draw attention to the possible misuse of tax credits? To embarrass Barry for sure is probably the only reason. The elder Kern oversaw the building of those floats, not his son, more than five years ago.

The Kerns’ movie was billed as a look at the history, design, building and production of Carnival and Mardi Gras floats, with a focus on the 2007 season, according to the Legislative Auditor’s report.

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