Christian Gosselin (left) convinced Ashton Leblond to invest in his business, resulting in major financial losses for the retired restaurateur.
Flued, the founder of Ashton restaurants appeals to investors: be vigilant.
For more than three years, Ashton Leblond is trying to recoup an investment he made in a Quebec businessman who had moved to Florida.
Ashton Leblond obtained a judgment from the Superior Court of Quebec in September 2019 condemning Christian Gosselin and his company to pay him US$288,000.
As Gosselin was then living in the United United, Ashton Leblond could not enforce the judgment.
Ashton Leblond has met Christian Gosselin in Florida, in the winter of 2017.
It all started in 2017, when Ashton Leblond was staying in Florida during the winter.
There he met Christian Gosselin and his wife, very friendly people. nice and charming, insists the founder of the fast food chain that bears his name.
The couple have just moved to Florida after selling their house in Quebec.
< p class="e-p">Gosselin, a former professional hockey player drafted by the New Jersey Devils, presents himself as an investor.
He asks Ashton Leblond to support him in his project called Home Getaways.
Christian Gosselin has solicited investors for the Home Getaways project.
< p class="e-p">In collaboration with the company Permastructures, he plans to build modular houses for the American market.
He was always talking about 10-12 houses a year that he could make , then it was logical too, exposes Ashton Leblond in an interview with Radio-Canada.
The restaurateur initially invests US$150,000 with the promise that he will receive 10% of sales, as stipulated in a contract between the parties.
To my surprise, it made two houses. Two or three houses. He never wanted to give me my 10%, says Mr. Leblond.
The project did not seem to get off the ground and Gosselin again sought Mr's help. . The blond. Then that's when I'm angry with me, laments the septuagenarian, biting his lip.
The lease signed between Ashton Leblond and Christian Gosselin for the rental of the land on which a model house was to be built.
He then added US$80,000 so that Home Getaways could build a house model.
This building is to be constructed on land owned by Ashton Leblond at a luxury RV park in Margate, northwest of Fort Lauderdale.
< p class="e-p">The Gosselin company also undertakes by contract to pay Ashton Leblond rent for the rental of the land.
< p>“I gave $80,000, of cash, to build the house, to get started. He never asked for the permits, he never put up a picket to locate the house on the lot. »
— Ashton Leblond
Very active in 2017, the Facebook pageHome Getaways has not had any new publications since December of that same year.
In a telephone interview, Christian Gosselin defends himself.
I'm a victim in all this, I'm very disappointed how it all turned out, he says.
He blames it Permastructures, saying they had to deal with delivery delays and difficulties in obtaining municipal permits.
Christian Gosselin says he has nothing to be ashamed of.
After having sued Christian Gosselin in 2019, the Superior Court ruled in favor of Ashton Leblond the same year. Judge Michèle Lacroix even described the analysis of the evidence as convincing.
With interest, this judgment could allow Ashton Leblond to receive nearly half a million Canadian dollars today.
The one who sold his chain fast food restaurant earlier this year is under no illusions. He harbors little hope of seeing Gosselin reimburse him.
In 2017, another businessman obtained a favorable judgment against Christian Gosselin in similar circumstances.
Simon Beaulieu has invested CA$35,405 in Home Getaways.
In a sworn statement, a real estate broker who knew Gosselin well claims that he personally used the sums invested by Simon Beaulieu.
Broker Christian Giroux adds that he realized that several people had invested sums of tens of thousands of dollars in Permastructures, the partner company of Christian Gosselin.
In this statement filed in support of Ashton Leblond's lawsuit, he gives the example of an American who paid approximately US$200,000.
According to the court document, Christian Gosselin and his Permastructures partner, Robert Dubois, misappropriated the sum for personal use.
The broker swears that he had knowledge that Gosselin used the money from the American investor to pay the rent for his family home and furnish it.
The affidavit of Christian Giroux, in which he claims that Christian Gosselin used the money of an American investor for personal purposes.
In an interview, Christian Gosselin refutes this assertion, made under oath by the broker.
However, he acknowledges that he owes a large debt to this American investor, as do various people, including an elderly couple from Quebec.
The couple's wife, at who we spoke to, had to remortgage his house to cover his losses.
The 78-year-old, who prefers to remain anonymous, says her husband, an engineer by trade, began investing in Christian Gosselin's projects several years before he moved to Florida and launched Home Getaways.
She no longer believes Christian Gosselin's repeated promises to repay his debts.
Christian Gosselin confirms that the elderly couple is unlikely to get his money back in the short term.
“You understand I had big plans there. I had very big plans. Yes, I had refunds to make. Yes, I was going to repay in the next five years, maybe, or whatever, everyone who had deals with me. But there, these refunds are not possible. I can't even afford a lawyer.
Ashton Leblond was devastated to learn that the senior couple were unable to get their money back.
They can't afford to lose that. They are old people, they are retired, they just have this to live on, and then he took the money from them. It's appalling, it's appalling, laments Mr. Leblond.
Ashton Leblond has little hope of ever seeing back the US$230,000 he invested in the Home Getaways project.
Even with a judgment in hand since 2019, Ashton Leblond has never been able to recover his money. Ashton Leblond's lawyers finally found Christian Gosselin in Quebec, while he was visiting in July.
He was betrayed by a message posted on Facebook by his spouse.
Under a post where you can see her in Quebec, she replies to a friend that she is indeed in the province for a few more days.
< p class="e-p">Taking advantage of the opportunity, Mr. Leblond's lawyers summoned Gosselin to appear before them to question him about his assets and his ability to repay.
The 45-year-old man did not show up for the appointment.
Ashton Leblond's prosecutors therefore turned again to the Superior Court to seek a warrant to bring him – to emergency – before he returns to the United States.
Judge Louis Dionne, who considered the application in Gosselin's absence, made this comment during the hearing: Let's say that in my own book, it comes close to fraud, left fall the magistrate.
The judge issued the requested order and Gosselin finally showed up at the appointment set by Ashton Leblond's lawyers for the query.
Even if he has very little hope of recovering his money, Mr. Leblond insisted on paying the costs to do this and compel Christian Gosselin to testify.
To put it in order, or to teach it a lesson in honesty and frankness, exclaims the newly retired restaurateur.
Today Today, Ashton Leblond is enjoying his retirement and wants to continue helping young entrepreneurs. He did it again recently by investing in a young company. But he is much more careful.
I'm suspicious, of course, when you're having the same, he says.
Ashton Leblond wants to raise public awareness about the precautions to take before investing.
He has also agreed to lift the veil on his misfortune with Christian Gosselin and the Home Getaways project to send a message to the population.
Do not invest blindly, he says. He advises to remain vigilant and to demand documents. Must have pro forma, plans for new projects. That is a priority, and after that, having balance sheets of monetary capacity, insists Ashton Leblond.
Christian Gosselin, who claims to have been wronged by Permastructures to explain his failure, did not take any action against this company.
He was unable to present a defense during the trial undertaken by Ashton Leblond, the cause having proceeded by default in his absence.
Christian Gosselin could have requested a revocation of the judgment when he became aware of it, but he did not do so.
With the collaboration of Marie-Josée Paquette-Comeau