Adamant to return
Browns still intend to rebuild in Gravenhurst despite being potential victims of scheme
Despite the ravages of an April 2011 fire that levelled their apartment and business and now seemingly burned in a Ponzi scheme, the Browns will not be deterred.
“There are no changes to our plan,” said Randy Brown, who along with wife Henny owns the Cottage Cravings in Bala.
In early April 2011, their Cottage Cravings store on the Gravenhurst main street was levelled along with their upstairs apartment, but just slightly more than one year later, the couple announced their intentions to rebuild on the now-vacant lot come 2013. An expansion plan to Bala went ahead as the duo had planned its opening this past May.
Brown said recent revelations of potential fraud against the couple will halt nothing they have planned back in Gravenhurst.
“It’s been a tough, tough year,” he added, however. “We lost a lot of stuff because of the fire, then we lost everything else.”
During the week of Aug. 22, a Toronto Star report revealed that the Browns were one of many potential defrauded investors of former Aurora Chamber of Commerce president Jeffrey Mylor White, an insurance broker and financial planner who passed away at 56 in July 2011.
Brown suspects with lost interest to his life savings, his losses are about $240,000. The Star reports that it’s possible up to $5 million or more could have been pilfered from investors. The accusations against the late White’s estate stem from a receiver’s investigation report filed with the Ontario Superior Court earlier this year.
“There are no funds or assets to which the investors’ funds can be traced,” the report by Soberman Inc. states. “Mr. White solicited investments from many of his insurance clients, while evidently treating their moneys as funds that were loaned to him for him personally for his general use. There are many victims who lost their life savings.”
Brown said since the original Star report, he has been advised not to comment further, but did say he hopes to have some satisfaction when an expected court battle with the estate begins in mid-October.