New Stream Investor Relations Faces Weedy Issue

Sep 7 2010 | 1:11pm ET

For more than a year, the head of investor relations at hedge fund firm New Stream Capital has had to deal with unhappy clients, who have been barred from redemptions since April 2009. But Tara Bryson has a much bigger problem now.

Bryson and her boyfriend, Michael Hearl, were arrested in July and charged with running “a complex marijuana cultivation operation capable of producing a marijuana crop year round,” according to Forbes. The couple’s electric bill aroused police suspicion, being much larger than one would expect for the 5,810-square-foot home on Butterfield Road in Newtown, Conn.

Police reportedly found some 200 pot plants, as well as a portable air conditioner, carbon dioxide generator and motorized track lighting at the house, which Bryson bought last year, as well as a growing ledger and financial records. Both Bryson and Hearl were arrested and charged with possession, cultivation and conspiracy to cultivate marijuana. Hearl was also charged with possession of a silencer for firearms and running a drug factory.

Both pleaded not guilty and were released on $25,000 bail. Bryson, the sister of New Stream co-founder David Bryson, was suspended from the firm a few days ago; a New Stream spokesman said the $1 billion asset-backed lending fund learned about her arrest just last week.

Hearl told Forbes that the charges against him and his girlfriend are “bogus” and that “we didn’t have that many plants.” He also challenged the gun charges against him, noting that both weapons were legally registered. And he has a much more innocent explanation for the alleged marijuana-growing paraphernalia: He says the couple is raising goats, and has even received a $49,999 state grant to get up and running. While they haven’t yet been licensed to sell goat products, the duo has Web site, promotethegoat.com, and reportedly encourage visitors to come and see the goats.


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