UPDATE 6.6.16: That state of Conn. sentenced Tara Bryson to 8 years in jail, execution suspended after 2 years to serve, with three years probation, according to the clerk’s office in Litchfield County where she plead guilty to 10 counts of animal cruelty on June 3rd. The clerks office also confirmed she was taken to the women’s jail in Niantic, CT directly from the court house on Thursday. Tara started a goat farm called Butterfield Farms that produced and sold goat cheese at farmers markets in tony Fairfield County and New York City after her brother David Bryson kicked her out of the Ridgefield, CT hedge fund she worked at because she was arrested for running a pot farm out of her Newtown home. Brigitte Ruthman a journalist for Rep-AM, a local paper that covers Western Connecticut, who attended the trial reported Tara is also ordered to pay the Dept. of Agriculture $23,000 in restitution, which is half the cost the State incurred for caring for the goats after they rescued them from Tara’s mismanaged farm. During the court proceedings Ruthman reports the Dept. of Agriculture showed Tara was using products from other goat farms to make the Butterfield farm goat cheese and not her own goats because the animals dried up; an action that reads like false advertising. Ruthman is the only CT reporter who was on the ground interviewing local farmers, attending court hearings, and advancing the reporting on this case for the last two years.
I believe this is the one of the first jail sentences the State has gotten for an Animal Cruelty charge and a judge giving her two years in jail, after Tara made a plea deal, makes a strong statement to future offenders. This charge was the ‘third strike’ for Tara Bryson who plead guilty to securities fraud in the SEC case centered on her work lying to investors at New Stream Capital to entice millions in new investments, and plead guilty to a reduced felony charge for allowing her boyfriend to grow a large Pot farm in her $1mn house. I guess it took malnutrition against animals for a government agency to finally find a crime that deserves jail time for Tara.
UPDATE 1.28.15: Very sad news apparently Tara cares for her goats as much as she did for defrauded New Stream investors. According to this local CT reporter she left her goats without food and water to die. Twenty-two goats were found dead on the farm that Tara Ann Bryson and Michael Hearl in (the former pot farmer) Cornwall Conn. run and 74 were taken away malnourished. The CBS affiliate in Hartford, CT reported local government officials were going to try and get criminal charges against the goat owners for animal abuse.
Let’s not forget I first reported the State of Conn. gave these goat owners a $50k grant to start this farm! Bryson could be seen the last few years at New Canaan’s weekly farmers market selling her goat cheese. The Dept. of Agriculture is now warning don’t eat any cheese produced by Bryson’s Butterfield Farm.
Tara A. Bryson, executive of Ridgefield-based New Stream Capital has plead guilty to drug possession charges.
She was sentenced to one year in jail, which was suspended, and a year of probation. Bryson copped a last minute plea deal with the State of Connecticut. In return she had felony charges of conspiracy to cultivate a pot farm reduced to a misdemeanor–possession of a controlled substance under four ounces and possession of drug paraphernalia. A Danbury criminal court clerk confirmed the charges today.
Bryson’s arrest report shows Connecticut State police found over 203 marijuana plants in her million dollar Newtown home so the charges being subbed out from cultivation of marijuana to only possession less than four ounces appears to be a lucky break. I previously reported her live-in boyfriend Michael Hearl also plead guilty and will serve two years in jail; which reads like he took one for team because Tara Bryson won’t be joining him in the slammer. The hit to Bryson’s wallet appears to be only in the form of legal cost because the State is asking her to pay a measly $15 fine. If the State had held to the original pot farm cultivation charges, they’d filed against Bryson last July, she’d be facing felony charges and up to 7 years prison time.
New Stream Capital, co-founded by her brother David Bryson, had previously stated Tara had been suspended from working with the fund after they learned about her drug arrest from press reports. Last month the hedge fund filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy and is currently battling with some of its investors to maintain control of fund management. It’s unclear, now that Tara is free, although found guilty of a misdemeanor, if she’ll be returning to New Stream or any of David Bryson’s other asset management companies.
But this hedge fund executive isn’t totally out of the woods yet. I’ve previously reported the FBI is investigating the fund (this included Tara and David) for among other things charging investors excessive fees by over valuing assets. Last month we learned the Securities and Exchange Commission has now joined the investigation.