Dean Kozanic / Stuff
Harmon Wilfred and his wife Carolyn Dare-Wilfred, pictured in 2005 as they fought a deportation order against US-born Wilfred.
A Canadian heiress linked to a bakery and confectionery empire faces bankruptcy in New Zealand following failed business ventures.
Carolyn Ruth Dare-Wilfred owns a third of the shares of Dare Foods, based in Kitchener, 100 kilometers west of Toronto. The company employs 1,200 people across North America and generates revenue of approximately $500 million per year. She values her stock at more than $50 million.
Dare-Wilfred married American Harmon Wilfred in 1998, and they arrived in New Zealand in 2001 settling in Christchurch.
Harmon Wilfred, now one of New Zealand’s longest stayers, renounced his US citizenship in 2005 over child support and other issues. He expects to be imprisoned upon his return to the United States and claims the CIA is pursuing him for exposing massive CIA fraud.
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Wilfred, now 73, set up various businesses in Christchurch but several failed and he was declared bankrupt in 2016.
The couple’s latest struggles unfold in Christchurch High Court where Heartland Bank wants to bankrupt Dare-Wilfred over a $1,164,125 debt linked to a New Zealand drinks company.
In June, the bank went to court seeking instructions on how to serve the bankruptcy notice on Dare-Wilfred, who returned to Canada in 2015 after her business visa expired.
One of the instructions was to serve the notice on Wilfred so he could alert his wife. However, Harmon Wilfred could not be found, and in July the latest court ruling, the High Court said it would suffice to send the notice to Wilfred’s email address.
The couple’s company operating as La Famia Function Center at Wigram Manor went into liquidation in 2013 owing Inland Revenue nearly $300,000 and general creditors $246,000. The Employment Relations Authority awarded several function center staff approximately $60,000 for breach of employment obligations.
Wilfred claims to have been a CIA contractor who was persecuted and whose life was threatened after exposing a major CIA fraud. Immigration New Zealand says he is in New Zealand illegally but has nowhere to send him.
Upon his return to Canada, Dare-Wilfred took legal action against his two brothers, who work in the family business, to force them to buy his shares. She said she was unable to sell the shares elsewhere and that her brothers were actually holding her shares hostage. The Toronto Superior Court dismissed his claim.
Dare Foods began in Kitchener in 1992 when Charles Doerr started baking cookies in the back of his neighborhood grocery store. Doerr’s grandson, Carl Dare (Dare-Wilfred’s father), took over the business in the early 1940s. He died aged 96 in 2014.
Dare Foods products, sold in 50 countries around the world, include Breton crackers, Bear Paws cookies, Wagon Wheels snacks and a variety of candies.