Caraquet economic development group spent thousands wining & dining business prospects

They say 'it takes money to make money'.

AcadieNor, an economic development organization for the City of Caraquet, has been spending thousands of dollars on trips, meals, and liquor in an effort to attract new companies and advance those already in the region.

Documents, obtained by Radio-Canada though a 'Right to Information' request, show the organization shelled out more than $2,700 for a meal at a restaurant in Quebec City, over $3,800 for a 20-person Christmas dinner in Caraquet, and over $3,100 for a 'cultural trip' to France, among several other expenditures.

AcadieNor chair Gilles Lanteigne says the organization does business with CEOs and people from 'high society' who have a different lifestyle from the every-day citizen.

He says for some, it's reasonable and for others, it's not, but adds it's a way to bring people into the community.

Former board member Reginald Boudreau says he felt the organization was a little too generous when trying to attract new business and adds the organization never had audited balance sheets.

AcadieNor has an annual budget of approximately $ 125,000 and receives annual government grants ranging from $50,000 to $200,000.

(with files from ICI Radio-Canada)