Noel Harder, RTN Properties owner, the mystery man in Project Forseti
A dark past and a mysterious present
He’s the mystery man in one of the most ambitious investigations into drugs, bikers and organized crime in Saskatoon’s history.
Given the stakes – and the harsh allegations on the street and online – it’s little surprise that Noel Harder isn’t answering his cell phone these days.
People who know him say he’s effectively vanished from the city with his family.
Harder’s home renovation business is shut down, mail is piling up on the floor and the windows are shuttered over. He’s on the hook for rent with his landlord, and for more than $100,000 with Revenue Canada.
The Fallen Saints clubhouse, its address listed on court documents, is also the building that houses Harder’s two businesses, RTN Properties Ltd. and RTN Contractor Services.
The most notable feature of the business these days are the two words spray-painted in bold blue script on the sheet metal gate next to the front door.
“Rat,” in blue block letters.
Beneath it, “Goof.”
A Druggy Past
Noel Harder didn’t hide from his past.
In a 2010 StarPhoenix newspaper feature, he spoke frankly about how he took over his brother’s lucrative cocaine-dealing business when his brother died in 2001. Donnie Harder swallowed a balloon full of cocaine that burst and killed him.
Noel Harder took over the business, claiming to be retailing up to $1 million per month of cocaine.
This all fell apart in October of 2004 when got caught, and pleaded guilty to trafficking and proceeds of crime charges. He was sentenced to six years.
'Greed and self-importance'
Harder only did a fraction of his sentence behind bars because of a policy that fast-tracked parole for offenders serving time for their first non-violent federal offence, and who are assessed as not being a risk to offend violently.
A propensity to greed and self-importance.- National Parole Board
Parole board documents show that he made day parole in April, 2005 – seven months after going behind bars – and then was granted full parole in February, 2006.
The only caution in the documents is a concern of a “propensity to greed and self-importance.”
There are “unresolved issues around your wanting to obtain financial success with ease and lifestyle issues in associating with negative peers,” it said.
In August, 2005 – four months after getting day parole -- Harder declared bankruptcy with total assets of $99,700 and debts of $439,204.
The road back
People who knew him back then say that he appeared to want to stay straight.
He took odd jobs, shovelling sidewalks and pouring concrete. He parlayed these positions into a job doing home renovations.
That work led to forming RTL Contractor Services and RTL Properties Ltd. He based both businesses from 1909 11th Street West.
But that all started to go bad as well.
By the spring of 2014 he personally owed Revenue Canada $67,197, while the business owed another $50,180.
He only rented the building and his former landlord described the payments as “sporadic.” He made no secret that Fallen Saints used it as their clubhouse, although his exact relationship with the club was never clear.
The building’s owner said that Harder stopped making payments last fall.
The dark rumours
The dark rumours about Noel Harder broke almost immediately after the police raided the two motorcycle clubhouses on January 14. The raids resulted in drugs and weapon charges against ten members of the Fallen Saints.
Noel Harder is a police agent and informant. He is a convicted drug dealer and oxycontin junkie.- Facebook
Within days, social media posts by Fallen Saints members baldly accused Harder of betraying his biker “brothers” and fleeing to Mexico.
“Noel Harder is a police agent and informant. He is a convicted drug dealer and oxycontin junkie,” said one Facebook post. CBC contacted the author, who declined to be interviewed.
Police confirm they’re aware of these rumours but declined to comment further.
Noel Harder was not among the suspects arrested in the Project Forseti, despite officers raiding his business. But Harder’s name does appear on one court document linked to the raids.
Armand Hounjet runs a Melfort gun shop and is facing multiple firearms charges in connection with the arrests.
Hounjet is charged with illegally transferring a Winchester 30-06 rifle to Noel Harder on December 15.
This allegation dates almost one month to the day before the arrests.
Harder has not been seen or heard from since then.