Swimsuit claims defunct North Dakota photograph store, proprietor dedicated shopper fraud – InForum

BISMARCK — North Dakota Lawyer Normal Drew Wrigley has filed a civil lawsuit in state courtroom alleging {that a} defunct Bismarck photograph enterprise and its proprietor dedicated shopper fraud and different wrongdoing.

The grievance, greater than 50 pages lengthy, claims Glasser Photographs, its proprietor Jack Glasser and others knowingly entered right into a misleading scheme to violate North Dakota regulation and established an organization coverage in step with that scheme.

The grievance additionally alleges the defendants defrauded shoppers and subcontractors in a number of states, together with North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Colorado.

The Lawyer Normal’s Workplace initiated a shopper fraud investigation in October 2021, after Glasser Photographs all of a sudden closed its doorways and posted discover that it could not present refunds.

So far, the lawyer normal’s workplace has obtained 539 complaints alleging claims of greater than $1.4 million.

The closure of Glasser Photographs left wedding ceremony {couples} with out photographers for instantly pending weddings, whereas different {couples} had been denied the promised pictures from quite a lot of particular events.

Wrigley stated the Client Safety Division of his workplace has carried out an intensive investigation and located substantial proof supporting the allegations within the grievance.

Investigators gathered monetary and accounting data, inner and exterior communications, and testimony from about 20 witnesses.

“Our grievance alleges that Glasser Photographs had been experiencing severe monetary issues for years, however falsely blamed the enterprise closure on the pandemic,” Wrigley stated in an announcement asserting the motion taken by his workplace.

“Regardless of the enterprise’s severe undercapitalization, Jack Glasser continued to borrow from banks, the federal government, pals, and household, whereas concurrently having fun with a life-style of high-end eating, journey, and luxurious automobiles, all on the expense of his enterprise prospects,” Wrigley added.

Tim O’Keeffe, an lawyer representing Glasser Photographs and Jack Glasser, issued the next assertion Tuesday night:

“Jack has been devastated by the closing of Glasser Photographs and the adverse affect it has taken on his shoppers, staff, subcontractors, and the group. In that spirit, Jack has labored tirelessly to get his shoppers’ recollections again to them, and has cooperated all through the lawyer normal’s investigation with full transparency,” O’Keeffe wrote.

“Sadly, regardless of assurance from the assistant lawyer normal that he shared Jack’s need to assist Glasser Photographs’ shoppers, he determined to subject this civil lawsuit earlier than even sharing it with Jack — revealing that the AG’s Workplace selected to seize some low-cost headlines, no matter it serving to no one however himself. The AG’s Workplace has asserted their very own opinions into the grievance, which is filled with hypothesis and puffery. We keep that this can be a failed enterprise and never an elaborate conspiracy,” O’Keeffe added.

The go well with alleges that at a time when Glasser Photographs was in monetary hassle, Jack Glasser and his enterprise accomplice, Jace Schacher, would usually use Glasser Photographs to pay for meals and drinks, together with at Pirogue Grille and The Luft in Bismarck, the place they went a number of instances per week.

“On one event, the enterprise bought a $400 meal for Jack’s birthday at Pirogue,” the lawsuit states, including that Glasser and Schacher’s weekly meals price the enterprise tons of of {dollars} that neither of them repaid.

The lawsuit additionally alleges that in Might of 2021 Glasser and Schacher used Glasser Photographs’ bank card to pay for a $10,000 journey to Wyoming, together with $8,000 for lodging alone.

About two weeks earlier than that journey, Glasser claimed to his accountant that Glasser Photographs certified for $2 million in Financial Harm Catastrophe Mortgage funds primarily based on its working bills, and Glasser requested for the accountant’s assist and perception on acquiring the funding, in accordance with the go well with, which claims the enterprise finally was accredited for almost $400,000 in federal catastrophe loans tied to pandemic reduction.

Shortly after the enterprise was accredited for the funds, Jack Glasser despatched an electronic mail to staff telling them he was delaying payroll, the go well with claims.

Stacia Alsleben booked Glasser Photographs 5 years in the past for her wedding ceremony that ended up getting pushed again two years as a result of pandemic, and is now out $3,000.

She additionally labored as a subcontractor for Glasser to assist develop her personal enterprise, Stacia Marie Photographs.

“I hadn’t gotten paid since Might of 2021, so I am out over $10,000,” Alsleben informed WDAY Information.

Regardless of the corporate’s precarious monetary place, Glasser Photographs continued to take advance funds from shoppers for a yr realizing it seemingly wouldn’t be capable of present what it promised, in accordance with the go well with, which claims Jack Glasser’s accountant prompt he seek the advice of a chapter lawyer.

As a substitute, the go well with says, Glasser Photographs continued to solicit advance funds from shoppers and potential shoppers with out disclosing its poor monetary situation, proper as much as the day it closed.

“(Jack Glasser’s) narrative is that Glasser Photographs closed abruptly on Oct. 7, 2021, as a result of affect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the enterprise,” the go well with states, including: “That is nothing greater than a ready-made excuse employed by Jack and Glasser Photographs meant to garner sympathy from the general public. … However, nobody ought to be fooled. Glasser Photographs’ failure was the inevitable results of Jack’s mismanagement and private monetary exploitation of the enterprise.”

The lawyer normal’s lawsuit seeks to ban Glasser from offering future images companies, restitution for shoppers and subcontractors, and civil penalties.

Along with the not too long ago filed go well with, Glasser Photographs has been the main target of plenty of small claims instances in state courtroom,

in addition to a lawsuit filed in federal courtroom