A lawsuit has been filed against wedding photography studio Glasser Images which suddenly closed its doors last year — and refused to offer refunds to clients who had already paid for services.
North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley filed a civil lawsuit on May 3 against Glasser Images, LLC, and its owner, Jack Glasser, for allegedly defrauding consumers and subcontractors in multiple states, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Colorado.
The suit claims that Glasser and his partner used company funds to finance their extravagant “lifestyle of high-end dining, travel, and luxury vehicles”.
After Glasser Images, based in Bismark, North Dakota, abruptly closed its doors in October 2021, the Attorney General’s office received 539 complaints alleging claims totaling more than $1.4 million.
The unexpected closure of Glasser Images left couples without photographers for their forthcoming weddings, while other couples were denied the promised photos from their big day or even refunds. The shutdown also meant an estimated sixty employees and sub-contractors were laid off.
In the lawsuit, Wrigley confirmed that the Consumer Protection Division had conducted an extensive investigation of the wedding photography company
Wrigley says Glasser Images falsely blamed their closure on the pandemic. Court documents claim that Jack Glasser and his partner and employee Jace Schacher spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of the company’s money on personal expenses for their luxurious lifestyle while seeking loans to keep the business afloat.
“Our complaint alleges that Glasser Images had been experiencing serious financial problems for years but falsely blamed the business closure on the pandemic,” Attorney General Drew Wrigley said in a statement.
“Despite the business’s serious undercapitalization, Jack Glasser continued to borrow from banks, the government, friends and family, while simultaneously enjoying a lifestyle of high-end dining, travel, and luxury vehicles, all at the expense of his business customers.”
According to court documents, Glasser and Schacher used company money to pay for frequent meals and drinks at high-end restaurants, the Pirogue Grille in Bismarck and The Luft in Bismarck.
The suit alleges that “on one occasion, the business purchased a $400 meal for Jack’s birthday at Pirogue” and that the pair dined at The Pirogue Grille and The Luft 17 times in the space of a month in mid-2020.
Documents also claim that Glasser and Schacher leased a 2021 Audi S5 Quattro for $2,059.35 per month as well as a 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450, costing the business $1,631.97 per month.
Company money also allegedly went toward personal travel, including a trip to Hawaii in 2018, as well as mortgage payments, haircuts, hair care products, plants, and “frivolous subscription services for themselves, including for meal kits, smoothie kits, and alcohol kits.”
The complaint claims Glasser and Schacher had spent at least $499,000 of the company’s money on themselves by the end of 2020.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit seeks to ban Glasser from providing future photography services and seeks restitution for customers and sub-contractors and impose appropriate civil penalties.
According to the Bismark Tribune Glasser’s lawyer Tim O’Keeffe, said in a statement that his client is “devastated” by the business closing.
“The AG’s office has asserted their own opinions into the complaint, which is full of speculation and puffery,” O’Keefe said. “We maintain that this is a failed business and not an elaborate conspiracy.”
O’Keeffe added that Glasser “has been devastated by the closing of Glasser Images and the negative impact it has taken on his clients, employees, subcontractors and the community.”
Glasser Images had been working with a vendor, ShootProof, to return to customers’ images that had already been shot at the time of its closure.
On Monday, May 16, a couple who had been affected by the photo company’s closure appeared on the Dr. Phil show and explained a quarter of their wedding budget went to paying Glasser Images, but they still have no photos to show for it, as reported by KFRYTV.
With the help of ShootProof, Dr. Phil surprised the North Dakota couple with all of their wedding pictures.
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.