Business owner lied under oath, court told

By Steve Buist
The Hamilton Spectator
(Oct 26, 2006)
The man behind southern Ontario's Great Glasses empire was repeatedly portrayed yesterday as a liar incapable of telling the truth during the opening day of a rare contempt case being heard in a Hamilton courtroom.
Bruce Bergez, of Dundas, is facing a possible fine of at least $4 million if he's found guilty in a civil contempt of court action that has been launched by the College of Optometrists of Ontario.
The College of Optometrists is alleging that Bergez and the Great Glasses stores have been violating an earlier court decision from 2003 that ordered the chain to comply with Ontario legislation that governs opticians, optometrists and physicians with respect to prescribing and dispensing eye glasses and contact lenses.
The college alleges that Great Glasses stores are preparing eye glasses and contacts without proper prescriptions from an optometrist or physician, and then dispensing them to customers without the proper supervision of an optician.
The Great Glasses chain, which has five stores in Hamilton and two in Burlington, is widely known for its "3 for 1" glasses promotion, as well as the offer of a free eye test for customers with no appointment necessary.
Roy Stephenson, the lawyer representing the College of Optometrists, spent the day attacking dozens of inconsistencies contained in three separate examinations under oath he conducted with Bergez earlier this year as he attempted to uncover how the Great Glasses empire operated.
The third examination had been ordered by the court with Bergez facing the threat of imprisonment if he didn't answer dozens of questions from the College of Optometrists.
"(Bergez) lies under oath, he lies in affidavits and I'm going to ask the court to find that he's fabricated documentation," Stephenson said.
"He's arrogant, he doesn't believe in authority and he's making millions of dollars doing it," Stephenson added.
Stephenson told Superior Court Justice David Crane that it took three examinations of Bergez and two court orders before he finally got some insight into how money flowed through the Great Glasses' franchises.
It wasn't until the third examination that Bergez revealed that the owner of Great Glasses' parent company was a "Buster Kafer."
Stephenson told the court that Buster Kafer didn't actually exist and that the name was simply an amalgamation of Bergez's dog's name, plus his mother's maiden name.
At one point, Stephenson pointed out that franchise agreements for the Great Glasses locations had all been signed "by Buster Kafer, which is astonishing because I didn't know that dogs could write.
"I guess this one can," Stephenson added wryly.
The case continues today.