ND Attorney General investigates Glasser footage of Bismarck after sudden shutdown
The North Dakota Attorney General’s Office is investigating dozens of complaints against a Bismarck-based photography service that suddenly shut down.
In an email to a client, Glasser Images said he would not be able to work with clients in October and that any money paid could not be refunded. This email has since gained traction on social media.
This left many other clients like Alexis Christianson wondering what would happen to their wedding photos. She says her family has used Glasser on several other occasions and that she felt good to reserve them for her September 17th.e wedding party.
“Our photographers were awesome and we connected with them really well. After the wedding we got an email saying we would have our sneak peek a month after the wedding and the full album with all three photos months after the wedding. “
Christianson says she was contacted by her photographer yesterday, who told her Glasser would file for bankruptcy and shut down for good. The photographer is an independent contractor, who said she still had all of the photos. Christianson hopes the photographer will still be able to edit the photos.
Contract photographers who have worked with Glasser say they are not surprised by today’s news. Morgen Hagerott has been working with Glasser since 2017 and says work invoices have rarely been paid on time – often three months after the agreed payment date. He says the problem only got worse as the business grew.
Stephen Martin worked for Glasser for a year, photographing weddings in South Dakota, Minneapolis and the Bismarck area. He says contractors were regularly paid late, even before the pandemic. In late 2020, he started talking to other contractors to expose the issue and even spoke to a media outlet. But he says nothing has come of these efforts.
“Finally, at the start of 2021 everyone got paid because they started offering ‘pay in full now for your wedding in 2021 and 2022 and get discount’, so they can make a lot of money very quickly and pay everyone. Then myself and a lot of other people left the company. So just a year later it happened again and they finally filed for bankruptcy, and seeing it all come together. produce – it frustrates me because I tried to do something about it last year, and it just never got the progress it should have. “
Another subcontractor who started working with Glasser last July, Josh Bryant, said company owner Jack Glasser seemed a bit cavalier with business expenses.
“It seemed like he would just spend the money where it didn’t need to be spent. We had a lot of photographers coming in to photograph weddings, from Colorado. It just sounded ridiculous; they could have been. find people here in North Dakota and I avoided those huge fees to get on a plane. “
Steven Warkel worked as a full-time videographer for Glasser between 2019 and 2020, then as a subcontractor until 2021. He says he eventually left because he didn’t feel safe about weddings during the pandemic because Glasser didn’t seem concerned about the covid measurements. He also said the pandemic was blamed for many issues related to late bill payments.
“I’m not surprised to see it closed, and to be honest I’m pretty happy it’s in the spotlight because as contractors dealing with these issues there weren’t really many good avenues. to take to make sure you were going to see your money. We weren’t sure what to do legally – I mean, you can report it to the state and so on. Anytime you are freelance, you have always need someone to pay.With Glasser it was never fun to some extent, and I stopped recommending my friends to outsource with them, or at least tell them up front that they probably wouldn’t be paid on time. “
According to ProPublica.org, Glasser Images received more than half a million dollars in paycheck protection loans earlier this year.
As is the case with Christianson wedding photos, many independent contractors are still in possession of the images taken at the weddings. But Hagerott is worried about who actually has legal ownership of these images. He says Glasser’s copyright and intellectual property in the images may prevent photographers from distributing the photos.
“I just wish Glasser would come out and release all responsibility to the subcontractors, so that we can at least help some of the people in the situation.”
Hagerott also said he called North Dakota bankruptcy court. He says they told him that on Friday afternoon Glasser Images had yet to officially file for bankruptcy.
Christianson says they’re trying to dispute their credit card charges paid to Glasser, and is hoping the company can eventually reimburse customers. She says what was the worst for her was the way Glasser tried to make money until the last possible moment.
“I actually have a friend, who, his friend just booked with Glasser a few days ago and paid in full. And now they’ve lost that money. So that Glasser would know it was going to happen, and that ‘he always accepts customers’ money – that’s bad enough. “
In the October email to clients, Glasser said anyone can contact Bismarck’s attorney, Jonathan Sanstead, with further questions. This morning Sanstead said he no longer represents Glasser Images.