TORONTO — Passersby strolling through Kensington Market can’t help but peek through the windows of a popular bakery to find a darkened, empty space inside.
After Global News reported on allegations that former employees were not paid by the owner of My Market Bakery, the shop abruptly shut down.
The landlord, who doesn’t want to be named, said owner Gary Rogers packed up and left Thursday night – pointing out Rogers allegedly failed to pay $100,000 on a $150,000 lease after the shop was purchased in his wife’s name in October.
Rogers claimed he never moved any equipment but rather “someone repossessed it.”
In response to the accusations, Rogers said he had documents at his lawyer’s office that would implicate his accusers.
Asked about the name of the law firm that represents him, Rogers said it is Levy Zavet PC, which advertises its services on a billboard across the street from the bakery.
But the firm denied having Rogers as a client.
“We were not retained for any labour or employment matters,” confirmed Jeff Levy, managing partner of the firm.
After Global News reported on allegations of unpaid wages from several former employees of 184 Baldwin Street, one of the former staff members, Oliver Buck, said he has since been paid and withdrew his complaint about Rogers with the Ministry of Labour. Rogers and his wife Isabel had initially denied the allegations completely.
But now, there are more people coming forward who claim Rogers owes them money.
“We want to make sure he’s not able to rip anyone else off,” said Blake Shaver, owner of Bread&Butter Designs, a Toronto business that supplies wood furniture and installs shelves.
Shaver said he and two of his employees installed shelves and supplied tables and chairs to the bakery in December.
“(Rogers) owes us about $14,000,” said Shaver, who said he was paid $10,000 out of the $19,000 owed for the installation but wasn’t paid at all for the tables and chairs, worth $5,000, that Rogers allegedly took when he left last week.
Shaver said he has now hired a lawyer and plans to sue Rogers.