Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bad taste at Gluttons

Best restaurant in city reopens after settlement

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GLUTTONS' new owner, Bernie Verway, has accused founding partner Jameson Watermulder of using restaurant revenue for his own benefit, including:

* Setting up Cocopod, a specialty chocolate and coffee shop across the street from Gluttons on Corydon Avenue.

* Covering Cocopod's ongoing expenses, including rent and Hydro.

* Paying for his personal expenses, including a hair transplant.

* Giving his mother cheques totalling $20,800.

Watermulder is also accused of:

* Hiding restaurant receipts and other financial records.

* Destroying a business computer that contained financial data.

* Attacking and physically assaulting original co-founder Chris Verway, son of Bernie Verway.

* Ignoring a court order prohibiting him from removing funds from Gluttons' bank account.

* Going into hiding and refusing to sign cheques to cover Gluttons' current expenses.

What others have said:

David Asseltine, a forensic accountant hired by Bernie Verway to examine financial records of Gluttons:

* The financial statement produced by the Gluttons accountant for the period Feb. 27, 2004 to Dec. 31, 2006 -- "a very strong likelihood that those statements are significantly inaccurate and incomplete."

Gluttons had a deficit of $553,365 by the end of 2004, and $964,545 by the end of 2005.

* Sales in 2006 totalled $164,000, but records show only $58,000 was deposited and none of that as sales; rather, it was reported as a loan. "There are no cash sales reflected in the 2006 financial statements."

* "I could find no effective controls in place to ensure that all expenses and disbursements reported in the financial statements of Gluttons related to Gluttons' business activities."

* Visa records showed Gluttons funds were used to cover almost $89,000 of Watermulder's personal expenses in 2004 and 2005.

* Records showed disbursements from Gluttons' bank account were used to pay rent for Cocopod. "There is significant risk that major disbursements have been made from Gluttons' account that relate to the business of Cocopod Inc., in which Gluttons has no interest whatsoever."

* "The reported gross margins are insufficient and are an indicator that something is seriously wrong with the management of Gluttons."

Marty Weinberg, founder and former CEO of Assante Corp., president of Canterbury Park Capital:

In an affidavit filed in court, Weinberg said he gave Watermulder two cheques in April and May 2006 to cover catering costs for his wedding that year. One cheque, for $40,000, was made out to Jameson Watermulder, the second cheque, for $7,500 was made out to Gluttons.

The forensic accountant found no sales records in the Gluttons accounts for the Weinberg wedding.

Chris Verway, founding partner:

In an affidavit filed in court, Chris Verway said he confronted Watermulder about Cocopod and other expenses that he didn't believe were related to Gluttons. "He lost his temper and became very abusive, both verbally and physically, grabbing me and banging my head against the wall."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 3, 2008 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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