Manitoba

Signage comes down at Winnipeg café where police say hate crime was staged

It appears the Winnipeg family accused of staging an anti-Semitic attack at their own restaurant won’t be reopening the business anytime soon.

Notice on BerMax Caffé and Bistro windows says lease has been terminated

Crews removed signage from BerMax Caffé and Bistro on Corydon Avenue on Friday, after a notice of lease termination was posted in the business's window. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

It appears the Winnipeg family accused of staging an anti-Semitic attack at their own restaurant won't be reopening the business anytime soon.

BerMax Caffé and Bistro has been closed since April 18, when the family that operates the restaurant — who are Jewish — told police they'd been the victims of a hate crime.

They alleged owner Oxana Berent had been assaulted and the restaurant was ransacked and spray-painted with hateful graffiti.

But the story took a turn this week, when police alleged the owners had staged the whole thing.

All three members of the family that runs the Corydon Avenue restaurant — Alexander Berent, 56, Oxana Berent, 48, and their son Maxim Berent, 29 — are charged with public mischief.

The Jewish family that owns a Winnipeg restaurant deny police allegations that they staged an anti-Semitic attack at the establishment last week. They spoke to host Ismaila Alfa on CBC Manitoba's Up to Speed on Wednesday. 1:20

The family vehemently denied the allegations in an interview with CBC News Wednesday.

On Friday, a letter addressed to Oxana Berent, the business's legal owner, was posted on the restaurant's window saying BerMax's lease had been terminated.

Crews were also seen removing the restaurant's signage.

The notice, posted by lawyers retained by the building's owner, says BerMax hasn't paid its rent.

A letter posted on the restaurant's window says BerMax's lease has been terminated because rent hasn't been paid. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

It's not the first sign that the family has been struggling financially.

Court records show the parents were ordered last August to pay $112,000 to the Business Development Bank of Canada for a loan that had not been repaid.

More recently, their adult son was sued by the Royal Bank for $43,000 in alleged credit card debt.

That statement of claim has not been tested in court and Maxim Berent has not responded to it.

The family members have been released on a promise to appear in court in May.

With files from The Canadian Press