The Conflict: For years, the relationship between two kitty-corner Orthodox Jewish businessmen in Toronto was genial: Berkovits sold jewelry to rich customers, Gerstel bought gold from the cash-strapped. But in 2009, Berkovits began also to buy gold (amid rising gold prices), competing with Gerstel. Gerstel responded by hiring promoters porting sandwich boards to patrol the street corner. The dispute quickly degraded into a morass of conflicting allegations, among them an unproven claim that one of Gerstel’s employees attempted to hire a former mixed-martial-arts fighter to kill Berkovits.
Latest Round: Berkovits has filed a civil lawsuit alleging Gerstel’s sandwich board touts drove customers from Berkovits’s store and toward his own. Berkovits seeks $3 million in damages. Gerstel denies the allegations.