Lee Hagopian, IV (53) of Silver Lake, WI, is not a licensed optometrist. But at least as far back as 2015, people have been accusing him of practicing optometry anyway. Fox 6 did an investigative piece on him that generated a lot of interest. The next day too. Many folks came forward and accused Hagopian of doing eye exams, which only optometrists can do. At one point, the state did sanction Hagopian for practicing without a license, but no real consequences followed. His old business was called “Eye Xams” and was located on Pershing Blvd in Kenosha. There is an active alert on the Better Business Bureau website that indicates Hagopian is unlicensed.
Hagopian fled to the western, more rural part of the county, seemingly to escape his infamy. He now runs a business in Paddock Lake called Next Day Glasses, formerly Eyes on U Optical. As an optician, he can sell glasses if you already have a prescription, but not give eye exams.
In October of 2019, about 4 years after being confronted by Fox 6, he was again being accused of doing exams illegally. Kenosha DA Mike Graveley’s Office waited 18 months to charge Hagopian with practicing optometry without a license, misdemeanor theft and obstructing an officer. The DA dismissed the theft and obstruction charges and Hagopian was only convicted of practicing optometry without a license, landing him only a $200 fine. This wasn’t the first time Kenosha’s DA went easy on Hagopian.
In 2012 he was charged with disorderly conduct and domestic battery. The DA dropped the domestic battery charge and was given a small fine.
In 2013, according to court records, he was drinking at “Eyes On U Optical” when him and his wife got into an argument. Hagopian pushed her to the ground, broke her cell phone in half and then squeezed her neck until she couldn’t breathe. He was charged with a felony and three misdemeanors. The DA and Judge Kerkman let him off with a year of probation and dismissed the felony count.
On July 26, 2022, a Kenosha Deputy investigated another complaint from a customer of Hagopian. He said he paid Hagopian $641.70 for an eye exam, which Hagopian can’t do, and a pair of eye-glasses. He never got the glasses. The Deputy couldn’t make contact with Hagopian, but nearby employees said they though he was living in his shop. Kenosha Court Commissioner Loren Keating issued a $2,500 cash warrant for Hagopian a couple of months later. He came to court and Keating kept the $2,500 as bail.
On September 25, 2022, the same Deputy that investigated Hagopian two months prior was flagged down by another customer of Hagopian. The woman told police she took her 10-year-old grandson to see Hagopian who introduced himself as “Vaugn.” She thought he was a real eye doctor until she saw him on the news. She paid Hagopian $399 for glasses and the exam. About four months ago, her grandson was diagnosed with astigmatism after complaining of headaches. It is unknown if Hagopian contributed to this. On October 10, 2022, ADA Emily Gaertner charged Hagopian with misdemeanor theft, practicing optometry without a license and dispensing a prescription drug or device without practitioner’s prescription order, all misdemeanors.
On October 27, 2022, Hagopian appeared in court on his third practicing optometry without a license charge. Because the criminal complaint was sloppily written by the prosecutor, ADA Gaertner, Keating dismissed both optometry-related charges and left only the theft charge. The DA’s office could clean up the language and re-issue. It is unknown is they will be doing so.
KCE reached out to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services to see what they have done to protect the public. We heard back from Greg Cielewicz, the communications director for the state agency. He had the following to say:
“The last complaint filed with DSPS regarding Mr. Hagopian was received in October 2019. Since DSPS had previously issued an administrative injunction relating to Mr. Hagopian’s unlicensed practice (see the following link: ORDER0003944-00011226.pdf (wi.gov)), and we rely on the local district attorney to enforce violations of injunctions, the 2019 matter was referred to the Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. Based on the complaints you attached with your inquiry, it appears the Kenosha County District Attorney has taken legal action on multiple occasions in the past several years on behalf of the State of Wisconsin.”
Hagopian is due back in court on November 17, 2022.