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Golisano takes designer to trial, claiming misleading prices on yacht furnishings

(WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. - Tom Golisano and his wife, tennis star Monica Seles, both took the stand in their own trial Monday. They are claiming a Rochester-based interior designer overcharged them by hundreds of thousands of dollars to redecorate their 240 foot yacht, “My Laurel.”

Golisano said this isn’t about the upgrades to his yacht; it’s about the principle of being misled by the cost of work done.

“Tom is the kind of guy that would give you the shirt off his back, but he will not let you steal the shirt off his back,” his lawyer, Glenn Pezzulo, said.

But the designer, Norma Goldman, says she did everything by the book and followed all estimates given to Golisano.

Mr. Golisano took the stand, holding his own during heated testimony, cursing at times and forcing the judge to have both lawyers approach his bench.

Golisano claims he verbally agreed to pay Norma Goldman her hourly rate of $140 plus materials provided at cost. Golisano testified he wasn’t provided pricing details or invoices, and red flags started going up as time went on.

Goldman says every item sold to Golisano was less than the manufacturers suggested retail price. She claims she ballparked $800,000 in total for the work, which came out to just about that same amount.

Golisano is asking for $400,000 in damages.

“He had a clear understanding with the defendants in this case, that in exchange for paying them a pretty good hourly rate for all the work that was done, he would get the benefit that they would get for some goods," said Pezzulo. "No matter how you classify the mark-ups, whether it’s a kickback or wholesale price or dealer cost, he’s entitled to that benefit because that’s what he agreed to.”

Golisano’s wife, Monica Seles, also took the stand, saying she felt the designer was not being honest or forthcoming about prices and her commission.

Once the prosecution and defense rest, the case will be in the hands of a jury of eight men and women.

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