November 14, 2017 19:14 GMT by dailymail.co.uk

Trial for billionaire's lawsuit against decorator begins

Trial for billionaire's lawsuit against decorator begins

Billionaire Thomas Golisano claims an interior decorator overcharged him by more than $300,000 when she renovated his luxurious yacht based in Florida.

Billionaire Thomas Golisano claims an interior decorator overcharged him by more than $300,000 when she renovated his luxurious yacht based in Florida.

The former Buffalo Sabres owner testified Monday in a civil trial in Rochester where he maintained that the decorator, Norma Goldman, and the design company she worked with, Rochester-based Vitoch Interiors, had agreed to provide furnishings at wholesale cost, The Democrat and Chronicle reported.

Golisano said that he agreed to pay her an hourly rate of $140 plus the cost of the furnishing she provided to renovate the 240-foot Laurel Yacht that can sleep up to 12 people and carry a 22-person crew aboard. 

He commissioned Goldman back in November 2013 to prepare a design scheme which included 'wall coverings, floor coverings, lighting treatments, window treatments, re-upholster certain existing furniture, refurbish built-ins and wall panels,' according to court documents

She was also hired to 'provide new carpeting, draperies, lighting fixtures, paintings, furniture and bed linens.'

Billionaire Thomas Golisano (above)
Interior decorator Norma Goldman (above)

Billionaire Thomas Golisano (left) claims Norma Goldman (right), an interior decorator, overcharged him by more than $300,000 when she renovated his luxurious yacht based in Florida. He paid roughly $850,000 for the decorating tab

Golisano said that he agreed to pay her an hourly rate of $140 plus the cost of the furnishing she provided to renovate the 240-foot Laurel Yacht (above)

Golisano said that he agreed to pay her an hourly rate of $140 plus the cost of the furnishing she provided to renovate the 240-foot Laurel Yacht (above)

The dispute in the case is over the prices billed for the items on the yacht (above) and whether Goldman had agreed to provide them at wholesale cost without markup

The dispute in the case is over the prices billed for the items on the yacht (above) and whether Goldman had agreed to provide them at wholesale cost without markup

The dispute in the civil case is over the prices billed for the items and whether Goldman had agreed to provide them at wholesale cost without markup, the newspaper reported. 

There was not a written agreement between Goldman and Golisano, who is a 75-year-old former three-time candidate for New York governor. The pair allegedly had the discussion in front of Golisano's 43-year-old wife, former tennis star Monica Seles, and the boat's captain. 

The billionaire testified that at the beginning of the project, he insisted that he would not pay for any 'commissions or kickbacks to manufacturers,' The Democrat and Chronicle reported. 

He said that Goldman agreed she would 'share her discounts,' which he testified he felt that meant he would get '100 percent of the discount.'

The Paychex Inc. chairman and founder said he believed that he was getting goods at cost. 

There was not a written agreement between Goldman and Golisano. The pair allegedly had the discussion in front of Golisano's wife, former tennis star Monica Seles (above with Golisano), and the boat's captain

There was not a written agreement between Goldman and Golisano. The pair allegedly had the discussion in front of Golisano's wife, former tennis star Monica Seles (above with Golisano), and the boat's captain

Golisano (above) believed that he was getting goods at cost, but believes they were sold to him at a 220 percent markup. Golisano's attorney, Glenn Pezzulo, said that his client felt he was taken advantage of

Golisano (above) believed that he was getting goods at cost, but believes they were sold to him at a 220 percent markup. Golisano's attorney, Glenn Pezzulo, said that his client felt he was taken advantage of

But he said they were sold to him at a 220 percent markup and that he didn't learn about it until after the renovations were finished and paid for at an estimated $850,000 in June 2014.

Golisano then rented the luxury yacht for a cruise to the Mediterranean, but when it returned roughly a month later, he discovered that he was overcharged.

During his deposition, Golisano complained about having so many pillows on the Laurel that cost $500 each. He claims he was forced to put 32 of the pricey pillows in storage - which is $16,000 worth.   

His wife also testified she grew concerned about costs during a cruise in 2014 when there were so many pillows she couldn't sit on a couch.

Golisano contends the decorator overcharged by more than $300,000 on the nearly million dollar tab to renovate the boat that has an on-deck hot tub, gym and six state rooms. 

Seles (above) testified on behalf of her husband for the lawsuit on Monday. The case is expected to wrap up before this week is over 

Seles (above) testified on behalf of her husband for the lawsuit on Monday. The case is expected to wrap up before this week is over 

Seles is a Yugoslav-born American former world no. 1 professional tennis player.
She was infamously stabbed in the back with a nine-inch blade by Gunter Parche while playing against Magdalena Maleeva in the Citizen Cup in 1993 (scene above)

Seles is a Yugoslav-born American former world no. 1 professional tennis player. She was infamously stabbed in the back with a nine-inch blade by Gunter Parche while playing against Magdalena Maleeva in the Citizen Cup in 1993 (scene above) 

The decorator claims he was given the same deal she gave him on his suburban Rochester home and that she did not promise that the furnishings wouldn't be marked up.

Golisano's attorney, Glenn Pezzulo, said that his client felt he was taken advantage of. 

'It's all about principle for my client in this case,' Pezullo said, according to The Democrat and Chronicle.

The case is expected to wrap up before this week is over. 

Three times divorced, 75-year-old Golisano announced his engagement to the tennis star on June 5, 2014.

Three times divorced, 75-year-old Golisano announced his engagement to the tennis star on June 5, 2014.

The billionaire purchased the beautiful yacht for roughly $50million after he commissioned the decorator's work. 

Golisano, who has a main residence in Florida, charters the boat to other people for $525,000 a week. Laurel is the second largest yacht to be built in North America since the Great Depression.

Three times divorced, 75-year-old Golisano announced his engagement to the tennis star on June 5, 2014. It's unclear what day they tied the knot, but they began dating in 2009.

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