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Wedding regrets? Bride and bridegroom contemplating lawsuits over canceled reception

The Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan on Aug. 15,

The Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan on Aug. 15, 2014. A couple whose wedding at the hotel was cut short when a guest's gun accidentally went off wants their money back. Photo Credit: Bryan Smith

The couple whose wedding reception was cut short after a guest accidentally discharged a gun, wounding four people at The Waldorf Astoria, are contemplating a lawsuit against the hotel and the guest who brought the weapon, according to their attorney.

Benjamin Brafman, representing financial professional Elan Stratiyevsky and his bride, Anna Goldshmidt, who tied the knot June 14 at the historic midtown hotel, said two suits were being contemplated.

The hotel is at fault, Brafman contends, for canceling the posh party for 350 people "long after the area was cleared by police," and guest Vladimir Gotlibovsky, 42, of Brooklyn, was at fault for "the danger he caused" by allegedly bringing in the pistol.

Because the shooting occurred in the Park Avenue lobby and the reception was to be held in the Grand Ballroom, there was no need to cancel the costly party, which involved dining, dancing, and a band, Brafman said.

"We certainly understand and appreciate Ms. Goldschmidt's disappointment; however, the decision to cancel the reception was based on the paramount concerns of the safety and security of our guests and team members including the guests of her wedding," a Waldorf spokeswoman said in a statement.

Brafman declined to say how much the reception cost. But wedding planner Audrey Pierot, owner of Audrey Pierot Events, said it was "definitely in the hundreds of thousands of dollars."

A wedding, she said, is typically a "show must go on" event, with receptions continuing despite power outages, weather disasters, fist fights among family members and $8,000 cakes toppling off tables. "People drop dead at weddings and they just get rid of them: (Planners) pretend they broke a leg, screen them off and an ambulance comes and takes them away," so as not to detract from a celebratory occasion, said Pierot.

Gotlibovsky was arrested and charged with criminally negligent assaults, reckless endangerment and evidence tampering. His brother, Felix Gotlibovsky, 51, also of Brooklyn, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and evidence tampering as well.

A spokesman for the Manhattan District Attorney, however, said in a statement, that prosecution was being deferred "while the investigation continues ... The person believed to have discharged the weapon has a permit authorizing him to possess and carry it," said the DA.


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