For the very wealthy, a family reunion can be whatever fantastical experience they wish. Money is no object for a man pulling in four million a year, but nickel and dime-ing a vendor is another side of this nouveau riche coin, or at least it is for the man who runs the Nasdaq stock exchange.
Robert Greifeld held a family reunion in Ireland, with some guests going over the Atlantic on the Queen Mary in the very lap of luxury. Mr. Greifeld was joined by sixteen adults and seven children, stayed for a week at Luttrellstown Castle in County Dublin, and enjoyed every manner of medieval entertainments. The place was populated by actors in costume, the menu featured wild boar, and the guests learned the finer points of falconry and jousting. For those with the cash, immersion in another era is a luxurious way to party, courtesy of Tours of Enchantment.
After going over the final tab with a very sharp pencil, Mr. Greifeld calculated that he had been overcharged by $70,000 on a total bill of $610,000, and he refused to settle his bill in full. Naturally, Gregory Patrick of Tours of Enchantment had to take the man to court to get paid. For a business owner, that's a lot of money.
Unfortunately, Mr. Patrick failed to prove his case, so he has appealed to a higher New Jersey court. Given that he is now providing some very precise detailed billing statements in regard to the disputed charges, his initial suit must have been dismissed for lack of evidence. To hedge his bets, Mr. Patrick is holding the DVDs that record the glorious week in Ireland, and if Mr. Greifeld wants to see them, he has to pay his bills.
From the very beginning, Mr. Patrick played the game according to the wrong rules. He was dealing with a certain type of businessman, the one who thrives on making deals and getting the better of his adversary. The sort that cheats and so expects that everyone else is cheating him. The sort that will dispute every penny so that his ego gets a boost when he squeezes out a discount of a few dollars.
By the same token, the savvy business owner will pad the bill, adding in what he has every intention of taking out as a sort of give-away. Why, it's as if he's doing his client a favor by lowering the price on item A and taking a little off the cost of item B, and as the buyer walks away thinking he got the best of the deal, the business owner is relieved to have gotten his target price. It's the law of the pushcart, and just because a man makes $4 million a year doesn't mean he's left that mentality behind. Mr. Patrick has spent upwards of $50,000 on legal fees, while Mr. Greifeld is said to have spent close to $100,000. For a bill of $70,000.
It's no wonder that Greifeld wanted to go to private mediation and bring in a Dublin accountant to go over the figures, to settle the thing without publicity. He's looking quite petty in the eyes of an average working man, cheap in a robber baron sort of way, and rather ugly.