Casa Casuarina (Formerly Versace Mansion) Ordered to Pay $197,706.79 for Terminating Former Manager Without Cause

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A unanimous American Arbitration Association panel today ordered Casa Casuarina to pay $197,706.79 to Reto Gaudenzi, the former general manager of Casa Casuarina (formerly the Versace Mansion), finding that he had been fired without cause (case No. 50 116T 00154 06). Mr. Gaudenzi was represented by Sean M. Ellsworth and Nick Bravin of Ellsworth Law Firm, P.A.

Besides violating the letter of our employment agreement

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A unanimous American Arbitration Association panel today ordered Casa Casuarina to pay $197,706.79 to Reto Gaudenzi, the former general manager of Casa Casuarina (formerly the Versace Mansion), finding that he had been fired without cause. This amount includes $90,000 in attorney’s fees, and $17,959.79, in arbitration costs (case No. 50 116T 00154 06).

Mr. Gaudenzi, a renowned hotelier and International Polo star who managed world-class hotels in Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Greece, and Kenya, was hired by Casa Casuarina to turn the former Versace Mansion into a private club, to be used as a restaurant, lounge, and hotel. After less than a year on the job, Peter Loftin, a telecommunications mogul who bought the former Versace Mansion in 2000, terminated Mr. Gaudenzi via facsimile. Mr. Gaudenzi filed his arbitration claim over a year ago, contending his termination violated the terms of his employment contract.

“Besides violating the letter of our employment agreement,” Mr. Gaudenzi said, “I feel Mr. Loftin violated the spirit of honorable business by firing me by fax. At least he should have had the courage and decency to address me to discuss matters of concern.”

After a three day hearing, the arbitration panel unanimously agreed that Casa Casuarina had violated the contract. The panel concluded that Gaudenzi was fired without “cause,” as that term is defined in the Employment Agreement, and awarded Gaudenzi $75,000 plus prejudgment interest, costs of arbitration, and attorney’s fees in the amount of $197,706.79.

“Given the resources of Peter Loftin and Casa Casuarina, this is a true David versus Goliath story,” said Sean M. Ellsworth, Mr. Gaudenzi’s attorney, noting “Peter Loftin hired teams of lawyers and forensic accountants in a futile attempt to uncover some impropriety on the part of my client, and we believe he knew full well that there was nothing to find.” He added: “The vindication of my client was a long time in coming, but we were confident an impartial panel would see things for what they were and reach the right result.”

Mr. Gaudenzi was represented by Sean M. Ellsworth and Nick Bravin of Ellsworth Law Firm, P.A. Casa Casuarina was represented by Guy Lewis (former Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida) and Mike Tein of Lewis Tein, PL, and Stephen Montalto of Gaebe, Mullen, Antonelli, Esco & DiMatteo.

Contact: Sean Ellsworth, Esq.
Telephone: 305-535-2529
Email: media @ ellslaw.com
Web Site: http://www.ellslaw.com

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