Waldorf wedding gunman sues hotel for ‘overreacting’ and cancelling the reception

Anna Goldshmidt s wedding was meant to be the talk of the town. Beneath a canopy of white flowers in the art deco Waldorf Astoria hotel, 350 guests assembled to watch the jewel-adorned bride in her fairytale strapless gown marry financier Elan Stratiyevsky, in a traditional Jewish ceremony. But Miss Goldshmidt was unaware that, during the cocktail reception before the June 13 ceremony, her groom s cousin had shot a guest firing his Ruger 9mm pistol by accident, and grazing the head of 55-year-old Maya Rafailovich, who was taken to hospital. The wedding ceremony in New York1 went ahead but afterwards the management of the Park Lane hotel called the $750,000 reception off, saying that they feared for the safety of the guests.

Waldorf Wedding Gunman Sues Hotel For 'overreacting' And Cancelling The ReceptionMaya Rafailovich’s wound is visible as she smokes a cigarette after being grazed by bullet on the head Photo: ANGUS MORDANT/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Miss Goldshmidt, police sources said, was hysterical at the news and let out a blood curdling scream . She and her husband are suing Vladimir Gotlibovsky, the man who fired the gun. But on Thursday it was reported that he in turn is suing the Waldorf Astoria, accusing them of overreacting by cancelling the reception. He argues that the Waldorf should pay at least half of what the court awards the couple, because the hotel unnecessarily cancelled the reception.

He was not responsible for the cancellation of the wedding reception, said Christopher Chang, lawyer for the Bronx liquor store owner. Mr Gotlibovsky, 42, legally carried the gun and has not been charged with any offence. The fact of the matter is after the firearm discharged, the hotel was secure and the reception could have gone forward.

A Waldorf Astoria New York spokesperson told The New York Post: 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.

Waldorf Wedding Gunman Sues Hotel For 'overreacting' And Cancelling The ReceptionPolice stand guard at the main entrance to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel following the accidental firing of a pistol Photo: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

A woman can be seen on hotel surveillance video passing by him just before the gun was discharged and may have accidentally bumped into him, causing it to fire, sources said2. The bullet tore a hole in Mr Gotlibovsky s trousers and ricocheted off the marble floor. After the gun was fired, Mr Gotlibovsky gave the gun to his brother, who took it out of the hotel.

The guy s an idiot. It was during cocktail hour. It was just stupid that he brought it, a guest said.

It was not the first time he had mistakenly fired his gun. On Christmas Eve 2014 he accidentally shot himself in the foot3. But police still allowed him to carry a gun, as he said he needed it for protection, given the nature of his business. Wedding singer Roxanne Freedove told The New York Daily News4 the massive ballroom at the historic hotel which sat empty as guests were kept in another room was decked out in thousands of white flowers, candles, and extravagant table settings. Huge platters of shrimp and caviar were thrown away when the reception was called off.

There was so much food and obviously so much money put into it, she said. I just felt terrible for the bride. To have all of that happen on your wedding day.

And Miss Goldshmidt remains seething.

Her dream wedding was cancelled and can never be recaptured, the law suit against Mr Gotlibovsky said.

There will never be a wedding album; what was to be the happiest day of her life turned into a disaster.


  1. ^ in New York (www.discountholidays.info)
  2. ^ sources said (nypost.com)
  3. ^ accidentally shot himself in the foot (www.nydailynews.com)
  4. ^ told The New York Daily News (www.nydailynews.com)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • No product categories exist.