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Couple to Sue Waldorf for Canceling Reception After Guest Discharged a Gun

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A couple is suing Manhattan’s Waldorf Astoria hotel for cutting short their posh wedding after a guest accidentally discharged a gun, grazing one woman’s head and injuring three more people.

“After the ceremony and long after the crime scene in the lobby had been contained and cleared by the police, the Waldorf canceled the reception to be held in the grand ballroom, for no reason whatsoever, and basically threw out all of the guests,” attorney Benjamin Brafman, who is representing the newly married Anna Goldshmidt and Elan Stratiyevsky, said in a statement to the New York Daily News. “We intend to sue or negotiate with all parties responsible for the cancellation of what was planned to be an extraordinary, lavish wedding.”

The couple may also sue Vladimir Gotlibovsky, 42, the guest who fired the gun at the June 13 wedding. Formal charges against him have been deferred, with police saying it seemed to be completely accidental.

According to the police, Gotlibovsky had the gun in his pocket at the wedding, and discharged it while pulling out his seating card. The bullet ricocheted off the floor and hit Maya Rafailovich, 55. She was rushed to Bellevue Hospital with a visible but not apparently serious head wound and released late that evening.

Three other people, all of whom suffered leg injuries from glass, marble and tile scattered by the bullet, were also taken to local hospitals.

The couple has declined to state how much was spent on the wedding; the average national wedding cost as of 2012 was $28,400, so this wedding likely cost substantially more.

The wedding singer booked for the reception, Roxanne Freedove, told the Daily News that the swanky ballroom had been decorated with thousands of white flowers and candles, and that trays of caviar and other extravagant dishes went uneaten.

A spokesperson for Waldorf Astoria New York cited safety concerns as the reason for the cancellation: “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,” the spokesperson said.