No one’s crazy about goose poop.
Gripes from entitled billionaires are no fun either.
Just ask the nurse from Canandaigua who scolded Paycheck founder Tom Golisano in a scathing opinion column published today in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle newspaper.
Golisano is refusing to pay the $90,000 he owes in school taxes on his vacation home on Lake Canandaigua because the local officials won’t take measures to keep the geese — and their poop — off his lawn that extends graciously down to the waterline.
But Alice DeMallie would have none of it.
“I believe his actual problems are of his own making: a lifestyle of excess, poor environmental stewardship, and absentee property ownership,” she opined.
“He chose to impose the misguided aesthetic of a large manicured lawn on our lakefront,” DeMallie added. “In addition to attracting the geese he despises more than would a natural, wooded shore, his choice contributes to accelerated erosion.”
Golisano called a press conference last month to vent about the geese that he says are destroying the value of his 2,900-square foot house in South Bristol. The property has 850 feet of lake frontage, and its annual taxes are a whopping $132,000.
He argues that local government has a responsibility to protect his investment. “We are not talking about a few geese who occasionally land for lunch,” he said. “We are talking about up to 200 geese at a time that refuse to leave.”
Golisano, 75, has a net worth of $3.2 billion, according to Forbes. He is a former unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor. He has an internationally famous younger wife — former world No. 1 tennis star Monica Seles, 43. And he’s conspicuously generous, having pledged at least $20 million to the University of Rochester’s Golisano Children’s Hospital.
But he doesn’t like feeling short-changed, and he’s not shy about going to the mat when his sense of outrage boils over.
He’s sued and won reductions in property taxes on his home in Mendon, and he’s currently suing decorators on his 247-yacht Laurel for $400,000 in refunds on a $845,000 bill.
In the case of the Canandaiguan geese, he’s angry because as a Florida resident he doesn’t have a vote in elections of local officials who could crack down for him.
DeMallie can’t dredge up much sympathy. “A vote is about participating in the life of a community, not buying a say,” she wrote in her Nov. 11 column. “It is hard to listen with a straight face to any argument that in our democracy today someone of his wealth has too little say.
“Golisano should accept the choices he has made and pay his bills.”
Such a first-world problem – and encountered by a person who is so far in the economic stratosphere, he flies well above the geese he so despises…