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Producer Must Pay Landscaper

Jury Adds a Million Dollars in Punitive Damages


Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Santa Barbara jury has ordered Jon Peters, famous Hollywood producer, one-time hairdresser, and former husband of Barbara Streisand, to pay Santa Barbara landscaper Arturo Gonzales the $500,000 Gonzales said Peters still owed him, plus another million dollars in punitive damages. The award came after a five-week trial over a $3 million contract dispute between Peters and Gonzales, involving workon Peters’s El Capitan Ranch along the Gaviota coast.

Gonzales charged that Peters refused to pay the full amount, claiming he should get a $500,000 discount based on the amount of work he’d sent Gonzales’s way. In addition, Gonzales charged that someone falsified his signature on a document that purported to release Peters of any financial liability for unpaid bills.

Gonzales had sought punitive damages of $2 million. According to court documents, Peters vehemently denied the forgery. “I don’t lie. I don’t cheat. I won 40 academy awards. I have five children,” he said. “I’ve got a temper. I get angry - I punch people - but I don’t lie.”

Peters, who’s owned the El Capitan Ranch for nearly four years, just put 200 acres of the historic property up for sale and another 3,000 up for the lease. His asking price is $12.5 million.

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