VB The Wise: Oh Poop

It's Senator Elizabeth Warren's favorite "curse" word. I'm guessing it's not Tom Golisano's however. Who's Golisano you ask? Well, he's a billionaire who once owned the Buffalo Sabres, and he thrice ran for Governor of New York as an Independent candidate (spending almost $100 million in the process). All of that provides the backdrop to this: Golisano has a poop problem. Specifically, a goose poop problem. Golisano and his wife, former tennis player Monica Seles, own a waterfront mansion in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. And that property is under assault. The goose poop is so bad on the property that Golisano has informed the town that he will no longer pay his property taxes, since the value of the property is greatly diminished by the town's inability to deal with the geese. As Golisano said, "this summer was horrible. You can't walk barefoot, can't play frisbee, can't have grandchildren around..." So currently he is in arrears some $90K in taxes, and he's vowing to begin a class action lawsuit against the town.

Here's what I love about the story. Golisano is worth $3.4 billion. Andy, all that money is useless when it comes to geese that want to poop. He said that he has tried stringing fishing line, setting up wolf d echoes, even spreading animal urine around his property, and none of that has worked. (How can you not love the idea of a $3.4 billionaire on his lawn sprinkling wolf pee all over, and then hours later cursing from his window as the geese laugh at him and spit (yes I said spit) in his face). Picture this, at some point last summer Monica Seles, the former #1 tennis player in the world, yelled at Golisano to "do something about those damned geese!" And Golisano yelled back "What do you want me to do? There's nothing I can do!!!!" And the two sat there yelling at each other because yelling at the geese didn't work. For some reason that thought puts a huge smile on my face.

In the end, I suppose as a capitalist I'd like to think $3 billion should be enough to eliminate a goose problem. But there's something comforting knowing that at least in upstate New York, it's not even close to enough. Nobody likes goose poop, but when it is completely hamstringing someone so filthy rich, I can help but chuckle. I know it's inconsistent on my part, but what can I say? What can I say, other than "Oh poop."

More wisdom next week.


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