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US telco boss in $241,000 strip club bill shocker

I was robbed, claims Savvis supremo

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The boss of US IT firm Savvis is on unpaid leave while his firm attempts to get to the bottom of whether or not he blew $241,000 on his corporate credit card in a New York strip joint.

According to American Express, Robert McCormick - accompanied by three chums - flashed the plastic in Scores nightclub and then disputed the charges. The credit card company claims the entire bill remains unpaid and has issued a lawsuit against McCormick to recoup its money, the BBC reports. Savvis has said McCormick did not try to charge the bill back to the company.

Savvis reckons McCormick was fleeced by Scores which has been sued before over its hefty bills. Deena Williamson, Savvis's deputy general counsel, said: "We firmly believe that Mr McCormick was the victim of fraud."

Not so, countered Scores spokesman Lonnie Hanover, explaining: "We got authorization for all of the charges. We followed proper procedures and documentation, and we were paid." The nightclub further said it gets punters to "confirm their spending every time it climbs above $10,000, even going as far as to fingerprint them and get them to talk to their credit card companies over the phone".

And in case you're wondering exactly how you rack up a $241k tab in lapdances and champagne, Scores was last year sued by Tauhidul Chaudhury who managed to work his way through $129,626 on four credit cards during a marathon seven-hour session. According to the lawsuit, although Chaudhury was "clearly and obviously intoxicated", the club continued to ply Chaudhury with "alcoholic beverages and other services, including causing Chaudhury to be admitted into a private room".

A big chunk of the cash went in $5,000 tips to 15 dancers - "way more than you have to give them" as Hanover put it. He also stumped up $5k to rent one of the club's Presidential Rooms and "generously tipped the personal wine steward, maitre d' and waitress who came with the private room", according to the New York Daily News.

Chaudhury said he could not recall authorising the disputed charges - allegedly enough for 6,500 lap dances or 39 bottles of Krug champagne at $3,316 a bottle, the press reported at the time - and his complaint rather splendidly stated: "If the credit card receipts do contain his signature, he did not possess the requisite mental capacity to authorize these charges."

To add extra spice to the Chaudhury tale of woe, his missus - Muna Tasneem - was a Bangladeshi diplomat to the United Nations who was immediately recalled to Dhaka in disgrace. Scores declined to pay back the cash, saying the claimant "partied like a potentate". The case remains unresolved. ®

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