Alexander Maryasin has a rather active imagination. The Queens man says he used his American Express Black Card to book a vacation to Sardinia with his son, but was taken hostage for two weeks at the hotel Amex recommended, so he's now suing American Express and the hotel for the horrific treatment they were forced to endure. Maryasin says he used the exclusive card to book a trip to Hotel Cala di Volpe, one of Italy's most expensive resorts. But when he and his son arrived to check in, their passports were confiscated and they were forced by hotel staffers—at gunpoint—to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars shopping at boutiques around town, charges that were conveniently placed on his Amex card. Even more disturbing? To add insult to injury, Maryasin says the hotel staff pushed him into the pool, too.
Now, two years after the five-star hostage situation supposedly went down, the Maryasins have filed suit against American Express and Starwood Hotels, which owns Cala di Volpe, for the crimes allegedly committed against them. And they're asking that a court award them extra damages, since Maryasin Sr. hasn't been able to hold a job ever since, and his son has required surgery "to alleviate the physical symptoms of his psychological injuries."
If you've booked a room at the $1,000-a-night hotel this summer and this tale of terror is giving you second thoughts, you may want to note that Maryasin seems to have quite the history of filing lawsuits that later get settled out of court. (See below.) On the other hand, if you've been trying to come up with a dramatic story to get out of paying your credit card bill this month, keep in mind that Maryasin has set the bar pretty high.
The case against American Express and Starwood—and the 13 different lawsuits that Maryasin has filed in Queens alone in recent years—are below.