What’s the hottest Rolex story in New York? Well it could be the recent conviction of “one-legged millionaire Thomas Hartmann”, as the press are calling him, of assaulting Russian stripper-masseuse Sophia Kandelaki with his gold Rolex (on his wrist) after an altercation outside restaurant Baraonda on the Upper East Side.
Kandelaki, who described herself in court as a "gunpoint kidnapping survivor, a reality star hopeful, a stripper, a private shopper, a vegan chef, a singer, a composer and an expert in 'deep, inner tantric massage’”, said that the attack was unprovoked, whilst Hartman stated that what happened was an accident that occurred after he "lost his balance on his prosthetic leg when [Kandelaki] reached in his pants for his giant wad of cash."'
The origins of Hartmann's missing leg and his millions are already a part of New York history. He was awarded more than $19.6 million by a jury after he lost his leg in 2004 when a police officer in a patrol car, trying to catch Hartmann for harassing his then-wife, ran him over.
Hartman himself served a six year custodial sentence in 1992 for stealing a car and setting it on fire and leading police officers in a car chase during a second vehicle theft. He also served a two year sentence just before the car theft, for stabbing a man in the face.
According to trial testimony, Hartmann was having a rather extravagant and exuberant dinner at the restaurant when Kandelaki and a friend joined his table. By all accounts, things went on swimmingly until they left. The subsequent altercation left Kandelaki with a large gash on her face.
The situation was further complicated by Hartman’s defence lawyer stating that Kandelaki called 1-800-LAWYERS from her hospital bed in hopes of a big payout of her own in an ongoing civil case.
Bemusingly, Kandelaki’s professional activities were subject to much court time.
"Men and women are naked," she told the jury at one point, describing her massage technique. "It has to be done really sensual, slow way," she explained.
"And it is a lot of touching, like, all over the body," she added, illustrating the point with gestures.
“Touching the private parts also, yes," she added.
Harman is due to be sentenced on 7 February.
Clearly, the actual Rolex model doesn't seem to be of interest to anyone but me, as I can find no details about it, not even a photo.