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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 July, 2004, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK
Bennett demands dinner bid refund
Tony Bennett
Mr Bennett said he had not agreed to the sale of dinner with him
Singer Tony Bennett has called on the organisers of a concert to refund a man who bid $15,000 (8,300) in a charity auction to eat dinner with him.

Gary Pusateri, 52, thought he would dine with the singer - but instead only shook his hand before eating on another floor of the same restaurant.

Pusateri said he was disappointed because he had felt he had been misled.

Mr Bennett, who ate with his own guests, said he had not approved the sale of a post-show dinner.

I really wanted to be with him. That's why I bid extra
Gary Pusateri, auction bidder

'Big disappointment'

Mr Pusateri, a retired computer analyst from Washington, won the package including "dinner with Tony Bennett" after a fierce bidding battle in an auction to raise money for Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

But when he went to the Italian restaurant, he and 100 other diners could only shake the singer's hand before dining elsewhere in the same restaurant.

"It was a big disappointment," he said. "I really wanted to be with him. That's why I bid extra."

Mr Bennett's son and manager Danny said: "The decision to auction off a post-show dinner with the singer was made without Mr Bennett's approval or knowledge."

A spokesman for the hospital said there were "ongoing discussions" to resolve the matter and that the auctioneer's script had been wrongly worded.

"It was not the intention to mislead anyone," he said.

"Here was this man making this fine, generous gesture and we're very sorry that the situation turned out to disappoint him."

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