Landscaper wins in suit against producer
When a powerful Hollywood producer tried to stiff Santa Barbara small-business owner Arturo Gonzalez on half a million dollars of work, the landscaper stood up to the producer in court. And he won.
Gonzalez’s landscaping firm, Progressive Environmental Industries, sued two entities controlled by Jon Peters, Barbara Streisand’s ex-husband, producer of “Rain Man” and “Batman” and the owner of the $12.3 million El Capitan Ranch, a horse ranching operation west of Goleta. Gonzalez had done $2.8 million worth of work for Peters, according to court documents, but Peters refused to pay the last $500,000 and claimed that he deserved a discount because he had given Gonzalez so much business.
After a trial that lasted most of October, a jury awarded Gonzalez the $500,000 he was owed and $1 million in punitive damages. The jury also ordered Gonzalez to pay $60,000 to Peters because some of the trees Gonzalez planted showed problems and needed replacing.