N.J. Dry Cleaner Who Lost Suit Makes Santa’s Naughty List

By | December 19, 2007

A Cherry Hill, N.J. dry cleaner now knows how to get on Santa’s naughty list: lose his suit.

Donning a new red velvet suit with soft white trim and shiny black boots, a perfectly jolly Max Weisberg arrived through the front door, not chimney, of Royal Cleaners to deliver a grievance, not a gift, this Christmas season.

Weisberg wanted the world to know that the cleaner gave away his red velvet suit, then refused to reimburse him for the replacement.

The family-owned dry cleaner acknowledges the mixup, but claims Weisberg was asking for too much for the suit. “It was old,” said Jean Hwang, who said she’s the owner’s sister.

Weisberg, 54, is a civilian employee of the Navy. But his passion is hamming it up. His favorite role is Santa, whom he’s been playing at events for about a dozen years.

“They go, ‘You’re skinny and you’re Jewish,”‘ he said. But he says he wins them over with charm.

After last Christmas, he took his suit to the cleaner for some spiffing up.

But when he went to pick it up, they didn’t have it. They had accidentally given the suit to someone else.

A few months later, Weisberg bought a replacement for $374.50, including tax.

Royal Cleaners balked at reimbursing him, arguing that used Santa-wear could be found for under $100 online.

“We told him we’d pay for half,” Hwang said.

But Weisberg said the old suit was in good shape and he was due the whole amount. So earlier this month, off he went to small claims court.

Hwang did not show up. She explained Monday that there was no one else to mind the store.

Without opposition, Weisberg was awarded $396.50 _ to cover the suit and court costs. But he had to collect the money himself.

Weisberg, who is married to a public-relations person, decided to do it with flair.

His wife’s firm notified the media that he would be dropping by the shop on Monday.

He burst in, television cameras rolling.

“Merry Christmas! Have you been a good girl?” he asked a smiling Hwang.

Hwang promised to put the check in the mail to Weisberg the next day.

Weisberg made a promise, too: If it didn’t arrive, he’d be back to protest again.

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