Jurors in the Tyco International corporate larceny trial watched a video tour of the $18 million company-owned apartment where former CEO Dennis Kozlowski stayed when he was in New York.
The 15-minute tape, guided by the Kozlowskis' former housekeeper, shows at least a dozen paintings, including a Monet and a Renoir, a $2,200 wastebasket, and the now-infamous $15,000 umbrella stand. The stand is a sculpted terrier on its hind legs with a brass ring through its paws to hold umbrellas.
Mariola Tarnachowicz, who made more than $80,000 the year before Tyco fired her last May, also pointed out her bathroom's $6,000 shower curtain, in a gold-and-burgundy floral pattern.
The foyer of the lavish flat on Fifth Ave. was decorated with $500,000 worth of hand-painted birds, according to John Taylor, Tyco's former director of construction. Prosecutors say some $14 million was spent to renovate and furnish the apartment at Tyco's expense.
Tarnachowicz said Kozlowski never lived in the apartment and stayed there infrequently. Sometimes he was there one or two days out of a week, sometimes for a month, and occasionally he would show up just to change clothes.
Kozlowski, 56, and Tyco's former chief financial officer, Mark Swartz, 43, are charged with grand larceny and enterprise corruption, accused of stealing some $600 million from Tyco. Each faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors allege that Kozlowski and Swartz stole $170 million by taking and hiding unauthorized pay and bonuses, raiding company loan programs and forgiving loans to themselves. They say the defendants made another $430 million on their Tyco stock by lying about the conglomerate's financial condition from 1995 into 2002.
Defense lawyers say Kozlowski and Swartz earned all their benefits and that all the appropriate overseers knew about their compensation.
After the pricey shower curtain and umbrella stand made news last fall, they quickly became symbols of executive greed. Prosecutors apparently hope those objects and other excesses allegedly paid for by Tyco have a negative impact on the jury.
Earlier this month, jurors were shown a videotape of a lavish $2 million party thrown by Kozlowski for his wife's 40th birthday. Prosecutors say Tyco footed most of the bill.
Defense lawyers blunted the effect of testimony by Taylor and Tarnachowicz by asking whether Kozlowski or Swartz had ever asked them to charge either of the executives' expenses to the company, or lie about any expenditures.
Taylor, who had worked on properties for both executives, said they had not.
"Did Dennis ever ask you to lie to anyone about anything?" Stephen Kaufman, Kozlowski's lawyer, asked Tarnachowicz.
"No, he didn't," she replied.
The former maid said she had been treated like a guest in the Kozlowskis' homes and had invited them to her own home, where she said she once cooked a large meal of Polish food for Kozlowski.
Karen Kozlowski, sitting in the audience, started weeping. "She said some very nice things about us," she said later. "For once, it's nice to hear."
The former CEO said he also appreciated the comments, and said Tarnachowicz has been "like family to us."