Joan Fleishman is back on the beat, reporting on how personal injury attorney Jim Ferraro played Runaway Groom:
Ferraro, set to marry prominent real estate broker Patricia Delinois on Friday in a formal ceremony at Fisher Island's Vanderbilt Mansion, jilted her -- at the altar -- as they were about to exchange vows before 75 to 80 guests.Wow. I guess it's better to make this type of decision before it's too late.
Ferraro, 50, in a black tuxedo with a silk shirt, walked down the aisle first. His escort: Mary High, mother of former NFL player and UM star Eddie Brown. High works for Ferraro, helping care for his children.
Delinois, 44, wore an off-white gown with lace, beads and crystals.
After five years of dating, the couple were to finally tie the knot. But, says Ferraro: 'When it was time to say `I do,' I just said, 'I love her but I just can't do this.' '' He walked away, flanked by sons James, 21, Andrew, 18, and daughter Alexis, 14.
The audience gasped. Delinois' sister, Ingrid Long, told off Ferraro -- loudly. Some say she yelled, ''You dog!'' Not so, Long says. ``I called him a snake. I think I even called him a few other things. I was trying very hard not to curse, but I think a few curse words came out.''
Says Ferraro: ``It was dramatic.''
Delinois declined to comment Saturday. But Friday evening she remained poised, greeting guests. Among them: Alto Reed, a saxophonist with Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band; NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti; Rene Ruiz, a Coral Gables couturier who designed Delinois' gown and Ferraro's tux; telecom magnate Peter Loftin, owner of the former Versace mansion Casa Casuarina; construction tycoon Tom MurphyJr.; custom home builders Gary and Dana Shear; Lea Black, wife of criminal defense attorney Roy Black; and MarcRandazzo, who co-owns Randazzo's Little Italy restaurant with Ferraro. The Rev. Milan R. Kralik, who officiated, thanked everyone for coming and encouraged them to support the couple.
''There's not much you can say at a time like this,'' Kralik says.
Many were not surprised. It was an on-again, off-again romance. The couple applied for a marriage license in 2005. ''Not returned,'' county records say. They applied again on Jan. 4 and finalized their plans.
But at 8:36 a.m. Friday, Delinois e-mailed friends: ''After a lot of thought I think it's best that this wedding is canceled.'' A few hours later, she sent another e-mail: ``Relationships are not easy, but I think we have both reached that turning point and it is time for us to recognize and affirm our love by marriage. So we are getting married tonight. The ceremony starts at 7 p.m.''
Ferraro says he never planned to ditch her. ``I really intended on doing it. I tried my best.''
One insider estimates the affair cost $100,000.
Feeling awkward, some guests left. Others stayed for the reception and dinner. Ferraro went to an upstairs bar to chill, and later headed to the reception to apologize for how things turned out.
The issue, he says, was not money. ''We did have a prenup.'' She is CEO of Century 21 Premier Elite Realty. He has law offices in Miami and Cleveland, owns the Cleveland Gladiators arena football team, has a private jet, and built a 21,000-square-foot compound in Martha's Vineyard -- with 14 bedrooms, tennis court, basketball court, nine-hole putting green, movie theater, and weight and cardio gyms.
This time, Ferraro figures, their romance is done for good. ``She probably doesn't ever want to talk to me again.''