The Pebble Beach art heist is turning into one of the most embellished stories ever to hit the media. Tawana Brawley and the Duke Lacrosse rape case may have been more lurid but this better entertainment. The Monterey County Herald gets into the act. Here they interview Angelo Amadio who claims, among many other things, to be a law student:
Amadio quickly dove into telling how the two teamed up to collect and sell art, first as a dot-com company. They then operated a private in-home showroom in Boston, where they dealt with other art collectors, including a neighbor who played for the New England Patriots.
A few minutes later, Amadio confessed that he knows “nothing about art.” But his role in the partnership with Kennaugh was “find it, buy it and sell it.” And he said he has good connections in the art world.
In 2001, Amadio said, research he did for a big-time art broker involved in the pending sale of a lot of Pollock paintings revealed that some of them weren’t authentic.
In gratitude, he said, a would-be buyer gave the men one of the real Pollocks — the same one they now say was taken from an upstairs office nook, where it was rolled up for storage. The broker, he said, wound up dying, an art world casualty of “cocaine overdose out West,” he said.
The reporter does a good job of letting Amadio’s fantasy life speak for itself. By now there have been numerous reports of Amadio’s adventures in the puppy breeding business:
In an e-mail, Amadio said another reason Kennaugh left Boston was to help him launch a new venture capital company called Alternative Asset Investments Inc. He said they’ve had many businesses over the years while trying “to keep a quiet life.”
One of the businesses, Manx Puppies LLC, was selling pedigree golden retriever puppies. Amadio said he’s out of the dog business now. He said it turned ugly.
An Internet search turns up postings on a consumer complaint Web site that level accusations about allegedly sick dogs Amadio sold people. He said 99 percent of the complaints are lies. He says after the postings appeared he was subjected to blackmail — pay up and the postings will disappear. And Amadio said his identity was stolen three years ago by someone who kept selling dogs in his name.
The consumer complaint site, according to public records, has been hit with more than a dozen civil lawsuits alleging defamation, and in at least one case, allegations of extortion.
But the coup de grace comes at the very end of the article, as it should, when Amadio airily contradicts every previous statement about the stolen art he has estimated at anywhere from $27 to $80 million:
In the end, he said, the monetary value of art depends solely on what someone is willing to pay for it.
“We lost a couple of million dollars out of pocket,” he said. “We’re willing to let it go.”
Pebble Beach Art Heist Puts Collectors in the Spotlight (Monterey County Herald)