[intro]Insurance Broker Says Pollock Painting is Real[/intro]
Wow. Didn’t see this coming, did you? The bizarre story of the Pebble Beach art theft has now devolved into finger-pointing accusations with Benjamin Amadio calling the Monterey Sherrif’s department corrupt or incompetent and the Sherrif doubting the existence of the art work. Amadio now claims $72,000 worth of insurance on the artwork, as the Boston Globe tells us:
The Monterey County sheriff’s commander, Mike Richards, said Dr. Ralph Hennaugh, formerly of Harvard University, and art dealer Benjamin Amadio may be involved in a “criminal enterprise,’’ and that authorities were investigating “other scenarios.’’ He said Amadio and Hennaugh […] could face charges of filing a false police report. He said fraud charges also could be considered if the evidence eventually points in that direction.
“This whole thing stinks,’’ Richards said. […] “There has been no response to requests for photographs, receipts, identification of sellers, nothing.’’
“We have $72,000 worth of insurance,’’ Amadio said. “If we wanted money, we would’ve sold the art. It’s worth millions.’
The San Francisco Chronicle quotes the pair’s insurance broker who says he saw the documentation and the Pollock painting:
Amadio said documentation of the paintings’ authenticity, including what he described as an original bill of sale from Pollock, had been stolen in the heist – but not before being seen by his insurance broker, David St. John.
In an interview Tuesday, St. John said he had seen the paintings and documents establishing their lines of ownership. He said he had been in the process of trying to insure the more valuable works, but was stymied by his clients’ landlord, who he said wouldn’t allow the installation of a security system. Amadio and Kennaugh “don’t need the money,” St. John said. “They want the art back. It’s really unfair what’s happening to these guys.”
St. John’s ex-wife is Vicki St. John, who is listed as the attorney for Alternative Asset Investments, Amadio’s company, on the firm’s Web site.
‘Art Theft’ Smells Fishy, Investigators Say (SF Chronicle)