The Satanic Andrew Crispo
New York art gallery owner Andrew Crispo, a well-connected socialite linked by author Maury Terry to the Son of Sam cult (see The Ultimate Evil) is the prodigy and a key American agent of Fritz Thyssen: the German industrialist who joined the Nazi Party in 1923, contributed generously to the Nazi remilitarization effort and introduced Allen Dulles to Adolf Hitler. For more on Crispo's fascinating patrons, see David France's Bag of Toys (synopsis below). – AC]
Bag of Toys
Synopsis (Back Cover of Book)
On a balmy February evening in 1985, three men -- one rich, one poor and one unsuspecting -- came together. When the sun rose over Manhattan, one of the three was dead, his body mutilated and burned, a black leather mask pulled over his head.
Bag of Toys tells the story of Andrew Crispo, one of the wealthiest power brokers in the New York art scene...and Bernard LeGeros, the street-wise tough who became Crispo's partner in sex and depravity. And it is the chilling tale of an orgiastic night of sadomasochism and violence that ended in the brutal death of Norwegian fashion student Eigil Vesti.
Written by award-winning journalist David France, Bag of Toys rips the veil of secrecy off a celebrity-studded world where every sexual urge could be satisfied...and murder was the ultimate thrill.
First Pinnacle Printing: August, 1994
Published by Windsor Publishing Corp.,
850 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022
Crispo Threatened Lawyer Who Saved His Business
New York Law Journal
May 27, 1999
New York art dealer Andrew Crispo's alleged plot to kidnap a bankruptcy attorney's child is bizarre on its face, but is stranger still considering the scheme threatened the lawyer who helped rescue his business empire from disarray.
In her work for the court-appointed bankruptcy trustee, the former
McDermott, Will & Emery lawyer, whose identity is being withheld to protect her child, marshalled so many of Mr. Crispo's assets and resolved so many disputes that he was set to receive several million dollars even after all creditors were paid, a rare outcome in any bankruptcy.
Despite the success of the case, Mr. Crispo, who ran one of New York's priciest art galleries, has been at odds with the McDermott Will lawyers several times over the three-year span of the proceedings. He has complained that the attorneys were controlling the bankruptcy estate's purse strings too tightly. Last Friday, when Mr. Crispo was told that the estate's trustee, Robert Weiner, a McDermott Will partner, had not approved a $2,000 check for him, he became hostile to a paralegal on the phone.
According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Mr. Crispo told the paralegal he had photographs of the 4-year-old daughter of an attorney who had worked on the case, knew where she played and would kidnap her unless he was paid the $2,000 immediately.
Mr. Crispo, who has served three years in prison for tax evasion, was arrested at home on Monday and charged with threatening a kidnapping on Tuesday.
Southern District Magistrate Judge Michael Dolinger denied bail after a federal prosecutor, David Greenwald, noted that Mr. Crispo had a history of arrests, including one case in which he was acquitted of kidnapping and torturing a man during a 1984 party at his gallery. Mr. Greenwald described Friday's outburst as part of "a two-year campaign of threats directed against the mother."
The woman told investigators that Mr. Crispo had threatened to kill her several times and, in 1997, two adults grabbed her daughter in a Central Park playground, photographed her and then let her go.
Mr. Crispo, who was carrying crack cocaine when he was arrested, is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, according to his criminal defense lawyer, Gerald M. Labush.
Mr. Weiner, in a prepared statement, said his firm will continue to assist the U.S. Attorney's office as it investigates. "We are obviously concerned about the welfare and safety of everyone concerned," he wrote. "Because this matter is under active investigation, we are unable to comment further."
Before the case took this nightmarish turn, it was among the most glamorous on the bankruptcy docket, taking the McDermott Will lawyers to Sotheby's, where they organized three auctions to sell off a cache of Mr. Crispo's paintings and sculptures in order to repay his creditors.
The lawyers helped write the glossy catalogs printed to advertise Mr. Crispo's collection and assisted in setting the so-called "reserve" prices below which the works would not be sold.
The auctions raised $14 million -- $4 to $6 million more than expected -- and set record prices for the works of two painters, Georgia O'Keefe and Stuart Davis.
The McDermott team also succeeded in stopping foreclosure on a Colonial-era house Mr. Crispo owned in Charleston, S.C., known as the Pineapple House. After engaging the Historic Charleston Foundation to confer about the house's value, making repairs, hiring landscapers and marketing the property, the house sold for $3.1 million, then a record for the Charleston residential housing market and nearly twice the foreclosure price.
With these proceeds, Mr. Crispo has been able to repay his creditors all of what he owed them, plus interest, leaving him with several million dollars to spare, according to Mr. Weiner, who spoke to the Law Journal about the case last fall.
Wayne Greenwald, a partner at New York's Greenwald & Rimberg who is Mr. Crispo's personal bankruptcy attorney, said last fall that at one point he filed a motion to disqualify Mr. Weiner as trustee at a time in the case when Mr. Crispo felt Mr. Weiner was moving at too slow a pace and being too miserly with the money being pooled.
Relations improved as Mr. Weiner gained confidence in the worth of Mr. Crispo's assets, Mr. Greenwald said. He eventually dropped the disqualification request.
Mr. Weiner has denied that he was ever slow and pointed out that as trustee, he owed allegiance not only to Mr. Crispo, but the creditors and the bankruptcy process.
Copyright ©1999 NLP IP Company
American Lawyer Media. All rights reserved.
New York Art Dealer Crispo Jailed for Kidnap Plot
NEW YORK - A Manhattan art dealer who was acquitted in a 1980s sex-torture case was sentenced to seven years in prison on Wednesday for threatening to kidnap a lawyer's daughter in an attempt to get money from a bankruptcy trustee.
A U.S. District Court judge said Andrew Crispo, who once ran a sumptuous gallery featuring the work of prominent artists, must pay a fine of $45,000, and restitution of $45,000 to lawyer Sandra Mayerson, mother of the 4-year-old girl. The judge also ordered Crispo to be supervised for three years after he completed his 85-month sentence.
Crispo, who could have received a maximum 30-year prison term, was convicted by a federal jury in October 1999 of extortion and obstruction of justice. He had been accused of threatening to kidnap the child unless the trustee released certain funds. He was also charged with threatening to injure Mayerson. During a three-week trial last year, lawyers said Crispo, 55, grew up an orphan in Philadelphia. He traded paintings, drawings, rare furniture and sculptures in New York, but was deep in debt by the 1990s.
Crispo sought U.S. Bankruptcy Court protection in 1996 for businesses, a Manhattan penthouse and a mansion in Charleston, South Carolina, all worth millions of dollars. The bankruptcy court confirmed a reorganization plan, but the trustee was to keep control of his assets until all creditors had been paid.
"Unfortunately, words once expressed can never be redacted,'' U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein told him in imposing the sentence. He urged Crispo "to take heart'' and learn from his prison experience.
Before sentencing, Crispo apologized to the victim, her family, the trustee and friends "for putting them through this ordeal. A man's character is his fate and I am ready to accept my fate,'' said Crispo, dressed in a blue prison uniform.
During the 1980s, Crispo gained notoriety for his troubles with the law. In 1984, he was charged and acquitted after a man accused him of torturing him during a sex-and-drug party at Crispo's Manhattan gallery. In 1985, he was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to evading $4 million in taxes.
Also in 1985, an employee of Crispo was convicted of murdering a Norwegian fashion student, whose body was found burned with two bullet holes in the head and a mask used in sadomasochistic rituals. Crispo was investigated but never charged in the case.