Pebble Beach Pollock Case Gives Year-End Burst Of Crazy

Thanks to Find The Warhols! and the Pebble Beach Pollock, 2009 was the Year Of Sketchy Art Thefts here on Definitely didn't see that coming. But after a couple of intense months, both cases have grown dishearteningly cold of late.

Fortunately, Benjamin Amadio, the collector/dealer/consultant/puppy mill operator/boy toy/possible insurance scammer decided to end the year with a flourish. According to the Contra Costa Times, Amadio filed a "rambling complaint" with the Monterey County district attorney using his lawyer/boss/law school professor's letterhead, demanding an investigation of the local sheriff for botching the theft investigation--and for persecuting a friend of his with check kiting charges or something.

The lawyer has publicly disavowed the complaint, whose "subjects swing from accusations of sex slavery to a detective's allergy to cats." Also, the reported insurance policy on the supposed $20-60-80 million hoard turns out to have been off-the-shelf, $500,000 renter's insurance.

UPDATE local CBS affiliate KION has published the full text of the complaint. It's like an un-spellchecked script for a telenovela.

But rambling incoherence and teenage psychodrama aside, Amadio's memo does put what he calls the "Pebble Beach Art Heist" into the context of several months of wrangling with/persecution by the Monterey County Sheriff's Office. And we get some new characters/suspects: the art driver Todd Griffiths [to whom Dr Kennaugh had given some kind of educational grant, which he canceled?], some other live-in waitresses and hangers-on, and a possible lockbox-stealing guesthouse squatter [their house was a repossessed rental.]

None of this changes the fact, though, that Amadio consistently calls prints "paintings," or that their still-unseen Pollock is still almost certainly a fiction, fake or fraud. [thanks reader chris for the heads up.]

Rambling complaint is latest twist in Pebble Beach art heist []

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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first published: December 29, 2009.

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