Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Andy Warhol's Art Academy CFO Dies In Jail

Andy Warhol's Art Academy CFO Dies In Jail Protesting His Innocence

Heirs will continue multi-million dollar suits against trustees in State and Federal Courts

New York, NY June 4, 2008: John Blumatte, aka Robert Angona, aged 67, former Chief Financial Officer of The New York Academy of Art (NYAA,) died of bone-marrow leukemia in a Kentucky Federal prison last weekend after serving two years of a 4-to-8 year prison sentence received for embezzling funds from the school. Angona, as he was known in news reports of his sentencing, maintained his innocence every day of his jail term and made a dramatic deathbed deposition, weeks before his painful death. The Academy was founded in 1980, by Andy Warhol and Stuart Pivar, both Emeritus Trustees of the School.

Angona’s conviction was reverse and he sued the NYAA under the RICO (conspiracy) Act and for damages. In a recent three-day long death-bed deposition Angona told his grim tale, to five New York attorneys. It starts with his hiring in 2002 by Stephen Farthing then dean of the NYAA. Farthing hired Angona on the orders of Randy Lerner, Chairman of the Academy and billionaire-owner of the Cleveland Browns. Angona swore Farthing and Lerner needed someone “who wouldn’t ask too many questions” to “straighten out the books” over a mysteriously unaccounted for $1.6 million of NYAA’s endowment.

Angona affirmed under oath that Lerner and other NYAA Board members knew of his criminal past but turned a blind eye as they pressed him to reconstruct the Academy’s chaotic financial state at any cost.

Angonas colorful background included a number of “white-collar” financial scams, but he turned into a model Controller for the NYAA. He hired and trained the Academy’s current CFO and installed state-of-art computer systems. He managed intensive inquires of State and Federal Regulators. Angona even brought in Douglas Grover, Esq. (former head of the Brooklyn organized-crime strike force) to enforce compliance to cure financial violations. At the time Angona was hired, violations were grave enough to have landed criminal charges on NYAA’s “society name” Trustees.

All would have been well if Richard “Bo” Dietl, celebrity private eye had not been hired by Andy Warhol’s NYAA co-founder, Stuart Pivar. Acting on suspicions that events had taken a turn from mere mismanagement to the seriously criminal, Pivar personally hired Dietl who quickly uncovered Blumatte/Angona’s past.

Angona maintained that certain Trustees panicked after his true identity came to light. Adding to that panic was an extremely embarrassing international feature written by Sharon Churcher in London’s ‘Mail on Sunday’ linking the Blumatte/Angona mystery to the schools patron, HRH Prince Charles. It was then, Angona swore under oath that, through conspiracy, Farthing lied to the Grand Jury. Farthing swore to a Grand Jury he “knew nothing” about contracts he had personally signed with Angona for NYAA’s new computer system (cost $75,000) and swore that Angona embezzled that and other money. Angona conveniently became the prime suspect in the mystery of the ‘missing endowment million plus’ and financial irregularities which occurred before his arrival at NYAA.

Angona served two years of the eight year sentence before he was cleared of that crime by order of Judge Stephen Schwebel in 2006. He remained in prison on a federal probation violations but filed a multi-million dollar RICO action against Trustees of the New York Academy of Art Board and its general counsel, Jeffery Slade, Esq.

Angona spent the rest of his short life in prison attempting to prove his innocence and fighting the previously quiescent cancer that erupted soon after his arrest and became chronic under the harsh conditions of the prison system.

Angona’s heirs stated today that they plan to continue the lawsuits brought by Blumatte against past and present trustees including David Levenson, Eileen Guggenheim, Christopher Forbes amongst other as well as Stephen Farthing and Randy Lerner.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: Trump Plays Both Sides Against The Middle

Is he a hawk? Is he a peacenik? The President keeps us guessing . By Reese Erlich President Donald Trump has convinced Republican isolationists and hawks that he supports their views. That’s a neat trick, since the two groups hold opposing positions. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Waiting For The Old Bailey: Julian Assange And Britain’s Judicial Establishment

On September 7, Julian Assange will be facing another round of gruelling extradition proceedings, in the Old Bailey, part of a process that has become a form of gradual state-sanctioned torture. The US Department of Justice hungers for their man. The More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Sorry Plight Of The International Education Sector

Tourism and international education have been two of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. They’re both key export industries. Yet the government response to them has been strikingly different. There has been nothing beyond a few words of ministerial condolence and a $51.6 million package (details below) to get the sector through the pandemic...
More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Google’s Open Letter: Fighting Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code

Tech giants tend to cast thin veils over threats regarding government regulations. They are also particularly concerned by those more public spirited ones, the sort supposedly made for the broader interest. Google has given us an example of this ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Trump’s Current Chances Of Re-Election

By now it seems clear that National have no fresh ideas to offer for how New Zealand could avoid the Covid-19 economic crisis. As in the past, National has set an arbitrary 30% ratio of government debt to GDP that it aims to achieve “in a decade or so,” ... More>>

The Conversation: Rogue Poll Or Not, All The Signs Point To A Tectonic Shift In New Zealand Politics

Richard Shaw AAP(various)/NZ Greens (CC-BY-SA)/The Conversation Strong team. More jobs. Better economy. So say the National Party’s campaign hoardings. Only thing is, last Sunday’s Newshub-Reid Research poll – which had support for the Labour ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>