But they dropped their lawsuit against the Sheriff.
The insurance company investigating the missing art work case for the last two years rejected the $500,000 insurance claim stating in letters to Kennaugh’s attorney, “It is our belief that the misrepresentations and concealment were intentionally committed by Kennaugh and Angelo Amadio in order to obtain insurance benefits.”
Two weeks ago, the men fired back with a $2 million lawsuit claiming the insurance company acted in bad faith stating it was, “Conducting an oppressive and lengthy Examination Under Oath of plantiff in an effort to unduly harass, vex, annoy, and burden plantiff in an effort to discourage his pursuit of his claim…”
“It is our belief that the misrepresentations and concealment were intentionally committed by [Kennaugh] and Angelo Amadio in order to obtain insurance benefits,” wrote Farmers manager Bruce Litton.
The company rejected Kennaugh’s $500,000 claim on his “Fire Exchange Broad Form Renters Policy,” because of what it called “concealment and fraud” and said investigators were unable to “confirm the legitimacy” of the lost art.
“It is impossible that the insured ever possessed a 1944 Jackson Pollock drip painting since Mr. Pollock did not begin painting this style until 1947 …,” according to a June 10, 2011 letter from Litton to Cayce.
Amadio acknowledged the discrepancy and said that his previous attorneys made a careless mistake.
Because, if it’s on the Internet it’s gotta be true, right?
The two men who contend burglars broke into their former Pebble Beach home in 2009 and stole as much as $80 million worth of art launched a website this week in hopes it will help lead to the arrest of the perpetrators and recovery of the works.
The web address is www.pebblebeachartheist.com (2015 update, site dark, 404).
After the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office looked into the case, an investigator accused the two men — who claimed an estimated $27 million to $80 million in art had been stolen — of insurance fraud, and called the alleged heist a “scam” and part of a “criminal enterprise.”
The new website reiterates what Amadio and Kennaugh have told the press before: that officials never investigated the alleged heist and didn’t interview them or other potential witnesses.
Ready for another chapter. C’mon you two we are all waiting..
Christopher Cayce, the men’s attorney, argued that comments to the media by the Sheriff’s Office, which suggested that Kennaugh and Amadio were involved in insurance fraud or some other criminal enterprise, were such “egregious lies” that they amounted to criminal fraud.
He asked the court not to allow the Sheriff’s Office “use immunity for criminal conduct.”
Shapiro countered that Cayce was making “wonderful arguments not supported by the facts.”
The men claimed in the suit that the Sheriff’s Office didn’t seriously investigate the art theft, but instead sought to discredit Amadio because he was involved with the daughter of a man with influential ties to the department.
Shapiro said he will file a motion seeking that the men pay for the county’s attorney fees.
Cayce said, “It will be appealed.” He said he wasn’t surprised by the court’s ruling.
Monterey County is asking a judge to quickly throw out a defamation lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Office filed by two men who contend they lost a world-class collection of art to thieves.
An attorney for the county says in court papers that the two men – Dr. Ralph Kennaugh and Angelo Amadio – have little chance of prevailing in their October suit that accuses the Sheriff’s Office of publicly defaming them in comments to the media about the massive art theft.
Christopher Cayce, the men’s attorney, argues that the Sheriff’s Office “egregiously used the media to litigate this matter in the press.” He says the sheriff’s spokesman made “egregious lies” unrelated to the “underlying investigation.”
The two men contend that the Sheriff’s Office sought to discredit Amadio because of his relationship with the daughter of a man with influential ties to the Sheriff’s Office.
Moreover, Cayce says in court papers the two men provided the Sheriff’s Department with documentation about the missing artwork, but the media were told the men were being uncooperative.
Shapiro filed a motion in Monterey Superior Court Nov. 1 asking a judge to dismiss the lawsuit under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, which provides for early dismissal of lawsuits arising from an “act in furtherance of a person’s right of petition or free speech” unless a court determines there is a probability the plaintiff will prevail on the suit.
To help show that Amadio and Kennaugh probably won’t win their defamation suit, Shapiro argued that Kanalakis and Richards “were acting within the scope of their employment when they issued press releases or held press conferences … and therefore both are immune from any claim arising from that conduct.”
In regards to Monterey County’s liability in the lawsuit filed by Kennaugh and Amadio, Shapiro said a public entity is not liable for conduct by an employee who is immune.
Therefore, Shapiro said Kennaugh and Amadio “cannot establish a possibility, much less a probability, of prevailing on either of their claims.”
Dr. Ralph Kennaugh and Angelo Amadio reported the theft of millions of dollars of artwork on Sept. 25, 2009, saying the missing collection contained works by Jackson Pollock, Van Gogh, Miro and Rembrandt.
No arrests were ever made, none of the missing art turned up, and the Sheriff’s Office subsequently talked about charging the two men with filing a false police report or insurance fraud.
The reported theft drew widespread publicity after Kennaugh and Amadio offered a $1million reward for the return of the artwork. But the Sheriff’s Office, within a few days, was painting a different picture of the case, suggesting that something was not right about the big art heist.
Is this the ‘victim’ of the Pebble Beach Art Theft shopping for replacement paintings?
One answer may come from an anonymous videographer with the YouTube moniker of Studebaker Falcon. He captures a man who looks a lot like Amadio perusing the bargain paintings at Last Chance Mercantile while appearing to make notes on his iPhone.
Insurance investigators look for proof of ownership, DA backs off on charges against “victims”.
The saga began when the artwork was reported stolen from a rented Pebble Beach home in September. Its value has been estimated by Amadio at up to $27 million for a collection said to include works by Jackson Pollock, Van Gogh, Miro and Rembrandt.
County prosecutors last week decided not to file charges stemming from a sheriff’s investigation looking into whether the men may have filed a false police report, sheriff’s Cmdr. Mike Richards said.
A sheriff’s detective recently had an “informal discussion” with the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office to determine if criminal charges related to the reported burglary might be filed, Richards said.
What will they do next? Hey boys, we are all waiting for an encore.
The burglary wasn’t a burglary, the ransom note wasn’t a ransom note, and the $80 million art heist wasn’t an $80 million art heist at all, according to Monterey County Sheriff’s Cmdr. Mike Richards. Though the men who reported being the victims in the Sept. 25, 2009, burglary of their Pebble Beach rental home, A. Benjamin Amadio and Ralph Kennaugh, have not yet been charged with any crimes, they apparently fabricated the art theft that made headlines across the nation.
The men, who also complained of unfair treatment, inaction and discrimination by the sheriff’s office, have been” quiet in recent months.
“We haven’t heard from them directly for some time. I understand now they moved over to Santa Cruz County,” he said. “They were evicted from the Pebble Beach house.”