Memo Released By Pebble Beach Art Heist Victim
Document Written To DA’s Office
POSTED: 8:37 am PST December 29, 2009UPDATED: 10:38 am PST December 29, 2009
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — An owner targeted in a big Pebble Beach art heist sent out a document making some fascinating claims and charges.
Art collector Benjamin Amadio wrote a lengthy memo to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office that requests the DA to provide a complete list of evidence of what he said happened during and leading up to the investigation of the theft.
Amadio and his business partner, Dr. Ralph Kennaugh, said somebody broke into their Pebble Beach rental home on Sept. 25 and stole millions of dollars worth of art.
The 30-page memo, which often meanders and is filled with grammatical errors, refers to the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department as “bad actors.”
In it, Amadio said the lack of a thorough investigation by the department of the heist stems from Amadio’s relationship with a woman named Sage Ratclift. He alleges Ratclift’s stepfather has ties to the CIA and that her father is a deputy with the Sheriff’s Department.
“He’s not someone who even works here,” Cmdr. Mike Richards said. “Amadio seems to focus on a woman who we have no idea who she is. I understand she was arrested by our office but it has no bearing on our investigation.”
But in the memo, Amadio insists the cronyism in the Sheriff’s Department is the reason his artwork is still missing. He said he was threatened at gunpoint by men with CIA ties, or ties to the Sheriff’s Department.
Document: Art Heist Victims Memorandum To DA’s Office
Amadio said he reported the incident to the Seaside Police Department, which did not take him seriously. Amadio also alleges District Attorney Gary Thelander was involved in the plot.
Because of the lack of an insurance policy and proof of ownership of the paintings — proof Amadio said was stolen with the paintings — the Sheriff’s Department held a news conference in October where Richards said his department had not ruled out Amadio and Kennaugh, a former Harvard professor, as suspects.
“We still have two open cases,” Richards said. “The initial investigation into the burglary in Pebble Beach, which basically got nowhere because of the lack of cooperation on the part of the victims, and also (we) have the related investigation into possible fraud involved in part of the victims. So, they are suspects in that investigation.”
In another twist to the story, Amadio’s lawyer, Vicki St. James, whose letterhead is used on the document, issued a statement Monday that said, “I want to make clear that I did not request such a memo to be created, nor did I write, review or approve of the memo.”
Amadio said Monday that a final copy version of the document will be submitted today to the District Attorney’s Office. He said the copy sent out on Monday was released early by mistake by his friend Sage.
“I have no idea what he’s trying to accomplish with that letter,” Richards said.