Thursday, October 7, 2010

Alleged Art Theft Victims Sue County for Libel

Seal of Monterey County, CaliforniaImage via Wikipedia
In Kennaugh et al. v. Monterey County (Case No. GNM108497) former Harvard Medical School physician Dr. Ralph Kennaugh and business partner Angelo Ben Amadio allege in Monterey County Superior Court that the county's Sheriff's Department defamed them by questioning the authenticity of a purported multi-million dollar art theft from the men's home.

As initially reported by the Central Coast News and also The Harvard Crimson, the plaintiffs allege in their complaint 26 purported defamatory statements by the Sheriff's Department regarding what the duo claim was last year's theft of artwork, including pieces by Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gogh and Jackson Pollock, supposedly worth $80 million, from their Pebble Beach home.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs claim the Sheriff's Dept. mishandled the case, questioned the men's veracity, investigated them for fraud, and further claim a detective allegedly slandered them by uttering a homophobic slur.

The Sheriff's Dept. found the plaintiffs unable sufficiently to document ownership of the art they reported stolen. At a press conference held by authorities, Commander Mike Richards allegedly characterized the alleged heist as a "scam" by one or both of the purported victims. Authorities contend the plaintiffs were uncooperative in the investigation.

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