25 May 2007

82-year old "Tuxedo King" buried alive in 1993 dies

Fascinating obituary in the NY Times today...

Harvey Weinstein, a former tuxedo company executive has died. Known as the "tuxedo king,'' Weinstein was CEO of Lord West, a company that manufactured formalwear for Ralph Lauren, Pierre Cardin and others in addition to its own brand.

Weinstein gained a different kind of notoriety in 1993 when he was kidnapped and buried alive for 12 days by a man who worked at Lord West as a collar maker.

Weinstein had just finished his usual breakfast at a diner on Northern Boulevard when he was forced into a car by ex-Lord West employee Fermin Rodriguez and two accomplices. They kidnapped Weinstein and drove him to Manhattan.

There they buried him in an 8-foot-deep pit near the Hudson River, and demanded $3 million in cash as ransom from his family. Weinstein spent 12 days with little food and water before police found him.

His first words to them were: "Thank God you're here, and I'd like to have a cigarette.'' How Gandhi-esque.

All three of the kidnapping suspects were convicted and sentenced to prison.

Weinstein's son Mark told the NY Times that his father's Marine experience during World War II helped him during his kidnapping, "He said that he ‘wrote’ what he called ‘the greatest autobiography never written.’ Everyday he took a year in his life and recounted it out loud.”

Weinstein died peacefully at age 82 in Manhattan.

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