Misc

THE HEAT IS ON, Hamptons Scandals Part 5: ANDREW CRISPO’S CONFLAGRATION

Friday, July 22, 2011
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From the pages of AVENUE’s July issue…

Christopher Mason, host of the new Investigation Discovery series “Behind Mansion Walls”— about murder in fabulous homes—and author of The Art of the Steal: Inside the Sotheby’s-Christie’s Auction House Scandal, revisits a selection of the biggest scandals to ever hit the Hamptons.

Who: Andrew Crispo
What: Explosion at Southampton estate
Where: Gin Lane, Southampton
When: July 22, 1989

One week after art dealer Andrew Crispo was released from federal prison, having served nearly three years for tax evasion, a thunderous explosion leveled his white stucco summerhouse in Southampton, sending flames and black plumes of smoke skyward. The notoriety of its 44-year-old owner made the conflagration seem suspicious. Four years earlier, Crispo had been implicated in the “death mask murder” of Eigil Vesti, a handsome fashion student and model from Norway whose charred and mutilated corpse was found by a group of young boys in a smokehouse in Rockland County. The victim, wearing only a leather mask used in sadomasochistic rituals, had two bullet holes in the back of his head. Crispo’s assistant, Bernard Le Geros, confessed to firing the gun that killed Vesti, but insisted that he had done so at his boss’s request. Le Geros claimed that other bodies were buried at Crispo’s Southampton estate, prompting a grisly—and fruitless—search. Crispo was never indicted for murder. In 1991, a jury awarded him $8.6 million from the Long Island Lighting Company, which accepted responsibility for the gas leak under the house that had caused the explosion.
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