Daniel Pelosi (born 2 August 1963 in Center
Moriches, New York) is the convicted murderer of Wall Street financier
Ted Ammon, and the widower of Generosa Ammon.
Pelosi met Generosa while seeking work as an
electrician. Generosa, who was involved in a bitter divorce from Ammon,
hired him to supervise the renovation of her townhouse, and they soon
began an affair.
Pelosi, who was also married with three children,
stayed at Ammon's East Hampton home with Generosa and her two adopted
children, and drove Ammon's Porsche Carrera. As Ammon hadn't updated
his will to reflect his marital situation, Generosa inherited the bulk
of his $97 million estate after he was found murdered. Pelosi married
Generosa on 15 January 2002, one day after his divorce from his wife
Murder and trial
While police investigated Ammon's murder, Pelosi
was arrested for punching a crew member of a tour boat when he refused
to serve more alcohol. He was then charged with stealing $43,000 of
electricity from the Long Island Power Authority.
Before she died in 2003, Generosa cut Pelosi out of
her will. He later challenged the will and a postnuptial agreement
which entitled him to $2 million for legal fees. He was arrested for
Ammon's murder on March 24, 2004.
Prosecutors theorized that Pelosi killed Ammon to
ensure his new-found lifestyle. His former girlfriend testified that
he enjoyed killing Ammon. His father testified that Daniel had asked
him how to get rid of incriminating evidence. Convicted in December
2004, Pelosi maintains his innocence. After Generosa's death he wanted
custody of her children, who wanted to live with him. Generosa's
children live with their aunt and uncle.
He pleaded guilty to witness tampering in his
murder trial so that he could marry his fiancée, Jennifer Zolnowski,
who was a bank teller as well as Pelosi's alleged accomplice. She gave
birth to their son on August 31, 2004.
Pelosi is incarcerated in the Southport
Correctional Facility and will be eligible for parole in August 2031.
Daniel Pelosi in solitary again
February 23, 2011
Daniel Pelosi, the former
electrician who is serving a 28-years-to-life sentence in
prison for the 2004 beating death of an East Hampton financier, is in
For nearly two months, Pelosi has been back in
solitary confinement at Southport Correctional Facility in upstate
Pine City - this time after making threatening phone calls to an
unidentified woman on Nov. 26, according to the state Department of
An inmate misbehavior form says the woman contacted
the Elmira Correctional Facility to report that Pelosi left a voice
mail on her cell phone threatening her and telling her "this is the
last vacation you'll ever take" and "I'm sending some people over to
Pelosi, 47, admitted to authorities he made the
phone call, according to the report. As a result, Pelosi was sentenced
to a year in disciplinary confinement for 23 hours a day and is no
longer allowed to make calls or send or receive packages. Also, his
commissary purchase privileges were revoked, a corrections official
This isn't the first time Pelosi, formerly of
Manorville, has been placed in solitary or faced discipline. He was
already in confinement as of Nov. 23 for disobeying a direct order
from a correction officer, according to documents. He served three
days in solitary, calling the woman on the last day, records show.
Correction spokeswoman Linda Foglia said details of
the Nov. 23 incident could not be disclosed due to privacy rules.
Pelosi was placed in solitary confinement for 50
days in September 2005, a little more than three months after he was
first incarcerated, after a correction officer witnessed his
inappropriate conduct in the visiting area of the Clinton Correctional
Facility in upstate New York, records show. In August 2008, he was
placed in solitary confinement for six months for using other inmates'
PINs to place unauthorized phone calls, records show, and in May 2009
he served 30 days in confinement again for phone misuse.
Pelosi was convicted of the 2001 murder of Theodore
Ammon in December 2004. Ammon's divorce from his wife, Generosa, who
was having an affair with Pelosi, was days from being finalized in
2001 when Ammon was found dead. Pelosi married her several months
Generosa, who inherited Ammon's estate as his widow,
died in August 2003 of breast cancer but not before giving Pelosi $2
million for his legal defense and $700,000 from a postnuptial
agreement. She left nothing for him from her $33-million estate.
Pelosi married his third wife, Jennifer Zolnowski, in prison.
Pelosi attorney Richard Mischel said Tuesday that
he will file an appeal to overturn Pelosi's conviction. Mischel
declined to comment on the confinement.
Pelosi Found Guilty Of Murder
February 11, 2009
Daniel Pelosi was convicted of second-degree
murder Monday in the 2001 bludgeoning death of a millionaire
investment banker who was beaten as he slept in the bedroom of his $10
Jurors deliberated over three days before deciding
on the charges that Pelosi killed Theodore Ammon, the estranged
husband of Pelosi's lover, at Ammon's home in the eastern Long Island
community of East Hampton. Ammon was beaten more than 30 times on the
head with a blunt object.
Pelosi closed his eyes when the verdict was read.
Before the jury returned to the courtroom, he made the sign of the
cross and shook hands with his three lawyers. After hearing the
verdict, he sat down with his hands on his face.
The verdict capped an eight-week trial filled with
tales of adultery and family betrayal. Prosecutors said Pelosi killed
Ammon in October 2001 because he was angry over a proposed divorce
settlement presented to Ammon's estranged wife, Generosa. Pelosi and
Generosa Ammon were having an affair at the time of the slaying.
Pelosi said he was at his sister's house in Center
Moriches, 40 miles from Ammon's mansion at the time.
The sister, Barbara Lukert, left the court in tears
after the verdict. "He didn't do it. He didn't do it," she said.
Lawyers on both sides did not immediately comment.
The defense suggested Generosa Ammon might have
been the killer. She married Pelosi three months after her husband's
death, although they later split, and died last year of cancer. He
received $2 million under a postnuptial agreement, but spent every
penny on his defense.
Prosecution witnesses in the predominantly
circumstantial case included three people who claimed he confessed the
slaying to them — including a woman who slept with him at the same
time he was romancing Generosa Ammon.
A former co-worker testified that Pelosi had told
him a year earlier about his plans to get Ammon's money by romancing
the millionaire's wife and then killing her husband.
"I'll bash his brains in while he's sleeping,"
Pelosi allegedly said.
In one of the trial's most dramatic moments,
Pelosi's own father voluntarily testified for the prosecution that,
hours after the killing, his son sought his advice on disposing of
something so it would never be found.
Ammon ran the private equity firm Chancery Lane
Capital and was chairman of Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Pelosi could face 25 years to life in prison.
Sentencing was set for Jan. 25.
Pelosi faces additional charges of attempting to
intimidate and tamper with prosecution witnesses. Prosecutors also
alleged there was evidence that he made efforts to reach out to a
Murder in East Hampton
In October, Long Island’s East End was shocked by
the murder of one of its wealthiest residents: 52-year-old Ted Ammon,
who’d built much of his $80 million fortune as one of the top LBO
players at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in the 1980s, was discovered naked
and bludgeoned in the master bedroom of his house on Middle Lane.
Ammon was popular with business colleagues, police found, but his
private life, once seemingly idyllic—the adored young twins, the five
homes, the luxury cars—held several ominous signs, not least the
vicious divorce battle with his second wife, Generosa.
By Michael Shnayerson - VanityFair.com
On the morning of October 20, 2001, a crisp autumn
Saturday, he came out to East Hampton on his own in his silver Porsche.
Turning into the driveway of his gabled, six-bedroom, English-country-style
manor house on Middle Lane always buoyed his spirits. Ted Ammon liked
his weekends alone here, the more so now that the battles of a brutal
divorce were nearly done. He stood to lose nearly half of his $80
million fortune, but at 52 he had reached the point, as one friend
would put it, where time was more important than money. Among the
assets he would retain, to his great relief, was this house.
A sharp investment banker who had been a senior partner at Kohlberg
Kravis Roberts (KKR) in the wild LBO days of the 1980s, Ammon was also
a bit of a flake who sometimes did “disappearing acts,” as one
colleague put it, failing to show up when he said he would. So Mark
Angelson, his partner in a new boutique private equity firm, Chancery
Lane Capital, hardly worried when Ammon missed a morning meeting on
Monday, October 22. When noon passed, though, and the household help
in the city reported that Ammon hadn’t called to make after-school
plans for his 11-year-old twins, Alexa and Gregory, Angelson suddenly
got very nervous. Forgetful as Ammon might be about some things, he
was absolutely focused on his kids. Angelson reportedly called all the
numbers: the East Hampton house, the New York apartment, Ammon’s cell.
No answer. Angelson had a bad feeling about this. Perhaps his partner,
vigorously athletic as he was, had had a heart attack.
Together with Ammon’s chauffeur, Angelson flew out to the East Hampton
Airport on a corporate helicopter, arriving a little before five p.m.,
and took a cab to 59 Middle Lane. Ammon’s Porsche was in the driveway.
When Angelson and the chauffeur entered the house, they were greeted
by Ammon’s three dogs, two golden retrievers and a chocolate Lab. The
dogs seemed hungry and confused. Angelson called Ammon’s name. No
response. By one report, they saw a trail of blood on the stairs. In
the bedroom they found Ammon lying nude on his bed, his head
bludgeoned. Hands trembling, Angelson called the East Hampton Village
Police. The time was 5:19 p.m.
Three policemen responded to the call within minutes, and in the
gathering darkness quickly confirmed that no one else was in the house.
They also determined that the house’s state-of-the-art alarm system,
replete with nine cameras, had been turned off. Then they sealed the
house, with the body still in it, and waited outside for Suffolk
County Homicide. It took almost an hour for the county detectives to
arrive from Riverhead. They went from room to room. Burglary appeared
not to be the motive; nothing was ransacked or seemed out of place.
The detectives tentatively determined that the victim had died from
the blunt-force trauma of several blows to his head, though by one
report the body was also “severely cut.” Time of death was hard to say.
Ammon’s body temperature had fallen to the ambient temperature of the
master bedroom, suggesting he may have died as early as Saturday
night. Later, however, the houseguest of an immediate neighbor would
recall that on Sunday, as he was painting a watercolor by his host’s
back pond, he heard several cars crunching over the gravel of Ammon’s
By Tuesday afternoon, the local police had roped off both ends of the
lane to keep television crews and tabloid reporters from swarming over
Ammon’s deep front lawn and English garden. The murder was big news.
Middle Lane bisects one of the wealthiest sections of the most elegant
of the Hamptons. Its houses, like Ammon’s, are not old, white-elephant
mansions, as in Southampton’s highest-hedged enclaves. Nor are they
brand-new, obscenely large empires of ego, like Ira Rennert’s potato-field-size
atrocity in Sagaponack. Nearly all look old, whether they are or not:
large, comfortable, shingled country houses, exquisitely landscaped.
Their owners may not have old money, but they know how to act as if
they do. A country block away is the Maidstone Club, with its pond-encircling
golf course, and Further Lane, where vast estates, including comedian
Jerry Seinfeld’s, stretch down to the beach and the pounding Atlantic
surf. Murders don’t happen here. But now one had.
If the detectives found clues, they weren’t acknowledging them. If
they had a suspect, they weren’t saying who it was. And so, over
morning coffee at Dreesen’s Market and drinks at the Blue Parrot Bar,
rumors began to swirl. Surely this was a crime of passion, committed
by someone who had shared Ammon’s bed that night. How, after all,
could a stranger have entered the house without tripping the alarm
system and rousing the dogs? A startling police report fueled those
rumors. A naked man had been reported running down Middle Lane that
very weekend. That clinched it. Ammon was a closet homosexual, the
locals muttered. He had taken home some rough trade and paid the
ultimate price. He had only to drive the mile or so from his house
down to Two Mile Hollow Beach, where gay men seek one another out each
night for furtive encounters in the dunes. Before long, the gay murder
scenario had acquired all manner of noir-ish details—including,
reported syndicated columnist Cindy Adams, dismemberment.
To Ammon’s close friends, the gay murder scenario seemed utterly wrong
and deeply offensive: a public bludgeoning of a man already beaten to
death. The Ted Ammon they had known always seemed strongly, even
aggressively, heterosexual. Anyone can fool his friends about his
sexual proclivities. But the cornerstone of the theory crumbled when
East Hampton Village Police chief Randall Sarris noted that the naked
man had been reported on Friday, October 19, at 11 a.m., while Ammon
was still in Manhattan. On at least one other occasion at a nearby
beach, a man matching the naked man’s description had exposed himself—to
On closer examination, it seemed likelier that the murder had been
committed, directly or indirectly, by someone Ted Ammon had known for
some time. Widely liked by his business colleagues, Ammon had managed
to anger a number of people in his personal life. In the aftermath of
his death, they stood as so many characters in a real-life game of
Clue. Was it embittered servants, with a candlestick, in the drawing
room? The widow’s boyfriend, with a lead pipe, in the conservatory?
Or was it, perhaps, the widow herself, with a wrench, in the library?
For all of his wealth, his five homes, six cars,
and countless toys, Ted Ammon had just suffered the hardest stretch of
his life, beginning in the summer of 2000, when his second wife, the
former Generosa Rand, 45, filed for divorce and, according to several
friends, embarked on a campaign of domestic revenge. As her demands
mounted, and her fury reportedly poisoned almost every friendship she
had, Ammon must have wondered how his life would have turned out if
he’d called a different apartment-rental agency back in 1983.
Ammon had made the appointment for an early-evening hour, after work,
to look at an apartment in the low 90s on the far East Side of
Manhattan. True to form, he failed to show. The next morning, he got a
call at his office from the agent. She was angry that he’d stood her
up. Not only was it rude, she said, but the neighborhood was unsafe
after dark. Intrigued by her tough tone, Ammon asked her out on a date
by way of apology. When he saw her, he was more impressed. Blonde and
trim-figured, seven years younger than he, Generosa Rand was, as one
friend later put it, a spark plug, passionate and strongly opinionated.
Working as a rental agent was just her day job, she explained to the
handsome, six-foot-four-inch investment banker. Really, she was an
artist. And Ammon, obviously, was a catch.
By this point in his life, the 33-year-old Ammon
had already enjoyed a remarkable rise. After a modest upbringing in
East Aurora, New York, a town outside of Buffalo, he majored in
economics at Bucknell University. Rangy and popular, he had joined Phi
Gamma Delta and, starting in his sophomore year, had played on the
varsity lacrosse team. After passing both English and U.S. bar exams
without going to law school, he came to New York, worked at two law
firms, then grew restless. On Wall Street, the freewheeling 80s were
about to begin, and Ammon wanted in. At the age of 30, he managed to
join Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. By the time he met Generosa, he was a
partner helping orchestrate leveraged buyouts. After a failed marriage
of nine years with no children to a woman named Randee Day, he was
also a free man.
Generosa had a scrappier story to tell. She related
to friends that she and an older sister had been raised by their
single mother, a church secretary named Marie Therese LeGaye, in
Laguna Beach, California. When Generosa was 10, she said, her mother
had died of brain cancer. In leafing through her late mother’s photo
albums, she came upon a photograph of a blond Italian sailor. On the
back was written “Generoso.” Her older sister explained that their
mother had had an affair in Italy with Generoso, realized she was
pregnant upon her return, and decided to keep the baby. When the girls
were shunted to a foster home, they took their new family’s surname of
Rand. When Generosa was 17, she later told a friend, her older sister
was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Her sister, she felt, had been her
only protection against a home life she described as abusive. Generosa
enrolled at the University of California at Irvine and became
estranged from her adoptive family. After graduating in 1981, she came
to New York alone and found work as an apartment agent, the lowest
rung on the New York real-estate ladder.
That soon changed. In February 1986, Ted and Generosa were married.
They lived on Fifth Avenue at 75th Street, then bought a town house on
East 92nd Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues. Generosa had
So bitter were relations between the Ammons at the end that the
happiness of their early years, confirmed by several friends, seems
difficult to believe. Yet for a while they did seem a golden New York
couple. At KKR, Ted went from deal to deal with giddy delight. One
colleague recalls his having 700 ideas at any one time, 697 of which
were ridiculous, 3 of which were brilliant. He seemed motivated more
by the art of the deal than by money, the colleague recalls, even when
he became KKR’s point man for RJ Reynolds after the mother of all LBOs,
the RJR-Nabisco takeover, which blew back millions of dollars to every
KKR partner involved. At home he listened to jazz, a passion since
childhood, and let his strong-willed wife manage the interior
decorating as well as the couple’s uptown-downtown social life.
Freed to indulge her love of art, Generosa created wall sculptures
from disparate materials such as paper and string. Soon they filled
the walls of the town house. Unfortunately, a former friend says, no
gallery in the city volunteered to exhibit them. “She never did get
her art shown anywhere,” one observer recalls. Still, her husband
bought her an enormous loft on West Broadway in SoHo where she could
pursue her avocation. “She would play the role of downtrodden artist,”
the former friend recalls, “but she was in this glorious double loft
with windows all along the side. It was like Marie Antoinette with her
sheep.” Generosa mingled with other downtown artists such as David Row
and John Zinsser, and often invited them up to the 92nd Street town
house for dinner. “On the one hand she wanted to be part of this
artistic group,” says the friend, “but she also wanted it known that
she was the wife of a rich guy and could pull the strings.” This
person adds, “I always found it strange that, for a couple who was
their age, and with their money, they had this need to create a group.
It was as if they didn’t have real friends. They were always saying,
‘Invite anyone over you want'".
Increasingly, friends say, they noted disquieting behavior on
Generosa’s part. She got angry, it seemed, at the slightest
provocation. Usually what set her off was the suspicion that someone
was betraying or rejecting her. “The minute she felt that rejection,”
the former friend recalls, “she was like a woman out of control. A
fear arose in her. It’s almost like there was a trigger.” When that
happened, Generosa was not a pleasant sight. “We’ve all been upset,”
says the friend, “but when she does it, physically she’s in your face,
with this kind of ‘I’m going to get you.’ And there’s no talking to
One by one, couples who had become friends of the Ammons’, drawn
mostly by Ted’s easygoing charm and wit, found themselves “iced out,”
as one put it. One friend says she provoked an outburst when she
declined Generosa’s invitation to be a summerlong houseguest. The
friend had talked to Generosa almost every day; suddenly the
friendship was over. A year or so later, the friend says, she saw
Generosa at a benefit and approached her to say hello. “Get away from
me!” Generosa shrieked. “You get away from me!” The friend spent a lot
of time wondering why Ted endured behavior that seemed to be becoming
so manipulative and controlling. “I think because there was a
vulnerability to her which he could see, and that made him feel more
secure.” Ted described life with Generosa to another friend as
“walking on eggshells” as he tried to avoid the next explosion.
In most respects, the Ammons seemed to lead an ever more enviable
life. They spent weekends in Bedford, New York, where Generosa became
a serious rider and won her share of ribbons, many in shows as far
away as Florida. In 1992, Ted shocked his KKR partners by announcing
his departure from the firm. “When I wake up in the morning, I want to
look at a different range of mountains,” he told The Wall Street
Journal. He knew he could double his $50 million faster if he stayed,
but he wanted the challenge of starting his own firm. Soon he bought
up a company that produced newspaper advertising inserts. Unglamorous
as it was, Ted had a vision for it. He thought he could build a
national powerhouse, establish ties with newspapers all over the
country, then find other products to sell them. He called his gambit
Big Flower Press because, as he explained to a friend, when he and
Generosa were driving to East Hampton with their newly adopted twins,
they passed a field of sunflowers that made one of the children call
out, “Big flower!”
The Ammons had tried for some time to conceive a child of their own,
resorting to in vitro efforts. When that failed, they went to the
Ukraine to adopt twins, a boy and a girl, about two years old. At
Ammon’s memorial service, one friend would recall how deliriously
happy Ted was upon their return, with a little towheaded child in each
arm. Generosa’s reaction was harder to read. Some time before, one
former friend recalls, “I’d asked if she wanted kids. She did not. She
had spent a lot of time in an orphanage, she said, and she’d been
abused there. The whole prospect of children was too painful for her.”
Another friend from the time recalls wincing at Generosa’s efforts
with the children. “It was stressful to watch."
In anticipation of the children, and also to accommodate Generosa’s
growing passion for renovating and redecorating houses, in 1992 the
Ammons bought the house at 59 Middle Lane in East Hampton. They paid
$2.7 million for a long, low, one-story house owned by Mr. and Mrs.
William Lord, an Old Westbury family related to W. Averell Harriman.
Their daughter-in-law, Pam Lord, a nationally known gardener, agreed
to help the Ammons landscape the property. But when Generosa announced
she wanted all yellow plants in the front and all blue plants in the
back, Pam Lord beat a hasty retreat.
As the house morphed into a two-story English-style home in the manner
of Edwin Lutyens, with twin front gables, various dormers, and an
overhanging roof meant to evoke the look and spirit of a thatched
cottage, Generosa clashed with one contractor after another. At her
urging, architect Jeff Gibbons left his perch at Peter Marino
Architects to go out on his own with the Ammons as his first clients.
“She basically left me crumpled up on the side of the road,” Gibbons
recalls. After three years of bullying, he says, the end came when
Generosa heard Gibbons casually explaining to a third person what he’d
done with the East Hampton house. “You’re not telling people you
designed my house, are you?” she exclaimed. Gibbons was stunned. “Well,”
he managed finally, “who did?” “I did!” Generosa declared. “You only
copied things out of books.” Gibbons claims he was stiffed on his last
bill; when he remonstrated, he says, Generosa threatened to put him
out of business with her high-priced lawyers.
Like Gibbons, landscaper Peter Cicero let the lure of a big new
client lead him to start his own business, and came to regret it. One
day Cicero went with Generosa to the nursery to choose tulips. “Now,
you know, tulips look one shade in the morning light,” he says, “and a
different shade in evening light.” Cicero planted 600 tulips of the
shade Generosa chose. He says that weekend he drove up to find her in
the garden, “her hair all a mop,” pulling out the 600 tulips “like a
wild boar.” They were the wrong shade, Generosa declared. Cicero
claims he was ordered to pay for the tulips himself—or else. “She was
always invoking Skadden Arps,” her law firm, recalls one contractor.
Cicero says he had to pay for the yellow roses that Generosa ripped
out along the front fence, too, because their shade was wrong. And he
had to remove the trees he had planted by the front door, also at his
own cost, when Generosa learned they didn’t grow red berries. Once,
Cicero says, Generosa called his bookkeeper at five a.m. to rant about
bubbles in the pool. What was wrong with them? the bookkeeper asked
groggily. Generosa shouted, “They’re blowing the wrong way!”
Another contractor had similar problems with Generosa, but tried to
see her better side. “She did have vision. And she was genuinely
creative,” the contractor says, remembering in particular the mosaics
she designed in the bathrooms. “I sort of admired her as a woman; she
was really powerful.” Still, that power could be scary. “One time when
she was angry at me, she told me that ‘my mother died of insanity!,’
that she’d had to struggle to be where she was, and that she would be
damned if anyone was going to take that away from her."
By 1999, Ammon’s Big Flower Press had grown very big indeed,
a publicly traded amalgam of 32 acquisitions with nearly $2 billion in
gross annual revenues. Now, he felt, it was time to sell. Ammon
approached Boston financier Tom Lee and suggested a friendly buyout.
Lee took the company private with the help of investment banker Roger
Altman, a close friend of Ammon’s and, as it happened, his neighbor on
East 92nd Street. Ammon spun off a piece of the company and used it to
start Chancery Lane Capital, a sort of “mini-KKR,” as one colleague
put it, doing what Ammon loved best: scouting for deals. He was now a
very, very rich man, still young, still vigorous enough to run long
distances and take bicycle trips in Europe. Everything was great
except his personal life: it was falling apart.
For some time, the friends whom Generosa hadn’t iced out had
noticed growing tensions in the Ammons’ marriage. “She used to correct
him in front of people,” one friend observed. At a parent-teacher
function, another friend says, one of the mothers was talking to Ted
when Generosa came over and shouted at the woman to stop flirting with
her husband. Socially, in the Hamptons, they seemed to flounder. “The
clubs and socializing weren’t his bailiwick,” says one friend of Ted’s.
One couple who traveled with them in the late 90s says Generosa had
become “a rough blade.” More than one colleague calling Ted at home on
business got an earful from Generosa that left them shaking. When the
Ammons announced that for the sake of the children they were moving to
England and would live there full-time, they fooled almost no one:
friends saw the move as a last-ditch effort to rekindle a marriage.
Ted agreed to the move, but stayed in New York to sell Big Flower,
living at the Lowell Hotel, on East 63rd Street, on weekdays after the
92nd Street town house was sold, spending weekends in England at
Coverwood, a manor house in Surrey, which Generosa had done over in
her thoroughgoing way. One female friend wondered if he was having an
affair: what handsome, wealthy man alone in New York would not? she
reasoned. Apparently, Generosa thought so, too. She evidently hired
private investigators to tail her husband and later came to believe
that Ted was involved with a beautiful New York investment banker who
specialized in leveraged buyouts. One colleague describes the banker
as “a little older version of Gwyneth Paltrow. A willowy blonde. Her
looks are excellent but just part of the package.” A friend of Ted’s
calls her “bright, New York sophisticated, a very savvy girl—the very
antithesis of Generosa.” The banker earned millions of dollars a year.
She had a house in the Hamptons. Worst of all, Generosa later came to
believe the woman had just had Ted’s baby.
Resolutely, Generosa came back from England in the summer of 2000,
the children in tow, to initiate divorce proceedings. With the couple’s
mutual friends, she gave no quarter. “All you had to do was say hello
to Ted and that was that,” one former friend recalls. If she heard
that Ted had had dinner with mutual friends, she’d call the friends
the next morning and declare, in a rage, that she never wanted to talk
to them again. “She cut everyone off,” says a former ally. “She didn’t
have a friend in the world.”
Reportedly hiring and firing divorce lawyers one after another,
Generosa made extraordinary demands. According to one source, she
wanted half of Ted’s fortune, and claimed that he was worth closer to
$300 million than $100 million. She explained to V.F. in a
letter sent through an intermediary that her late husband had wanted
“an amicable divorce in which everything would be shared … but
thereafter he took the very different course of both hoarding income
and assets and concealing assets even after repeated disclosure orders
by our state supreme court.” One knowledgeable observer reports that
Ted was “in full compliance” and that his legal team provided 45,000
pages of financial records in discovery.
Possibly, some Internet investments raised Generosa’s expectations
unduly. One was a stake of about l.7 million shares in a publicly
traded Internet-advertising firm called 24/7 Media. At its peak, the
stock was trading at $69 a share, making Ammon’s investment worth $113
million. When dot-com stocks began collapsing in the spring of 2000,
the stake’s value plummeted: today, with 24/7 Media trading at about
30 cents a share, Ammon’s l.7 million shares are worth about $250,000.
One colleague described Ammon’s Internet investments as “a saltshaker
at the banquet table.” Another close source called them a sizable part
of his fortune.
With a husband’s assets in so many pots, their values rising and
falling with the market, any embittered spouse would have had her
lawyers jockey in court over his net worth. But few spouses would have
made Generosa’s alimony demands. They reportedly included $50,000
annually for a bodyguard, $50,000 for a housekeeper, $50,000 for a
chef, $50,000 for a driver, $30,000 for a gardener, and $100,000 for
an assistant, not to mention $60,000 in residential maintenance. This
was only for her life in New York. Coverwood, the manor home in Surrey,
reportedly required an additional $100,000 of maintenance a year. Plus,
one source said, Generosa demanded $180,000 a month in basic living
expenses. She proposed to cost her husband more than $2.5 million a
year even for a time after he parted with half of the $300 million
fortune Generosa felt he possessed, including nearly all the family’s
real estate: Coverwood in Surrey, the East Hampton house, her West
Broadway loft, and her new home—the town house at 10 East 87th Street,
In the summer of 2000, Ted had bought a 10th-floor apartment at
1125 Fifth Avenue, thinking Generosa and the children might live there.
But Generosa preferred the embassy-wide town house she had found just
east of Fifth, so Ted moved into the apartment. One source reports
that Ted paid $9 million for the town house. A renovation budget of $1
million was allegedly agreed on by both sides. Work began in about
September 2000. As a temporary residence, Generosa moved into the
elegant Stanhope Hotel on Fifth Avenue. By now, as one observer put it,
she was traveling with an entourage of servants wherever she went. At
the Stanhope she took a $1,500-a-night suite for herself, a large room
for her children and the nanny, and at least two more rooms for
members of the town-house work crew. Soon enough, one of those workmen
virtually moved into her suite.
Daniel Pelosi, 38, a tall, lean, gauntly handsome electrician from
Long Island, had a fairly unimpressive résumé. By his own admission he
also had a history of drug and alcohol abuse, acknowledged when he
filed suit after a work-related accident, claiming a back injury had
led to his excesses. He appears to have married young, because the
eldest of his three children is a 19-year-old daughter; all three
children currently live on Long Island with his wife, from whom he’s
now getting divorced. But if Pelosi’s had been a hard-luck story until
now, his fortunes began to look up dramatically after landing the town-house
job with Generosa.
Pelosi wasn’t merely the electrician. He was the head of the crew.
As such, he began recommending one elaborate and expensive fix after
another, a source who was close to Ted says. The pipes would have to
be replaced, the I beams moved. By late fall the town house had been
thoroughly gutted. By then, too, he and Generosa had become an item.
The happy couple’s day started with breakfast at the hotel each
morning for the whole entourage, at a cost of about $500. They paid
the bellman $50 to walk Generosa’s dog, $100 for bringing their car
from the hotel’s garage (that on top of the hotel’s $38 daily parking
fee). The bills forwarded to Ammon totaled about $70,000 a month, a
The couple became a fixture at the Stanhope’s tiny bar. At dinner,
Pelosi left tips of $100, sometimes $200. The tips almost, but not
quite, compensated for what one observer describes as the couple’s
boorish and abusive behavior. If Generosa saw a hotel employee talking
to her husband when he came to pick up the children, the source adds,
she would fly into a rage and try to get him fired. In the bar, she
would sometimes yell at guests, “I know you’re a spy for my husband!”
On New Year’s Eve, as guests watched the festivities on television,
she shouted, “Turn that television off! I want it off!” Pelosi,
dressed in fancy new clothes, could be obnoxious, too. “I know guys in
the Mafia,” he would say.
For Ammon, one source says, paying enormous bills to his wife’s
workman lover was irksome enough—especially as the town-house
renovation costs went from the agreed-upon $l million to $3 million.
Far more troublesome was Pelosi’s presence with his children: “That
made him crazy,” says a friend.
Worse, one observer says, Generosa had reneged on an initial pledge
of joint custody. She was going for sole custody. Meanwhile, Ted told
friends, she repeatedly failed to produce the children for his
scheduled time with them. Once, on a weekend when the children were
supposed to be with Generosa, he went to the theater with friends. At
intermission he apparently made a phone call, and his face grew taut.
Generosa, he told his friends, had decided to go to East Hampton with
Pelosi instead, and had dropped the children off with the doorman at
1125 Fifth Avenue. Grimly, Ted sped home.
Ted told several friends that Generosa was doing her best to poison
the children’s view of their father. She reportedly told them he had
Mob connections. She said that he’d stolen money, that he had had
their phones bugged because he was spying on them. According to one
source, Ted claimed Generosa even told the children that a big
satellite dish on top of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, across Fifth
Avenue from the Stanhope, had been installed by their father as
another means to spy on them. Ted said he had to take the children
into the museum and get authorities to explain the dish.
Certainly, Generosa believed Ted was being unfaithful. In the
letter to V.F., she said that her marriage ended because “Ted
had taken up with [a woman from his past] and was also having an
affair with another woman by whom he had a baby.” Yet several of the
couple’s friends to whom she related these details found them puzzling.
The blonde investment banker reportedly lives with the son of a well-known
Manhattan businessman. Though the banker declined to return several
messages left at her office, friends of Ted’s say her child, now three
years old, is likely not his. “It was my impression that … if there
had been a romantic involvement, which he never once fessed up to,
that it was sort of past,” observes one close friend. “And in recent
times it was my impression that she was just a real good friend of his.
I would be astonished if the child was actually his."
In the last weeks of Ted’s life, the ordeal had begun to wind down.
There were still courtroom confrontations: Generosa would arrive with
her entourage, including Pelosi, and rail at Ted’s lawyers, her face
contorted with anger, her voice “drippingly sarcastic.” But her own
lawyers had managed to persuade her that Ted’s representations of his
net worth were basically correct. He was actually worth substantially
less than $100 million after debts and taxes were taken into account.
So Generosa would receive between $20 and $25 million, which would
include her town house at 10 East 87th; other properties, such as the
Surrey estate, would be sold. Her demand of full custody was rejected
by a judge. Instead, custody would be split: one week for Generosa,
the next for Ted. Generosa was reportedly resigned to the deal, but
angry and unhappy about it. Final papers were being drawn up. None had
In another twist, Ted’s longtime house servants filed suit against
him on October 17 for several large sums ostensibly owed them. Steven
Guderian and Bruce Riedner are a pair described by one former family
friend as Laurel and Hardy: one tall and gaunt, the other short and
heavyset. They had worked for the Ammons apparently without complaint
for a decade and were, according to a friend of Ted’s, close to
Generosa and part of her entourage. Now they were aggrieved. They said
Ted had gone back on a promise to pay the costs of their relocation
back to the U.S. from England, a sum they claimed to be $137,690.91.
They said that Ted had promised to buy them a home upon the
termination of their employment, and to give them at least $2 million
in cash or securities. They said they had paid family bills totaling
nearly $25,000 out of their own pockets and not been reimbursed.
(“Monies advanced to security guards: $3,250 … Equestrian bills:
$2,898.67 … ”) In addition, they said that Ted had cheated them out of
at least $750,000 in Internet stock. The moneys sought totaled more
than $7.5 million. A source close to Ted says he “laughed” at the
Still, to his friends, several of whom had re-established ties with
him after the split with Generosa, Ted seemed happier than he had in a
long time. New deals were in the air, and as part of a recent phase he
had embraced philanthropy. In 1996 he had stunned his alma mater,
Bucknell, with a $15 million gift, had become the chairman of Jazz at
Lincoln Center in March of 2001, and had just begun helping plan a
temporary memorial at the World Trade Center for the Municipal Art
Society. “Ted was just in fact finding his civic roots,” says the
society’s chairman, Philip Howard.
The week before he died, Ted had dinner at Primola, a fancy East
Side restaurant, with a longtime buddy. Overall, recalls the friend,
Ted seemed optimistic, even though, he told him, Generosa was still
unnerving the children. Not long before that, Ted told another friend,
Alexa had broken down in tears in front of her father. But he felt
confident that, once the papers were signed and he began spending
significant time with the children, they would “heal."
A week after Ammon’s body was discovered, nearly 1,000 mourners
filled Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center and heard Wynton Marsalis
lead an all-star jazz band in a musical tribute. Among the speakers
was Ammon’s partner, Mark Angelson, who addressed the children
directly in their front-row seats. “This is a very confusing time for
you guys,” he said with an emphasis that no one in the hall could
miss, “but don’t be confused about this—your father adored you.” At
the request of Ammon’s sister, Sandra Williams, Generosa had agreed
not to be present at the service. Instead, her lawyers reported, she
had attended a Mass for her late husband earlier in the day. She
reportedly had her husband’s ashes with her: he had been cremated
after an autopsy. The children were with her. After the service at
Alice Tully Hall, their godparents returned them to her. They were
hers now, hers alone.
Some days later, Daniel Pelosi made an obligatory appearance at
East Hampton town court to face charges of driving while intoxicated.
The police report was curious. Pelosi’s car had been sighted weaving
on Dunemere Lane, less than a mile from the Middle Lane house, at 3:43
a.m. on September 16. When he saw the red lights flashing behind him,
Pelosi had pulled over, jumped from the front seat into the back, and
pretended to have pulled over in order to go to sleep. This was not
persuasive to the police, who noted in reports that he had failed
several roadside sobriety tests and refused to take a Breathalyzer
test. At the hearing, two husky Suffolk County detectives converged on
Pelosi’s lawyer outside the courtroom, asking to speak to his client.
“Tell him not to be afraid,” one of the detectives said. “We just want
to ask him about the security system.” The lawyer respectfully
declined to let his client speak to them.
Pelosi, it turned out, was one of the few who knew the code for the
high-tech security system at 59 Middle Lane. The others included Ted,
Generosa, and some hired help. “Mr. Pelosi absolutely denies any
involvement in the murder,” says his lawyer Edward Burke Jr. So does
The detectives were also referred to a defense lawyer named Mike
Shaw, who would be handling any questions about the murder for
Generosa Ammon. Shaw has an interesting record. In 1996 he defended
Niki Rossakis, the so-called “hubby-killer,” accused of having shot
her sleeping husband in their Queens, New York, home. Rossakis was
On Wednesday, November l4, a document of nearly 50 pages was filed
quietly in Room 504 of the Gothic surrogate’s court building in Lower
Manhattan. It was Ted Ammon’s will. By its terms, Ammon bequeathed
nearly his entire estate to Generosa: virtually all financial assets (except
for a tax-exempt gift of $675,000 to his children) and all personal
property and effects. The will was dated August 22, l995. Throughout
the whole yearlong divorce proceeding, Ammon had not had his will
Because the divorce papers had not been signed, Generosa remains
his lawful spouse. The entire estate, as a result, would pass to her
On November 16, at the surrogate’s court, a petition was filed by
J. P. Morgan Chase. The bank is a co-executor with Generosa. Under
normal circumstances, the bank would simply facilitate the transfer of
the deceased’s estate to his spouse, as the will directs. These,
however, are not normal circumstances. After stating that Ammon’s
estate totals $81.4 million (less $30 million in liabilities)—investments
and partnerships, $30.5 million; real estate, $22 million; cash, $l4.5
million; other investments, $l0 million; securities and brokerage
accounts, $2.4 million; personal and household effects, $1 million;
and artwork, $l million—the bank noted that a homicide investigation
was pending, and asked that no assets be transferred until the
investigation was concluded. It also requested to be named the sole
executor. “The bank has decided to take sides here,” fumes one adviser
to Generosa, “which is very unusual.”
Generosa’s lawyers filed a cross-petition to have her remain a co-executor,
and to have the will executed as written. According to one family
adviser, the matter was one of financial urgency: Generosa was
strapped. “Because the bank is hostile, Mrs. Ammon is getting no money,”
the adviser explains. “She’s out borrowing money! She was getting
$50,000 a month in basic expenses from the state supreme court. The
court was entertaining a request to provide a lot more to complete the
construction of her new home. She’s not a money person. She’s just had
no money to pay basic obligations to her family. The hostility of the
bank in this regard is just horrendous.”
At least, the family adviser suggests, the detectives seem close to
solving the murder. They’ve told the adviser they are “closing doors.”
“I think the person or persons who killed Ted will either prove to be
an enraged creditor or an enraged boyfriend,” the adviser to Generosa
theorizes. Why does the adviser suspect a gay-murder angle? Because of
what Generosa has confided about Ted’s behavior in the couple’s last
months together. “He became impotent with her, and that was unusual,”
the adviser says. “He clearly appeared to be losing affection."
For almost two weeks after the murder, the house at 59 Middle Lane
was kept fully lit all night. Apparently, this was to aid the security
guards assigned to the house. From the road, it made for an eerie
sight, the whole place ablaze with light against a dark, misty sky.
Then abruptly one night the lights were turned off, and the house
stood utterly dark. This, explained Chief Sarris of the East Hampton
Village Police, was because the property had been turned back over to
It was Generosa’s now.