Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Kissels Of Death


Andrew Kissel at Epona Stables, April 2005.  

Doriane, his high-school girlfriend, painted flames on the Le Mans and even helped with mechanical work. “I was voted best-looking in high school, and here I am with Wolfman Jack, fixing an alternator,” she says. They dated for five years, long enough for Doriane to enjoy Andy’s generous side. One day, she lamented how she didn’t have a car. So Andy bought her one. “He spent, I think, $500 in 1977,” she says. “It took a long time to start it up in the morning, but I was thrilled. My boyfriend bought me a car!”

A few years later, Doriane and Andy met up again, this time in New York. She lived on the Upper East Side with a boyfriend. Andy moved in as a roommate. By then, he had changed. “He’d gone from being Andy to Andrew,” she says. Andy had been endearing, funny, vulnerable, at times giving. Andrew was an up-and-comer enamored of status signifiers. “His self-esteem came from what he had around him,” says Doriane. He was a commercial-real-estate agent at an unprestigious firm. But he already had a Porsche. He loved restaurants. “He had a different air,” she says. He wanted Doriane to hold her fork differently, correctly, and to speak formally. If you asked Andrew to call you, he’d answer, “I shall.”

“Stop it!” Doriane teased him. “I know Andy!” Where had Andy gone? The change didn’t surprise Doriane, but it saddened her. “Oh, no,” she thought, “being Andrew is going to be a full-time job.”

Andrew met Hayley Wolff at Stratton. Hayley had been Jane’s ski coach, and later Jane introduced the two. In 1992, Andrew and Hayley, newly married, moved into a one-bedroom, $295,000 co-op apartment at 200 East 74th Street. Hayley was a blonde Ivy Leaguer—University of Pennsylvania, then Columbia Business School—sporty-looking, striking. She’d grown up in New York in a well-to-do family—her father is CEO of Louis Berger, a $500 million engineering firm in New Jersey. Hayley’s parents, too, had a house in Vermont, and Hayley was a superstar skier. She loved to compete, and in 1983, she became the women’s world mogul champion. Finance, though, was her field; in a few years she was on track to be an analyst for Merrill Lynch.

Not long after he and Hayley were married, Andrew launched his own company. “He’d always wanted to be in real estate,” says Bill. And, perhaps, like his father, he wanted to be in business for himself. Andrew called his company Hanrock. Rob had helped with the business plan, and maybe that’s why Andrew used the first letters of Hayley, Andrew, Nancy (his brother’s new wife), and Rob in the name. Hanrock purchased small apartment buildings in “under-the-radar neighborhoods,” as he told his father, mostly in Hudson County, New Jersey.

Rob eventually kicked in $500,000—a gesture of brotherly support, perhaps. He could afford it. After business school at NYU, Rob had gone to work for Goldman Sachs, which shipped him to Hong Kong in 1997, a spectacular moment to land in Asia. The region was in economic collapse. You could buy up debt for cents on the dollar, turn around and sell it for two or three times that amount. Rob loved “spending someone else’s money,” as he told a friend. And he was good at it. In 2000, Merrill Lynch hired him away. Rob, says one competitor, “was one of the best-respected investors in Asia after the crisis.”

For a time, one Kissel brother seemed to outdo the other. Rob was a financial whiz; Andrew’s real-estate ventures might not be sexy, but as even his father says, “He was doing well.” The brothers weren’t always close; for one thing, Rob’s wife didn’t get along with Andrew (or with Hayley or Bill, for that matter). Plus Andrew had that wild spending streak—sometimes he’d disappear from a group only to show up later in a limo; Rob kept a tighter rein on his finances. At times, Rob asked his wife for receipts on even minor outlays. Still, they both drove Porsches, and each bought a vacation house in Vermont, a few miles from one another. Rob, a hard charger, seemed to appreciate their mutual success. As a friend of Rob’s says, “Rob respected Andrew on a certain level because he was doing really well.”

It was a view shared by Andrew’s neighbors at East 74th Street. Andrew impressed people with his cars. One was a $60,000 Mercedes E320 4matic station wagon; Andrew spent another $25,000 to redo the interior. And there were larger, more impressive expenditures. He bought two more apartments—one below his; another adjacent—and combined them into a single sprawling unit that was the showpiece of the building. Apparently, Andrew could easily cover the costs. He let slip that he was worth $20 million. As a favor, he even agreed to let a couple of neighbors invest in his New Jersey properties.


Current Issue
Subscribe to New York

Give a Gift