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The War for Ted Ammon's Children


In May 2002, Generosa reportedly began suffering from fainting spells. Pelosi took her to a hospital in Suffolk County, where she was advised to see an oncologist. By June, Generosa had been diagnosed with cancer and started chemo. Dowd confirms that at the time she blamed the cancer on Ted, saying that during the late nineties, her family doctor had told Ted—but not her—that she should get a lump in her breast checked out. But a source close to the doctor says he’d pleaded with Generosa to come in for tests at the time, and she didn’t. “I think it was just a hard time for her,” the source says. “I mean, they were going through the worst divorce in the world.”

When Pelosi was jailed for the DWI this past February, the police started working over his friends. On the morning of April 4, 2003, Tammy Pelosi, Dan’s first wife, was pulled over by police on the Long Island Expressway and taken in for questioning about the Ammon murder. Within a day, police also interrogated Pelosi’s cousin Frank Perrone and three others described in court papers as “acquaintances”: Alexander Mawyer, Arnold Cherubino, and Chris Parrino, the friend who tried to take the rap for Pelosi’s DWI. All five now are suing the police for harassment. Their 28-page complaint includes accusations of some ham-fisted police work (“You aren’t going to be talking to a lawyer,” one cop allegedly said. “This isn’t like Law & Order”), and from the questions police asked, the rough outlines of a theory of the Ammon murder emerge. Police allegedly accused Cherubino of hiding bloody clothes for Pelosi on the weekend Ammon was killed.

Last month—Friday, June 13—Pelosi completed his DWI sentence and police promptly rearrested him on an old larceny charge, saying that he had rewired his house to steal power from the electric company. Pelosi made bail, but the Suffolk County court now gets to keep his passport while the Ammon grand jury does its work.

With the couple no longer living together, Generosa is determined the children, and presumably most of Ted’s money, won’t be left with Pelosi. “Generosa’s lawyers apparently argued successfully to her that she should not have a convict taking care of the children,” a source close to Pelosi says. “And he did some things that bothered her.” Dan asked for money, buying at least two cars for members of his family. And he gambled. “Last fall, he took off to Las Vegas for a long weekend, and she got mad. I think somebody called her and said, ‘I’ve seen Danny with another woman.’ ”

Kathryn Mayne, the nanny (who refused to comment for this story) to whom Generosa has entrusted her children, is a polite, bespectacled 57-year-old woman who wears her dark hair in a ponytail and speaks with a soft English accent. In 1999, she was hired as housekeeper at Coverwood. Generosa brought her over last July to care for the kids, not long after she learned of the extent of her cancer. “She struck me as very caring, very concerned, very warm, very loving toward the children,” says Donald Wall, the children’s law guardian during the divorce, who has spoken to her on the phone.

Sandi Williams asked a judge to order that the twins’ passports be deposited with the court—so, should Generosa die, the nanny won’t be able to take them home.

Generosa, it appears, is still having some difficulty getting control of all of Ted’s money. J.P. Morgan and Generosa are technically co-executors of the estate, but, according to a source close to Generosa, “J.P. Morgan has put restraints on transfers of assets to Ted’s wife during this criminal investigation.”

There may be less there than she thought. A month after the murder, surrogate-court estimates put Ted’s estate at about $80 million—far less than the $300 million or more Generosa claimed Ted was hiding during the divorce proceedings. Of that $80 million, $26.5 million was paid last year to J.P. Morgan Chase to satisfy a line of credit in Ted’s name that had funded his venture-capital business. A $5 million home-equity line of credit also was repaid. With all debts factored in, the estate’s official net worth is now $54 million.

A source close to J.P. Morgan does not directly dispute restricting access to the estate, but emphasizes that by no means has Generosa been “left out in the cold financially.” The jointly owned real estate alone represents a huge inheritance—probably more than the $25 million divorce settlement on the table before Ted died. Generosa sold more than $30 million worth in the past year, though what she took and what the estate took remains in question: Ted’s co-op at 1125 Fifth Avenue went for $9.5 million; the townhouse Generosa was renovating at 10 East 87th Street, $8.2 million; the Surrey estate, $7.5 million; a commercial property Generosa had designs on developing in East Hampton, $3.7 million; and an Upper West Side condo, $950,000.

Her kids are having some trouble, too. In a brief phone conversation, Pelosi wouldn’t comment on either court case but did claim they were being teased at school. Says Dowd: “They’ve been confronted at school by what’s in the paper and they can’t understand it.” Back at Middle Lane, Generosa has erected a large security gate. Asked if the children are uncomfortable living in the house where their father was killed, Dowd, her attorney, pauses.

“I think that’s a bad way to put it. The children love their mother a great deal and want to be with their mother in a safe, secure environment.”

If, in the next year or so, Grego and Alexa should find themselves living in Huntsville, Alabama, they’ll no doubt have friends whose parents work for NASA or Boeing or Lockheed Martin. The city of 168,000 is a high-tech, high-income mecca. The Williamses’ house is in a pleasantly wooded neighborhood nicknamed Pill Hill for the doctors who live there. Bob is a nephrologist who not only donates money to a charity he created for dialysis patients but also owns two strip malls, a tree nursery, and a health club that Sandi co-manages. His green Ford pickup has a vanity plate that reads NEPHRO; Sandi drives a Subaru Outback.

In their living room, in front of their stone fireplace, Sandi talks about her brother’s final weeks. While Bob believes Ted genuinely feared for his life, Sandi has trouble thinking of her brother as so vulnerable. “I don’t think Ted really expected it,” she says. “I mean, obviously he didn’t. I think he just expected it to be a lifetime conflict over the children.”

I ask Sandi and Bob if they believe anyone thinks they’re out for a share of Ted’s money.

“Oh, it doesn’t bother us a bit,” Sandi says. “We want the children because we love the children.”

“We don’t need it—it’s brought nothing but heartache,” Bob insists, noting that they live well within their income of at least $500,000 a year. “If they’ve got 50-gazillion dollars, that’s not gonna change anything. It’d be better if nobody knew what they were worth, including them.”

“Ted thought money would be a burden to his kids, too,” Sandi says. “He started giving it away. After they moved to England, Grego came up to his dad and said, ‘Are we rich?’ Ted laughed and said, ‘No. I’m rich. Maybe you’ll be rich someday.’ It just skews their vision of the future—and how much they’re capable of. You’re worth something because God loves you.”

She looks across at her husband. “The point is, we can provide the most loving, stable—emotionally stable, physically stable—home for them, no question,” she says. “They have never been part of a faith community, and I think that’s a huge part of rearing children.

“And,” she is quick to add, “it’s absolutely what their father would have wanted.”


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