Dan Pelosi could be a cold-blooded killer or just a hopelessly naïve palooka—or maybe both—but last week, with one breathtaking picture in the Post, the electrician turned murder suspect instantly upgraded from Long Island lowlife to tabloid immortal. There he was, cigarette in mouth and beer in hand, taking his wife’s ashes out for a memorial Cosmo on the rocks, her favorite drink.
Generosa Ammon Pelosi might not have appreciated the gesture. Her will, revised in July, not only specified that her ashes (like her East Hampton house) should be left to her children’s nanny but gave Pelosi—who had once stood to inherit millions—nothing. And while Pelosi’s lawyer, onetime John Gotti mouthpiece Gerald Shargel, made noises last week about contesting the document, the will couldn’t have come as a surprise to Pelosi. In July, Generosa’s estranged husband signed a $2 million postnup in return for not contesting it. What’s puzzling is why he would have settled for such a relatively low sum, given that in New York even an estranged spouse is entitled to one third of the whole estate. (Generosa herself was estranged from her first husband, Ted Ammon, when he was killed.) “I couldn’t understand it,” says matrimonial lawyer Raoul Felder. “It’s a very bad deal, particularly since he knew she was dying.”
Maybe she agreed to take certain secrets to her grave. Or maybe, as Pelosi suggested, she wanted him to have cash in hand for his legal defense—a grand jury is investigating his role in the brutal murder of Ted Ammon—rather than have him wait for years as the estate crept through the courts. Or maybe he reasoned that he could always contest the new will later. Or, as he’s hinted, he could go after the kids—joining the ongoing battle for custody of Generosa’s 13-year-old twins, Gregory and Alexa. The will grants custody to their British nanny, Kathryn Mayne, with the idea that she’ll raise them in the Hamptons house (the same house, of course, where their father was murdered). But try as she did, Generosa can’t have the last word here. “A baby is not a Chevrolet,” says Felder. “You can’t decide who’s gonna get a child. The courts are heavily involved in that.”
Ted’s sister, Sandi Williams, a Sunday-school teacher from Alabama, has been trying to get custody of the twins since May; as their next of kin, she’s a front-runner. “I think it’s clear to the world,” says Williams’s attorney, Stephen Gassman, with lawyerly understatement, “that Dan Pelosi’s an inappropriate stepparent.” Certainly, Pelosi didn’t act in the most appropriate manner when he helped himself to Generosa’s ashes from the Upper East Side’s Frank E. Campbell funeral home and strolled over to the Stanhope bar. But Pelosi can explain that, too: He’d promised, he said solemnly, to take her for one final drink where the couple’s trysts had begun. (Did he also promise her he’d welcome the press to the table?) “That picture says it all,” snorts Generosa’s lawyer, Michael Dowd—who was until her death a staunch defender of Pelosi. “It’s Danny with the two things he loves most in the world—himself and alcohol.”