Claimed he was famous Hollywood director before disappearing
Copyright Â© 2008 by Dave Copeland. All Rights reserved. Attribute all references to Dave Copeland.
Correction posted 8/7/07 at 10:30 a.m.: Christopher Crowe is believed to have worked for a short time at Kidder Peabody after leaving Nikko. The original version of this post incorrectly reported he went to work for Lehman Brothers after being fired by Nikko.
Clark Rockefeller, being held for allegedly kidnapping his own daughter and labeled as a â€œperson of interestâ€ in the 1985 disappearance of a California couple, once trained with legendary vulture capitalist Stan Phelps and was sought by Connecticut State Police in late 1988 or 1989, days after disappearing from his high-paying, high-profile Wall Street job.
Rockefeller, who went by the name Christopher Montbattan Crowe at the time, worked for Nikko Securities International in 1987 and 1988 before being fired for incompetence. Almost immediately after departing Nikko, Rockefeller landed a job at Kidder Peabody as international sales manager, according to interviews conducted Wednesday by Dave Copeland, author of Blood and Volume: Inside New York’s Israeli Mafia.
But after two days at Lehman, Rockefeller told his supervisors that he needed to take time off to search for his parents, who he said had gone missing in Afghanistan. A different source said that Crowe told his supervisor his parents had been kidnapped in South America and he would be traveling there to pay a ransom.
Sources said Rockefeller â€“ who told co-workers at Nikko he was film director Christoher Crowe â€“ was dismissed by Kidder Peabody. Rockefeller even invited co-workers to the Greenwich, Conn. guest house he was renting for screenings of “his” movies. Rockefeller claimed he was living in the guest house because his own home was being renovated, a claim that co-workers assumed was one of his tall tales.
The day after his dismissal from Lehman, a Connecticut State Police detective and an FBI agent arrived at the offices of both Lehman and Nikko looking to question Rockefeller.
â€œIt was obviousâ€ that he knew police were closing in on him, the source said.
The source â€“ one of Rockefellerâ€™s former co-workers on Wall Street — told author and investigative journalist Copeland that he believes the Connecticut law enforcement officers were sent on behalf of the Los Angeles County Sheriffâ€™s Department to question Rockefeller on his possible involvement in the disappearance of John and Linda Sohus in 1985 from their affluent home in San Marino, Calif., and whether or not he was Christopher Chichester, a con-man linked to the Sohus disappearance.
â€œThey mentioned something about a body found in a pickup,â€ the source said, while conceding that details remain foggy after 20 years.
Chichester lived in the Sohus guest house and disappeared from San Marino, Calif. shortly after the couple was reported missing in 1985. In 1994, when the new owners of the home were installing a swimming pool, workers unearthed human remains that were believed to be those of John Sohus, who was 26 in 1985.
Last week, when Rockefeller was apprehended in Baltimore after a week-long manhunt stemming from the kidnapping of his seven-year-old daughter, fingerprints were matched with an application Chichester filed for a stockbrokerâ€™s license. The Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department has officially labeled Chichester as a â€œperson of interestâ€ in the case and sent two detectives to Boston on Tuesday to interview Rockefeller.
Before working for Nikko, Rockefeller trained with Stan Phelps, one of the early vulture capitalists for about six months. Rockefeller worked as a securities analyst for Phelps, who is perhaps most famous for being one of the first Wall Street bosses of junk bond king Michael Milken. Phelps has publicly taken credit for training Milken. The source told Copeland that Nikko fired Rockefeller for incompetence, although his co-workers knew almost immediately that he was â€œstrange.â€ In addition to telling them he was the film director Christopher Crowe, Rockefeller claimed to be descended from royalty â€“ similar to boasts he made while living in Boston, and similar to claims Chichester made while living in California.
â€œHe was the salesman who never made a sale,â€ the source said of Rockefeller, who was hired under his Crowe persona to set up a corporate bond operation for Nikko. â€œHe talked a good game but it was so superficial.â€
Rockefeller lasted so long at Nikko because the Japanese-owned firm did not place a priority on its newly-formed corporate bond unit. His former co-workers got their second shock in as many decades this week as Rockefellerâ€™s picture â€“ and the bizarre circumstances surrounding his daughterâ€™s disappearance and safe return — became the lead, national news item. Previously, the same co-workers had gossiped when the Sohus case was featured on Americaâ€™s Most Wanted.
The source also made a point of noting that Rockefeller was â€œawkwardâ€ around women during his time at Nikko.
â€œHe gave off very strange vibes. It wasn’t that he was gay, and it wasn’t that he hated women,â€ the source said. â€œItâ€™s hard to defineâ€¦.He talked a good game but no one ever saw him with a woman. It was just a little strange.â€
Rockefellerâ€™s attorney and Phelps, as well as spokesmen for Kidder Peabody and the Connecticut State Police, could not be reached for comment late Wednesday. Nikko is now a shell of the high-flying firm it was in the 1980â€™s following a racketeer-payoff scandal that crippled four of Japan’s biggest investment firms in the 1990â€™s.
â€œEveryone on the Street had their own Chris Crowe story,â€ the source said.
Dave Copeland is an investigative journalist who will continue to follow the Rockefeller case and report on his findings at www.davecopeland.com and other outlets. Tips and comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Background information courtesy of:
* LA investigators want to grill father â€“ The Boston Globe, Aug 6, 2008
* Man held in Boston a ‘person of interest’ in San Marino cold-case homicides â€“ The Los Angeles Times, Aug. 6, 2008
* Love triangle may be behind apparent slay â€“ The Boston Herald, August 6, 2008