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Clark Rockefeller may have fabricated identity before abducting daughter

By Carol Eisenberg

July 30, 2008 at 3:17pm

Clark Rockefeller led people to believe he was a scion of the wealthy Rockefeller clan.

He favored bow ties and Topsiders, told associates he had attended Yale and boasted about a private art collection that included paintings by Rothko and Mondrian.

But the divorced father who fled with his 7-year-old daughter during a supervised visit in Boston, appears to have been as brazen in fabricating his identity as he was in planning to abscond with his child.

As police mount an international manhunt to find the two, they concede that Rockefeller’s identity is a mystery. The 48-year-old apparently used a number of aliases including James Frederick, Clark Mill Rockefeller and Michael Brown, police told the Boston Globe. They say they have been unable to find a valid social security number or evidence of a job.

Yesterday police searched for Rockefeller in New York, where he is believed to have initially fled with his daughter, Reigh Storrow Boss.

They were also combing the high seas for a yacht that Rockefeller told friends he had recently purchased and docked in Long Island. Police think Rockefeller intended to sail with his daughter to Bermuda or Peru. A friend of Rockefeller’s told detectives that Rockefeller claimed he bought a 72-foot yacht with $300,000 in gold bars, according to a law enforcement official - a claim that police were trying to verify.

“Investigators have learned that Clark Rockefeller is a very elusive and secretive man,” Elaine Driscoll, a police spokeswoman told the Boston Herald.

What is documented is that Rockefeller and his former wife, Sandra Boss, had an acrimonious divorce in 2007 after a 12-year marriage. Soon afterwards, Boss, a senior partner at McKinsey & Company, was transferred to the company’s London office, and took her daughter to live with her there.

Boss appears to have been the family breadwinner during the marraige. A graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Business School, she rose through the ranks at McKinsey and was also active as a trustee of The Mount, the newly restored estate and gardens of the author Edith Wharton.

Her husband, in contrast, was described as a man of leisure. In Cornish, N.H., where they had lived part-time, he was often seen gliding down his street on a Segway, dressed in gray slacks, blue shirt, and a bow tie, according to the Boston Globe. Occasionally, he showcased his wealth, once kicking around art tubes on the floor and claiming they contained Rothkos and other works by famed painters.

He was also described by neighbors as the main caretaker of their child, since Sandra Boss had a demanding career.

At least a few neighbors say they found Rockefeller’s behavior peculiar.

“Once I got a clear vision of this person, he was truly one of the most difficult, pathological personalities I’ve ever known,” Peter Burling, a New Hampshire state senator and a neighbor told the Globe.

Burling did not recall Rockefeller ever pronouncing himself a member of the wealthy family, but he said he left that impression. “Everybody was immediately led to assume that he was one of the Rockefeller family, that there was lots of money, lots of power, and that Clark was just [in Cornish] to have a quiet little place,” he said.

Merilynn Bourne, a Cornish selectwoman, told the Globe that she once asked Rockefeller why the Rockefellers living in nearby Woodstock, Vt., knew nothing about him. “Because I changed my first name,” she quoted him as saying.

The Rockefeller Archive Centre has indicated, however, that Clark Rockefeller has no connection to the billionaire Rockefellers descended from John D. Rockefeller.

A former babysitter for Reigh Storrow Boss, named Emily Miller, told the Globe that the family frequently shuttled between Cornish and homes in Boston and New York. The Globe verified that the Cornish property, as well as a $2.9 million Beacon Hill house, are listed in Boss’ name.

At the Algonquin, a prestigious private club in Boston, where Rockefeller served as a director until three months ago, he was described as aloof - as though he wanted to keep his family connections private, one club member told the Boston Globe.

Few appeared to have questioned his assertions that he had worked as a physicist for an aerospace company, or another story that he had devised financial investment tools.

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9 Comments

  • #1.   Beacon Hiller 07.31.2008

    If you plan to run a scam like this, at least choose a lesser-know name as your fake. The DuPonts, Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and Rothschilds all have over a century of fraudulent claims of relation by scammers. Go with Pew or Aldrich to run your scam, or if you live where this guy did, dash in a bit of irony, and call yourself Appley. These famous families all have genealogical verification institutions built in that can disprove these claims at a moments notice… this scam has all of the amateurish marks: A Rockefeller who is also an astro-physicist, does secret work at the Pentagon, and buys catamaran with gold bars? Which yacht dealer would accept gold bars? These are all the usual taglines of pathological scammers. At a party one night, he told me that he was an “avalanche expert working as a consultant to the US Ski Patrol”, an entity that does not exist.

  • #2.   Allston Pegged 07.31.2008

    I had the occasion to meet this fellow a few times — as others have reported he was indeed a bit ‘odd ‘ and led others to believe that he was a member of the famed family. He is also a member of the Lotos club in NYC which is where I bet they wind up finding him. During one of our discussions where he mentioned that he was a Physicist… upon deeper investigation when asking what his given area of practice was…his only response was “the standard kind of course”. He also bragged of his Harvard affiliation but declined invitation to join/register at the Harvard Club because it wouldn’t be “proper”… he could not recall his house affiliation and when at a later date corrected that he was at HBS not the College…he couldn’t recall class year or cohort. fraud. hope they find the little girl and find a way to lock him and his topsiders sans-socks up with some guys who will know how to better handle… also interesting… he is an absolute baseball nut who claimed to have played extensively in his youth — has stats memorized rainman style — when we offered up deluxe fenway tickets for him and his daughter last summer he declined upon learning that a drivers license would have to be presented at will-call… excusing himself as one ‘unaccustomed’ to waiting in line.

  • #3.   John Stein 08.01.2008

    I do also hope the little girl is found safe and placed away from both of the nuts who are Her parents! I find this simply crazy. The Boss Lady was married to this man 12 years and never a visit with his supposed family nor any contact from any other member? His not knowing classmates or details of a University he claims to have attended? His non-filing of tax returns? There homes and property showing up only in the wife’s name. There is more to this than being told!

  • #4.   Paul 08.01.2008

    TO ALL FATHERS BEING ABUSED BY THE JOKE PROBATE COURTS IN MASSACHUSETTS. SOMEONE SHOULD SET UP AN UNDERGROUND RAILROAD FOR FATHERS IN THIS SITUATION. THIS WAY THEY CAN GET SOMEPLACE WHERE THEY WILL NOT BE PROSECUTED KEEP THEIR WEALTH AND LIVE WITH THEIR CHILDREN. IF THIS HAPPENED THE COURTS WOULD HAVE TO CONSIDER SHARED CUSTODY. THE AUTHORITIES WILL GET SICK OF IT REAL QUICK WHEN THEY ARE DOING AMBER ALERTS EVERYDAY. IF WOMEN WANT EQUAL RIGHTS WE WANT EQUAL CUSTODY AND EQUAL MONATARY CONTRIBUTIONS. FEMANAZIS TAKE HEED. FIGHT BACK DADS AND YOU WILL WIN……

  • #5.   femina 08.03.2008

    PAUL, DEAR,
    Ms. Boss didn’t marry for money, HE DID. Hence his reason for calling himself ROCKEFELLER …to attract a well-heeled woman who would allow him to be “a man of leisure.”
    His “money” came from her. In exchange for getting half the value of HER HOME which SHE BOUGHT with HER MONEY, he AGREED to giving her custody.
    Honestly, you boys think you’re the only ones who work for a living or who acquire wealth.
    Ask John McCain who pays the bills in his family…

  • #6.   Sounds Familiar 08.04.2008

    This story is in the news because a famous name is involved. There are similar frauds taking place around the world on a daily basis.

    Check out http://www.lovefraud.com

  • #7.   Paul 08.04.2008

    Men get conned into relationships all the time by fake women. These women use the Massachusetts legal system to rape men of their children, assets, and dignity. Good fathers are destroyed by this system. If he was the primary caregiver, he was not violent, and he did not make the money why was he not given custody with child support? Because he was a man and the w.h.o.r.e judges do not want to upset the N.O.W. FEMINAZI whiners who say they are equal to men but are too weak to compete against them.

  • #8.   ricahard b hoffa 08.10.2008

    they should try to keep the foriegners and exchange students out of tbis country enough is enough we got our own problems

  • #9.   silvereyes1945 02.13.2013

    “If he was the primary caregiver, he was not violent, and he did not make the money why was he not given custody with child support?”

    Duh!!! Fake names, lies, DEAD BODY IN CALIFORNIA, neighbors who said he never allowed his child to play with other children (corroborating wife’s testimony that he isolated her daughter), homeschooling methods that have shades of Tigerdad (that Yale professor who wrote a book about her “Tigermom” method of parenting was condemed as abusive), not to mention the fact that HE AGREED to give the wife custody because he didn’t want to say his real identity to the courts (murder charges explain why), abusive behavior toward the wife that included CONTROLLING HER ACCESS TO HER OWN CHILD -Parental Alienation anyone! Yeah, why shouldn’t he get custody? These fathers rights people are stupid1

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