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More on the Frazetta heist


The Pocono Record story has been updated on the Frank Frazetta artwork theft we reported earlier today, giving some background and the names of the accomplices, a video of Frank Jr’s wife explaining her side of things, and a copy of the police report.

The driver of the backhoe is identified as Frank Bush, against whom charges are pending. A third man is identified as Kevin Clement, who lived next door to the Frazetta museum. Clement is a familiar figure to east coast fantasy fans are the organizer of the Chiller Theatre Expo horror conventions held twice a year in New Jersey. Clement, it is important to note, has not been charged with any crimes.

Some idea of the family squabble following Ellie Frazetta’s death is emerging:

Frank Jr.’s wife, Lori Frazetta, said the incident was the result of family infighting that began after the death of Frank Sr.’s wife, Ellie, a few months ago. According to Lori, Frank Jr. and Ellie ran the family business until Ellie’s death a few months ago – when the infighting over Frank Sr.’s paintings began.

Lori Frazetta said her husband, Frank Jr., notified state troopers of his intentions to inventory the paintings, pursuant to a civil litigation among family members. She also said Frank Jr. was planning to take the paintings to a secured location when he was apprehended.

Troopers called Frazetta Sr., who was in Florida at the time. Frazetta Sr. denied that Jr. had the right to move the paintings.

Obviously, this is a custody battle with millions at stake — the 90 paintings taken were insured for $20 million, but on the open market would be worth much more. Over the years Frank Frazetta Sr. has held on to his artwork, refusing huge sums to sell such iconic works as his Conan covers. However, after Ellie’s death, Frazetta’s three other children, Heidi, Holly and Bill retained art dealers Robert Pistella and Steve Ferzoco to start handling the artwork, licensing and other business matters. The two formed Frazetta Management Corp. and the way Frazetta’s art was being handled began to change — in November for the first time one of his legendary Conan covers was sold for $1 million. Not chump change and just the beginning of a likely goldmine.

It’s not exactly a secret that there are a lot of legal questions regarding Frazetta’s iconic artwork — the Frazettas had a legal entanglement with David Spurlock/Vanguard productions, for instance. With mentions of a family lawsuit, and other infighting it’s clear that just how to run the family business has become a matter of contention to the point where a backhoe was brought in.

Frazetta’s own condition — weakened by a series of strokes over the years and, according to the Pocono Record report, suffering from dementia — makes everything even sadder.

It’s likely that more troubling details will come out eventually about some of this. We’ll do our best to report what’s germane and not merely petty.

  1. This is sounding like a very sad situation, and one that I’ll try my best to forget in the years to come. I don’t want to remember Frazetta in terms of scandal. I only want to remember that Frazetta is one of the most influential and skilled illustrators of the 20th century, defined an entire genre of fantasy art, and created a style so unforgettable that other artists will be using it as an inspiration for decades – perhaps centuries – to come.

  2. Holly, Heidi and Billy have stole, cheated and lied since the day Eleanor, Franks wife passed away. They are sick people and stole from the home the night after the funeral. Plotting against Frank jr, they managed to manipulate father Frank to believe that it was Frank jr who had been taking the artwork. Original artwork is now being held in the three sibling’s homes. Maybe the feds should check that out? If Frank jr is being charged they should all be right there with them. Just because they didnt use a tool to get into the museum doors, which wasnt necessary because they are the ones who locked Frank jr out, doesnt mean they arent brainwashing their poor father to the extreme. Holly, Heidi and Billy should be behind bars for many reasons.

  3. They tried to burrow through the walls of a museum with a backhoe? These guys aren’t exactly Ocean’s 11 are they?

  4. @Alexa

    If you know people, you know what’s goin on. Believe what you want but the truth will come out sooner or later. You’ll all see.

  5. They only used the backhoe to pull open the heavily fortified doors of the museum. There was no digging involved, or breach of the museum walls.

  6. Having had legal hassles of my own, I empathize with the choice of a backhoe as the tool of preference, but they would have been better off with a lawyer.

  7. @Johnathon

    I do know people, and I’ve heard a different story. I don’t think either of us have the whole picture, though.

  8. I’m heartbroken to hear all this after getting to know this family over the years.
I just sent a card for Ellie. Very sad.
 I believe Lori that Frank Jr. was trying to secure the work and avoid a sell-off by mounting greed. Some of them are seeing dollars instead of history and art.
I hope this resolves and the family and work stay put.

    Steve Ferris

  9. I can only speak as a fan who holds Frank Sr. in the utmost esteem. The first painting I have ever seen of his was Death Dealer, and it shaped my entire fantasy perspective since age 7. Everything went from glitter and flowers to raw power and limitless imagination. Frank Sr. and the memory of his great wife deserve more dignity and respect than this, no matter who is at fault for what reason….they both worked too hard to be treated this way. This scene is not unfamiliar to anyone who had a loved one’s death lead to the iconic “circling vultures” effect, and it is physically nauseating to see this happening. Frank Frazetta is not an old man sitting on top of a gold mine, he is THE hero to thousands of artists, and his art is historical. This is just as insulting as spitting in his face in front of all of us who look up to him, and it is doubly insulting to us because it shows how little his own blood (whichever is really guilty) cares for the honor of guarding it over the incentive of fast cash. Keep his art in his museum where anyone who ever felt touched by him can enjoy it instead of some private room away from the public eye. I have not been fortunate enough to see the museum, much less meet him myself, but I am still working towards that, and I know that I am not the only one. My sympathies to Frank Sr. and anyone else caught up in this sad, sad struggle to preserve his legend. I hope you guys can forgive my anger, this is a serious punch in the gut.

  10. That is exactly my point, Frank sr. is being treated so wrongly. He doesn’t understand what is going on right now with his artwork. All he knows is that his children are fighting over the money and his work and it is so sad. They are acting as if he is already dead. I am so astonished to see what money does to people with zero morals. Frank jr by no means took the smartest road possible to secure the paintings, but there is obvioulsy reasoning behind the whole tactic of “securing” them. Apparently, Billy, the other son has been taking artwork out of the museum and the house since the passing of Eleanor. He is the one who has access to both. It just doesnt seem to add up being that Frank jr was the brother who ran the website for the past 12 or so years. It is unbelievable to me that three siblings would let their brother be put away like this. The alleged, drug use, and other accusations being made for the reasoning behind him being disinherited are bizarre because the others have a history as well. Hypocricy to the extreme. To clear one last thing up, many of the news reports have claimed that Frank sr goes to Floirda every christmas. He has not been to FL in years because he is not in the best of health and should not be traveling with all the medications etc. Leave Frank sr alone you greedy self centered children! Have some respect for your mother who recently passed. Would she want any of this to be happening? I didnt think so.

  11. Jonathon, get real. If you are defending Frank Jr. you must be Frank Jr., oh wait you can’t be because they don’t allow internet access in JAIL! You say you know people, so you know what’s going on, well you don’t have to know people to gain access to public record, and those records show a string of illegal activity for Frank Jr. this is not an isolated incident, he’s been charged with fraud more then once, and now he’s being charged with grand larceny. Commit a crime when you have priors, and the judge will nail you every time. Siblings, infighting, greed, may all be true but the fact remains that Frank Jr. is a bad seed.

  12. Watched the clip of Lori Frazetta … she certainly seems nervous.

    I had visited the museum twice, and really wanted to go back again, now that I live much closer. I suppose that’s a pipe dream, now.

  13. This is such a sad story of what money and material things can do to a family. The whole family is in on this! They have all been taking art from there father as well as undisclosed amounts of cash since their mother passed away. If the press would just dig deeper they will find that this is just the tip of the iceberg! Wait til the IRS investigates this, then the house of cards they have all been hiding in will come crumbling down on them. Their greed and lies will come out eventually. Frank was just protecting what hadn’t already been taken by his brother and two sisters!

  14. Aye, Power of Attorney it seems. I have had seen my fair share of squabbling over inheritance, even when the property’s owner is still alive and kicking (and ridiculous crap happens every time). Now I cannot not say this is what really happened, but it would not surprise me in the least if the fighting escalated to taking advantage of Frank Sr’s dementia between the kids, resulting into Frank Sr. signing a PoA (during a phase where he legally exercised cognitive thought) to Frank Jr., and that leading to him being locked out of the museum by the other three. If that was the case I can understandably see Frank Jr. panicking over the possibility that the other three might clear out the assets, and ended up getting the OK from his father to take such extreme emergency measures. Just the fact that Frank Jr. had to take such a reckless gamble with a backhoe after his father signed over PoA to him suggests some serious jaded issues about the fighting. And Frank Jr. is correct too, if he stole the art and tried to sell it, it has no monetary value in the case that if the police recovered it, whoever bought it will not get reimbursed for their loss (regardless if they did not know/check that it was stolen). I will admit Bill’s statement that he wanted to resolve the issue, before it got to court, raised my eyebrows a bit. The issue could be different though, but it is still upsetting that his rightful self-made property is in contention between his kids while he is still alive and kicking.

    If you are doing this to save your dad and his legend, then I am behind you 100% Frank Jr.

  15. Having dealt with Frank Jr over the last 7 years and having had promises made and broken I shouldn’t be surprised by this turn of events but I am deeply saddened that the real victim is Frank Frazetta. He must surely still mourn the passing of his beloved wife and now to deal with the fracas between his children must be heartbreaking. I have always defended Frank Jr in representing his father as his spokesperson on his website (yes Dr Dave, his son should always speak for his father) and I know too well how siblings react when carving out the parent’s estate. Bill,Heidi and Holly please make peace with your brother and together do best by your father. The world will remember what you do.

  16. Rare Footage:

    This is how the children viewed the death of their mother. Now the Tin Man with no heart (Frank jr) Cowardly Lion (Billy) ScareCrow without a brain (Holly) and the kiss ass Lead soldier (Heidi) who pretended to be on the witch’s side all along ,but then surprisingly hailed to the rest of her posse when she died. Frank sr, he’s Oz. He “GIVES ALL” so of course they were all on a quest to find these vital organs. Im in shock they are reliving the wizard of oz. I knew they loved fantasy, but this is out of hand.

    After this clip, you will understand the comment.

  17. Was there a lead soldier in the wizard of oz? And I would have to say jr was the one without a brain, and the coward, and the one without a heart being he’s the one hurting his father by his cowardly stupid heartless actions!

  18. For what its worth..I work at a little grocery store in florida on the island in which Frank Sr has a home. I just wanted to clear up something and that is that I have seen Frank Sr in Florida every year for about 10 years now..last year he came in the store with his wife and her sister…so as for him not traveling…its completely false!!!

  19. FCC
    Message to: “Lynette” “Midget” “Sam”

    We are now investigating this misuse of identity on various blogging sites. The same IP address has been used for the following names, Lynette, Midget, Sam. You must discontinue the illegal actions of false identification or this will be used as evidence in any legal matters concerning your familly.

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