'Rockefeller' Said Work Was 'Beneath a Rockefeller'

The ex-wife of the man who posed as Clark Rockefeller testified today that he never held a job but meanly withheld money and food from her, and in winter would only heat the part of the house where he slept.

When pressed to get a job himself, she claims that he replied it would be "beneath a Rockefeller."

Sandra Boss, a graduate of Harvard School of Business, told the court today that she earned about $40,000 a week, but her finances were completely controlled by her husband.

Sandra Boss

"The defendant controlled all the money. The defendant spent all the money. It was difficult to get the money," Boss testified referring to her ex-husband as "the defendant" and avoiding using his name.

Rockefeller, a German immigrant whose real name is Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, is charged with kidnapping their daughter, assaulting a social worker and giving police a false name.

Rockefeller's trial has revealed a litany of fantastic tales he told people about himself and a lifestyle that ranged from the flamboyant to the strange. His lawyer Jeffrey Denner has argued that Rockefeller was insane when he snatched their daughter, Reigh "Snooks" Boss, last summer.


That pattern of bizarre stories continued today as Boss detailed what it was like to live with Rockefeller.

Boss testified that he convinced his wife he was a member of the Tri-Lateral Commission, a private organization of prominent citizens who advise governments on international cooperation.

"He called it 'The Group,'" Boss said. He even flew to Texas for bogus meetings, she testified.

At one point Rockefeller, who claimed to advise poor nations on debt renegotiations, complained that his "clients" blamed him for the collapse of the Asian market.

She claimed that Rockefeller spent all their money, but balked at selling a painting from a collection he claimed was worth $1 billion.

Denner questioned Boss on how a "dynamic" and "vibrant" woman who advised politicians and corporations about their business affairs could not manage to obtain a divorce lawyer.

"I was frightened," Boss testified. "My professional life was not scary. My personal life was."

She said earlier that shortly after getting married, Rockefeller began to display a volatile temper.

"Did he have a lack of empathy, anger, control issues? Yes," Boss said. "I saw behavior that made me think that he was not well."

She also said he became very controlling about how much time she spent with friends, even walked her to work and back home each day. He even began withholding food.

"I was worried about getting enough to eat, getting to spend time with my daughter," Boss testified.

When pressed on the issue by Denner, Boss repeated, "I didn't have enough to eat. The defendant did not give me enough to eat."

Clark Rockefeller Many Tall Tales

When asked about life in their Cornish, N.H., cottage, Boss said that Rockefeller would allow only part of their home to be heated.

"Only in the part of the house where he was sleeping," she said.

At one point, Boss said that she suggested Rockefeller get a job and earn some money if he felt the family needed a larger income.

He responded, "If I ask for money, it would look like I needed it. That is beneath a Rockefeller," Boss testified.

During her testimony on Monday, Boss said her husband described a youth growing up on Manhattan's exclusive Sutton Place, being home schooled, entering Yale at the age of 14, and how his parents died in a car crash.

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