'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 BossPlay

"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.

She also said that he had claimed that an accident when he was 2 or 3 caused him to be mute. Boss elaborated on that today, recounting that Rockefeller told her that he was mute for eight years until he saw a dog and yelped, "Woofness," and began to speak again.

A different portrait emerged, however, from Rockefeller's friend Don Fox. Fox's daughter was a classmate of Reigh's, and the fathers became friends.

Fox described Boss as a cold and distant mother while Rockefeller was with his daughter constantly.

Parents at the school "never saw Sandy," Fox said.

"She was never around. Even on the weekends she would go shopping in New York," Fox said. "She was always absent. She made Clark do everything for her. It was always Clark and Reigh. She is not a very caring or giving person. She is very cold and aloof."

During testimony on Monday, the man who was recruited to drive the getaway car when Rockefeller allegedly kidnapped his daughter said Rockefeller practiced kidnapping the little girl by hurling duffle bags into the back of a livery vehicle the day before he snatched her off a Boston street.

Darryl Hopkins, the wheelman on that July day when Reigh was thrown into a waiting black suburban by her father, said Rockefeller paid him $3,000 to "get rid of" the "cling-on" following the dad-daughter visit.

The person Rockefeller claimed was a "cling-on," or unwanted friend, was a social worker appointed by the court to supervise Rockefeller's visit with his 7-year-old daughter.

Hopkins said Rockefeller tossed his daughter into the car, banging her head on the door, and shoved the social worker to the ground.

"Snooks was crying. She was saying, 'I really whacked my head, Daddy.' Clark was saying: Go! Go! Go!'" Hopkins testified.

Hopkins peeled away from Marlboro Street and testified that social worker Harold Jaffe desperately clung to a door handle.

"I could feel him pulling on the door," Hopkins said. "Clark was holding the door shut."

Hopkins said that Rockefeller had asked him for a ride to Newport, R.I., to "hobnob" with Sen. Lincoln Chafee, a former Republican senator from Rhode Island.

"They were going sailing with the senator's family," Hopkins said, although there is no evidence that he had an appointment with the former senator.

The driver ridiculed Rockefeller for talking like "Thurston Howell the third," the aristocratic character on the old TV show "Gilligan's Island."

On an previous trip, Hopkins complained that Rockefeller had stopped at a Manhattan bar to eat a rich meal and didn't buy his driver anything.

"He had steak tartare," Hopkins told the court, mimicking a Thurston Howell III voice. "I was his driver. He should have bought me a sandwich"