2007_05_henryhuds.JPGThere's a fascinating obituary in the NY Times today for Harvey J. Weinstein (no relation to the movie producer). Weinstein died on May 13 at age 82 in Manhattan, and while he was once the head of the biggest tuxedo manufacturer, he gained a different kind of notoriety when he was kidnapped in 1993 by a man who worked at one of Weinstein's companies as a collar maker.

According to the NY Times obituary, Weinstein had "just finished his usual breakfast at a diner on Northern Boulevard" when he was forced into a car. Over the span of 12 days, his sons paid up a $3 million ransom in cash, but at the time one of the kidnappers went to pick up the money in Highbridge Park, the police arrested him. As for Weinstein, he had been buried alive in a "barrel-shaped pit". From the NY Times:

“Thank God you’re here, and I’d like to have a cigarette,” Mr. Weinstein said to detectives who, on Aug. 16, 1993, had to dig through several inches of topsoil and lift a steel door weighted down by cinderblocks to free him from the camouflaged crypt just north of the 158th Street exit of the Henry Hudson Parkway.

The police, informed of Mr. Weinstein’s whereabouts by one of five suspects in the kidnapping, had heard his muffled cry from the 14-foot-deep, 5-foot-wide hole, “I’m here, I’m here.”

Employee Fermin Rodriguez, his brother, and his girlfriend were convicted and sent to prison. Men's fashion industry trade mag, DNR, wrote in its obituary of Weinstein that "a slipup by Fermin’s girlfriend, Aurelina Leonor, that led police to Weinstein. In her conversations with the family, Leonor referred to Weinstein as “Mr. Harvey,” a term used by the employees at West Mills [one of Weinstein's brands].

Weinstein's son Mark told the Times that his father's Marine experience during World War II helped him during his kidnapping, "He said that he ‘wrote’ what he called ‘the greatest autobiography never written.’ day he took a year in his life and recounted it out loud.”