When the New York Attorney General’s office indicted its target on 58 counts of larceny, fraud, forgery and unlicensed architecture practice, you just know the folks in the office sneered, “Hello, Newman.”
After all, the indicted man is named Paul J. Newman. And the investigation targeting him? Operation Vandelay Industries.
Clearly, fans of the 1990s iconic sitcom “Seinfeld” populate the attorney general’s office.
Newman is accused of drafting architectural renderings for over 100 properties in Albany, Rensselaer, and Saratoga counties as well as submitting construction documents on which he stated he was a registered architect. He allegedly sealed the lie with a seal of the state, attaching a forged New York State Registered Architect Stamp or Professional Engineer Stamp.
“Seinfeld’s” longest running joke are the two standard lies by Jerry Seinfeld’s career-hopping friend George Costanza: that he’s an architect and his name is “Art Vandelay.” George first uses the lies in combination in the series second episode (1990). The court judge in the series finale (1998) is named “Arthur Vandelay.”
When trying to get an extension of unemployment benefits, George concocted a lie that he had applied at Vandelay Industries to be a latex salesman (a lie that fell apart when he gave Jerry’s apartment number as Vandelay Industries’ number).
According to the indictment, Newman, president of Cohesion Studios, took his deception a little further than George.
“As we allege, for over seven years the defendant has pretended to be a Registered Architect, deceiving hundreds of New Yorkers – including families and senior citizens — with the sole goal of enriching himself,” said Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman in a press release. “By allegedly falsifying building plans, code compliance inspections, and field reports, the defendant jeopardized the safety of those who resided in and frequented the buildings he was contracted to work on. Deceptive actions like these erode public trust — and my office will not tolerate them.”