Saturday, 2:15 PM
Rockefeller waives extradition in a Baltimore court
(Courtroom Sketch by Art Lien/Getty Images)
By Maria Cramer, Globe Staff
BALTIMORE -- Clark Rockefeller agreed this morning to return to Boston to face charges for allegedly kidnapping his 7-year-old daughter, waiving extradition after he shuffled into court in wrinkled khaki pants and worn loafers without socks.
Baltimore Police Department
Rockefeller, a slight man with thinning red hair, said little during the brief proceeding in Eastside District Court. He wore a baby-blue Polo shirt and had his hands cuffed behind his back. Leg irons forced him to take small steps.
Prosecutors did not detail the charges or describe the massive international manhunt that was sparked after he allegedly kidnapped his daughter during a visit supervised by a social worker in Boston last Sunday. Judge Nathan Braverman asked Rockefeller if he really wanted to waive extradition.
"That's correct," Rockefeller said in a calm, steady voice.
Boston police are expected to take custody of Rockefeller in Baltimore first thing Tuesday and transport him back to Massachusetts. He could be arraigned in Boston Municipal Court as early as tomorrow afternoon, said Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk District Attorney's office.
This afternoon a spokeswoman for the Baltimore realty company that tipped off police to Rockefeller's whereabouts described how a man they new as Charles "Chip" Smith contacted them by e-mail in late 2007 for help shopping for a home for him and his daughter. Julie Gochar, a managing partner of Obsidian Realty, read a brief statement to reporters that added even more complexities to what investigators have already described as an elaborate kidnapping scheme.
Rockefeller told the realtors that he and his daughter were relocating from Chile and needed a two- to three-bedroom home. The company worked with him for several months, arranged for him to stay in a rental property in Baltimore to facilitate his house hunting, and allowed him to use the Internet at their office.
"Throughout this entire process, he presented himself as a single parent relocating himself and his daughter to Baltimore," said Gochar, who read directly from the statement and took no questions.
Rockefeller came to Baltimore in mid-July to finalize the purchase of a carriage house on Ploy Street. "This was a cash transaction using cashier's checks, which is not an uncommon practice," Gochar said.
On Friday the realtors saw a bulletin on the morning news that showed photographs of the man they new as Chip Smith. The story identified him as Clark Rockefeller and said he was wanted for allegedly kidnapping his daughter. They immediately called police, Gochar said.
Rockefeller was arrested here Saturday in the carriage house where police say he was trying to start a new life with his daughter, Reigh Storrow Mills Boss, often called Snooks. John Day, the seller, of the Ploy Street home, told the Globe on Sunday that he also knew Rockefeller as Chip Smith. He paid cash for the roughly $450,000 home, saying he liked the yard and the proximity to Grace and St. Peter's School, a private Episcopal elementary school, in the city's Mount Vernon neighborhood, Day said.
"I met him like a month and a half ago, when we were doing a walk-through in the house, and it's funny, he mentioned that he was bringing his daughter here to live. So I guess he thought he was not going to get caught," said Day, managing partner of Mount Vernon Portfolio Equities, the real estate investment and property-management company that sold the carriage house to Rockefeller.
Day, who has two young daughters, said he and Rockefeller spoke fondly of their children and of shared interests in sailing and Japan. "He didn't make it seem like this was a way station."
Authorities lured Rockefeller from the carriage house on Saturday with a ploy involving his sailboat, which was docked about 3 miles away.
Authorities found his daughter safe inside the home and reunited her that night with her mother, Sandra Boss, who flew from Boston immediately, police said.
Their reunion, witnessed by a sergeant detective from Boston, "went very well," according to Deputy Superintendent Thomas Lee, head of the Boston Police Department's criminal investigation division. Lee declined to provide the current location of Boss and her daughter, out of respect for the family.
Meanwhile, Rockefeller was in custody in Baltimore. Police officials have taken Rockefeller's fingerprints and are running them through databases to determine if he is connected to any crimes, a second law enforcement official said. Lee said Rockefeller appeared to be planning to start over with the daughter whose custody he lost in divorce proceedings in December.
"It seems like he was setting up a life down there," Lee said. "I have no doubt that he would have been right back in high-society circles."
In Baltimore, Rockefeller used at least two aliases - Charles "Chip" Smith and Clark Rock, according to Lee - that were distinct from the four or more he used in Boston and other areas, where he apparently went by Michael Brown, JP Clark Rockefeller, James Frederick, and Clark Mill Rockefeller. In divorce proceedings, Boss, a senior partner in London at McKinsey & Co., accused Rockefeller of being a fraud who lied about being a member of the famed family.
But even under a different name, Rockefeller cut the same figure in Baltimore that he had on Beacon Hill, on Nantucket, and in New Hampshire, as a well-bred, well-traveled, quirky man with an intellectual bent, rarefied interests, and a preppy wardrobe.
When he met Day for the property walk-through in mid-June, a month after first expressing interest through an agent, he wore deck shoes and a polo shirt with the collar upturned. He had a sweater knotted around his neck.
"Real preppy," said Day, adding that he "didn't figure out what he did, but he seemed very bright, definitely."
He said Rockefeller had a slightly off-putting accent - "sort of like a Madonna accent, like a fake English accent."
Day, whose wife is Japanese, said Chip Smith knew specifics about Tokyo that most tourists would not know.
Day said he thought it was unusual that the man was buying a home for his personal residence under a limited-liability corporation instead of his own name. Day, speaking from his home in a phone interview, said he did not have the sale paperwork before him and could not give further details.
But the sale was easy, Day said, save for a two-week extension on the closing that Rockefeller requested through an agent, citing treatment for a medical condition in Switzerland.
The nearly 3,200-square-foot carriage house at 618 Ploy St. - which previously had been rented as a three-bedroom apartment - sits behind a mansion that had been turned into an apartment building in an upscale neighborhood dotted with prominent brick houses a century or more old.
Day, whose partnership still owns the apartment building, subdivided and sold the carriage house to Rockefeller, who closed about two weeks ago. In the end, Rockefeller was given about $20,000 in credits off the purchase price, because Rockefeller wanted to add his own touches to the kitchen, upstairs flooring, and yard.
Yesterday, the tall, arched windows on the carriage house revealed a nearly finished living space and an array of moving boxes, including an open carton that contained imported bottles of sherry. A dark leather couch and matching chairs could be seen, as well as some framed paintings propped against a wall.
A colorful print dress - matching the one Rockefeller supposedly bought for his daughter before fleeing, according to photos released by police - lay on a hallway bench.
Rockefeller had led some in Boston to believe he had a 72-foot yacht waiting on Long Island, but the craft turned out to be a poorly maintained day-sailer docked near Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Last week, Boston Police said they had initially believed that Rockefeller planned to flee on the yacht with his daughter to Bermuda or Peru, but found no evidence to support that theory.
FBI agents said they lured Rockefeller by making him believe his sailboat was taking on water. He left the girl alone while he went to check on the boat.
Rockefeller had kept his Stiletto Catamaran at Baltimore's Anchorage Marina for at least nine years, though he never seemed to sail it, said Jim Ruscoe Jr., the marina's manager, in an interview yesterday. A few times a year, Rockefeller would come by the marina merely to check on the shabby-looking boat, he said.
"It's in such bad shape, he would come out to see if it was still floating," Ruscoe said.
After being approached by the FBI, Ruscoe said, he came up with the idea to draw Rockefeller out with a call about his 26-foot boat taking on water; he had made a similar call last year when that happened.
Ruscoe said he reached Rockefeller - whom he knew as Chip Smith - on a local number Saturday at about 1:30 p.m., with at least one FBI agent listening in.
Rockefeller had docked the boat, named Puma, at a 35-foot slip that he rented from the slip's owner. Such spots usually rent for about $3,000 a year, Ruscoe said.
The marina, which bills itself as Baltimore's premier yachting center, is about 3 miles from Rockefeller's carriage house. Yesterday, his sailboat - its pink and blue racing stripes cracked and faded - remained docked there, bobbing amid a host of sleeker-looking craft.
Said one passerby, eyeing Rockefeller's boat: "That damn thing's been here for years."
Globe correspondents Christopher Baxter and Jonnelle Marte contributed to this report.
This blogger might want to review your comment before posting it.