Whether he was in latex, an architect, a marine biologist, an importer/exporter or a judge, the name “Art Vandelay” has been widely associated with Seinfeld. Now, someone in real life tried to claim a false identity as an architect but for more sinister reasons than George Costanza.
Someone by the name of Paul J. Newman (isn’t that ironic) allegedly made over $200,000 by defrauding businesses in upstate New York by claiming he was an architect. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman didn’t overlook the apparent similarity to the legendary NYC-based sitcom. Schneiderman’s office called the investigation “Operation Vandelay Industries” and even noted that on his Twitter account.
I'm indicting alleged fake architect Paul Newman on 58 counts as a result of our "Operation Vandelay Industries." pic.twitter.com/8cfn6zQIGk
— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) April 20, 2017
In all seriousness, George didn’t get in this much trouble as Art Vandelay. Newman is alleged to have defrauded businesses and towns throughout Albany, Rensselaer and Saratoga Counties. Newman, the President of Cohesion Studios Inc., was not a registered architect and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
In a statement, Schneiderman said, “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,” Mr. Schneiderman said in a statement about what his office called Operation Vandelay Industries. “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.”
Having said that, the New York Times points out something very notable and something that would bug a diehard Seinfeld fan. George Costanza never posed as an architect and at the same time, claimed to be Art Vandelay. The Vandelay name was first used as Jerry was supposed to pose as the boss of a latex company so George could extend his unemployment. Art Vandelay was Elaine’s fake importer/exporter boyfriend and an “obscure writer” who George claimed wrote the book “Venetian Blinds.” Art Vandelay then turned out to be an actual judge in Massachusetts in the series finale.