HIGH SOCIETY SCANDAL: The Eccentric Millionaire Who Trashed The Venerable National Arts Club Has Finally Been Kicked Out

aldon james

Photo: AP Images/Wikipedia

Over the summer we wrote about a high society scandal wracking the National Arts Club, a 113-year-old institution on Gramercy Park.The longtime president of the club, an eccentric millionaire named O. Aldon James, had nearly driven the club into the ground through supposed financial mismanagement, shady apartment rentals, and an overall inability to keep the place clean.

James was removed from his 25-year reign in March, but it was only last night that the club officially expelled him from its ranks, meaning he will have to give up his apartments in the storied building, DNAinfo reports. His twin brother and a friend were also expelled, according to DNAinfo.

James reportedly used the club to hoard massive amounts of junk, and he rented apartments to family members for a small fraction of their market rates. He’s also been blamed for a rash of dead exotic finches that started turning up around Gramercy Park in March, according to The New York Daily News.

James and the two other men who were expelled are currently under investigation by both the State Attorney General and New York District Attorney General’s offices, DNAinfo writes.

Want to see what a mess this place was? Check out these before-and-after photos of the massive cleanup effort that took place after James stepped down last spring.

Many of the “before” photos were taken by Miguel Serrano, a doorman at the NAC who was fired by James and re-hired by the board; and Luis Alfredo Garcia, a former employee who filed a New York State labour complaint against James after leaving in 2009, according to a source. Amy Zimmer, a news editor at DNAinfo, took the “after” pictures.

The National Arts Club is located in a stunning Gothic Revival brownstone overlooking Gramercy Park

BEFORE: The front desk, piled with papers and books

BEFORE: O. Aldon James' office was loaded with papers, a cowboy hat and an old blowup globe

AFTER: The same office, after the cleanup

BEFORE: The boardroom of the National Arts Club in 2009

AFTER: The boardroom, today

BEFORE: Mountains of junk filled the presidential office

AFTER: Great views of Gramercy Park from the empty presidential office

BEFORE: A damaged ceiling in the art storage room

BEFORE: An apartment in the National Arts Club, prior to cleanup

AFTER: A bare apartment in the club

AFTER: A bookshelf-lined apartment sits empty

AFTER: Many of the apartments appear damaged in photos

AFTER: Another apartment, post cleanup

AFTER: The fireplace in this apartment is now visible

AFTER: Much of the debris was carted out in dumpsters

AFTER: Artwork is still being appraised. This painting has a gash; the frame is worth an estimated $5,000

Source: DNAinfo

BEFORE: There's still a ways to go in the club library

The National Arts Club is still one of the most impressive buildings on Gramercy Park

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