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[email protected] Chairman Found Slain

R. Theodore Ammon (pictured left), chairman of Jazz at Lincoln Center, equity executive and former venture capitalist, was found bludgeoned to death at his second home in East Hampton, N.Y. on Oct. 22.

Suffolk County police said that Ammon had died of blunt-force trauma, though they would not disclose anything more specific about the injury. Ammon had apparently been dead for several hours before his body was found at 5 p.m. last Monday, after a colleague became concerned when Ammon missed a meeting.

Though he died in his palatial home in the bucolic Long Island village, police have focused their investigation in Manhattan, where Ammon maintained his primary home on the Upper East Side. Ammon’s wife Generosa maintains another address in Manhattan, and the two were in divorce proceedings.

Ammon became a wealthy man from his work with investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company; the 1989 leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco, which Ammon worked on, remains the largest in history at $31 billion. When he left KKR, he founded Big Flower Holdings, which printed and sold newspaper inserts and other direct mailings. He sold that business, which now has $1.9 billion in revenue, to two leveraged-buyout firms in 1999. His latest venture was a private equity investment firm, Chancery Lane Capital L.L.C. He also served on the board of directors of Host Marriott, and was elected chairman of Jazz at Lincoln Center in March.

Though Ammon was widely known as a masterful businessman, his love of jazz permeated his life as much as his success in capital. A Chancery Lane spokesperson said, “He loved life, he loved his kids and he loved jazz. He will be sorely missed.” Wynton Marsalis, artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, said this in a prepared statement: “The amazing thing about Ted Ammon was, even though he was very successful in the competitive world of business, he managed to face each day with the enthusiasm of a Little Leaguer on game day. His perspective was extremely optimistic and his demeanor very youthful.”

Originally Published