The New York Daily News by Rocco Parascandola - October 4, 2009
Ready for the latest scoop on Tom Carvel?
The ice cream icon's niece believes the man behind Cookie Puss and Fudgie the Whale was murdered 19 years ago - and has filed new court papers asking for an exhumation and fresh autopsy. Pamela Carvel wants Westchester County officials to resolve her concerns that the gravelly-voiced ice cream man was served up cold by a pair of disgruntled employees. "I feel I owe it to him," says Carvel. "The truth is what we're after. If it turns out there was no foul play than there wasn't - but if there was, I don't want any crime to go undetected. "My family really feels something happened to him." According to Carvel, her 84-year-old uncle was worried in the days before his death on Oct. 21, 1990. And she suggested in a 2007 Florida lawsuit that Tom Carvel was killed by two workers trying to cover up a multimillion- dollar embezzlement scheme. Her uncle was known for his raspy, rumbling voice and his low-fi TV commercials touting Fudgie the Whale, Lo-Yo frozen yogurt and other desserts. Carvel, who died in his Dutchess County home, suffered from heart disease - and his death certificate listed a heart attack as the cause of death.
But his niece, a fraud investigator who was working in China when he died, remembers her uncle's concerns for his safety and his finances. Tom Carvel - who sold his ice cream business for $80 million shortly before his death - was suspicious that key aides were stealing from him, she said. Authorities in Dutchess and Westchester counties, along with state police investigators, have heard her concerns and conducted at least preliminary investigations, according to sources. But she says none were full-blown probes. She suspects her uncle was poisoned or strangled, and alleges his death certificate includes a forged signature. Pamela Carvel, who lives in Florida, had previously filed a Fort Lauderdale lawsuit seeking an exhumation - but that effort was thrown out two years ago. She filed a new suit in White Plains last month asking for permission to have her uncle's body dug up from Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale. Carvel opened his first store in the suburban town back in 1936. firstname.lastname@example.org