Joey Chait's sentencing memo: Abused in Scientology's Sea Org and in fear of wealthy dad - 2016-07-18
Earlier this month, Joey Chait, 38, was sentenced by a New York federal court to a year in prison for conspiring to smuggle art objects made of rhino horn, ivory, and coral. Joey was in the employ of his father Isadore Chait, whose eponymous I.M. Chait Gallery in Beverly Hills is one of the best known auction houses for Asian art in the world. Izzy Chait, for his part, is also well known to Scientology watchers, who remember his bizarre 2011 appearance along with the "Squirrel Busters" at Los Angeles International Airport in an attempt to unnerve former Scientology official Marty Rathbun.
There was even some precedence for the Chait Gallery being associated with the illegal sale of art objects: Izzy Chait, in 2007, sold a Mongolian Tyrannosaurus bataar skull to actor Nicolas Cage, and after the skull's provenance was uncovered, Cage had to return it to the Mongolian government last year.
It seemed a simple story. Scientologist son of a somewhat unhinged wealthy and well known church figure had traded in goods that fuel the slaughter of endangered rhinos and other animals. Joey got little sympathy on the various Internet forums, and rightly so.