55 year old Howard Frank was discovered floating face down in the Gowanus Canal on June 29th, a couple of days after he was last seen outside the Landau shul on Avenue “L” in Flatbush.
“I actually think he was murdered,” said shul regular, Aaron Farrell, when PIX 11 met him outside the synagogue on Friday. “He was always nervous the last few weeks. He was saying he owed $80,000 to someone and he was supposed to meet him.”
The money was apparently owed for Bensonhurst storage fees to house Howard Frank’s huge collection of one million photos ….of TV stars from the 1950’s to the 1990’s. He had ten thousand pictures of the late comedienne, Lucille Ball, and used to license them to magazines and other publications. He started collecting when he was 18, but his business took a “downturn” after the9/11 terror attacks hurt the economy. Still, Frank was trying to find ways to digitize his collection.
According to Howard Frank’s estranged brother, Reuven, acquaintances of Howard’s later said the troubled collector was telling them, “People were after him. They wanted to kill him.”
Some believe Howard Frank committed suicide, because he was evicted from his apartment several years ago, didn’t have a job, and owed money.
When we reached Frank Pohole on the phone Friday, we asked him about a document Howard Frank signed about a week before his death, putting a “lien” for $78,000 on his photo collection, in the event he died. This was to cover the storage fees he accumulated over the last, few years.
“Don’t you think it’s curious the timing of him signing this, and then he’s dead a week later?” PIX 11 asked Pohole.
Pohole responded, “Well, there were a lot of other things in Howard’s life he never told me about.”
By MARY MURPHY - pix11.com