No one can accuse State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of lacking a sense of humor or wanting in his knowledge of “Seinfeld” trivia.
In a news release this week about the indictment of a phony architect who scammed more than 100 commercial and residential property owners out of nearly $200,000 by pretending to be a licensed and registered architect, Schneiderman dubbed the investigation that led to the indictment “Operation Vandelay Industries.”
Of course, any hard-core fan of the sitcom about nothing knows Vandelay Industries was a running gag throughout the nine seasons of “Seinfeld.” It was the brainchild of, perhaps, Seinfeld’s most despicable character, George Constanza. The hapless nebbish infrequently adopted the pseudonym Art Vandelay to deceive unwitting guest characters on the show, but usually failed.
In the third episode of the first season of “Seinfeld,” the fake Vandelay Industries started out as an import/export company before Constanza briefly reconsidered representing it as an architectural firm. In subsequent seasons, it was a manufacturer of latex and purchaser of computers.
Finally, in the finale, Art Vandelay showed up in the character of the judge who sentenced Seinfeld, Costanza, Elaine Benes and Cosmo Kramer to a lengthy prison sentence, which might end up being the fate of the real-life phony architect charged by Schneiderman’s office.
In, perhaps a nod to serendipity, the accused phony architect shares the same surname as Jerry Seinfeld’s nemesis: Newman.