|Kris Kringle moments before his apprehension by the NYPD|
The commitment order came after a highly publicized three day hearing on the mental health and stability of Kringle; who had taken the lead Santa role at the main Macy’s store in
Lenox Square a few days after the annual Thanksgiving’s Day Parade. Kringle had attracted a great deal of attention because his giving and gentle nature created an aura among shoppers and led to much speculation he could be the “Real Santa”
Then came a very public brawl with the head of Macy’s security, psychiatrist Granville Sawyer. While Kringle had previously passed a pre-employment status exam the attention he received as Santa from shoppers and media also created an alleged backlash and rumors among other employees. Kringle accused Sawyer of generating these rumors of a breakdown. The two had an altercation and Kringle hit Sawyer over the head with his cane. Due to his insistence that he is the true “Santa Clause” Kringle was taken to
, rather than jail, at that time to be examined and to wait for a hearing on his competency. Bellevue
At the hearing Macy’s event director Doris Walker testified that she had hired Kringle quickly after the actor portraying Santa during the parade was found drunk and Kringle looked and behaved so much like the legendary figure he seemed to be a perfect match for the job in her time of need.
“But he seemed to be too much into the role,”
said in testimony. “It began to make me uncomfortable, and then he became focused and enthralled with my daughter Susan and I had to do something, a man his age should not be stalking a six year old.” Walker
Kringle’s lawyer, Fred Gailey, used a very unusual defense when attempting to persuade Judge Harper that Kringle was in fact Santa Clause. In a very theatric moment Gailey had 50,000 pieces of mail, from the post office’s dead letter office, addressed to Santa Clause delivered to the courtroom. Judge Harper was not amused by this tactic and charged Gailey with contempt and has in fact begun proceedings’ to get Gailey disbarred.
In another strange move Gailey called District Attorney Thomas Mara’s own son to the stand. This outraged Mara, who was arguing for the commitment order, due to both the boy’s age, their relationship and because he was not on the witness list.
“I have no idea where Gailey got the idea for these ridiculous maneuvers,” Mara said in a post hearing press conference. “He has seen far too many movies and television shows because any lawyer knows this behavior isn’t sanctioned in a real courtroom.”
Following Kringle's capture this morning Macy COO R.H. Macy released a statement saying that he hoped that Kringle could now get the treatment he needed and that the Macy’s company would pay for him to placed in a private hospital if necessary, Macy’s also contributed $500,000 worth of toys to the national Toys For Tots drive hours after the conclusion of the hearing.
“We don’t want this sad episode to darken anyone’s Christmas or change the message of the holiday,” said Macy.