Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Politician Caught in Family Fib

Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff has claimed to be the grandson of radio and television pioneer David Sarnoff. Well, he's not.

On Monday, Sarnoff attempted to correct the record. David is his great-uncle, not his granddaddy. “I know very little about my family,” he said. “My understanding is that he is my great-uncle or something like that.”

David’s connection with the Sarnoff clan ended in 1969, when his father Joel divorced his mother, the commissioner added. “I don’t know my grandfather’s name,” Sarnoff replied when asked the identity of his paternal granddad. “I just remember he had big hands.” [Link]
David Sarnoff's niece says, "I haven’t a clue who this man is. He is certainly not David’s grandson, nephew, or otherwise. He is not related to us."


Marc: Your paternal grandfather's name was probably Matty/Max Sarnoff who died in 1972, about the time your parents divorced. He sold hats but I have no idea if he had big hands or how he might be related to David.


The only way to know for sure is to see if the "Big Hands" box was checked on his death certificate.

Truth Be Told

Marc: Your paternal grandfather was indeed Max or Matty as some called him and your grandmother was Betty. Your father was Joel. There is 100% absolutely NO relation to "General" David Sarnoff or his family in your family history. Sorry to disappoint.


OK, Max and Betty Sarnoff lived in Brooklyn in 1930 with sons Joel and Seymour. Max was born 8 May 1897 in Russia, and had emigrated in 1900.

Matty Sarnoff married 28 Apr. 1925 in Manhattan Betty Schneider.

Truth Be Told

That's correct. Marc's true grandparents on his father Joel's side are Max and Betty of Brooklyn. Marc's mother, Elaine, remarried a Man named Joe Stagnitta shortly after the divorce and they lived on Long Island for many years before moving to N.C and then Florida. Elaine assumed Joe's last name and never identified with Sarnoff, let alone the Jewish faith ever again. (I'm pretty sure I saw a picture captioned "Elaine & Joe Sarnoff" w/ Marc on the web or maybe his web site a few months back. What's that all about?) Marc unlike his 2 sisters, was the only child of Elaine and Joel that kept the Sarnoff name. We can go on and on with the "truth" but as we can see flat out no relation to the "General" what so ever. It's my opinion Marc really shouldn't even identify with the Sarnoff name given the history after the divorce in 1969. So who is this guy who calls himself "Marc Sarnoff?"


He might very well be related to David Sarnoff—just not on this side of the Atlantic. I'm not sure why he doesn't have the right to use the surname of his biological father. I'm pretty sure that I do.


Could Marc's mother's name be Alaine, not Elaine and one of the sisters is Karen?

Truth Be Told

Yes, that could be the spelling. One sister is Shari I believe, not sure on the other.

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