THE FOUNDER of a groundbreaking troupe of male strippers was also a killer born of greed and a failed business relationship.
ABC’s “20/20” will delve into the life and crimes of Chippendales creator and convicted murderer Somen “Steve” Banerjee tonight at 9 p.m. EST.
A former employee interviewed for the program called him a greedy, money-hungry “cheaper,” according to the network tweeted.
The concept of male strippers performing in front of a female audience was brand new in the US when Banerjee introduced it at his Los Angeles nightclub in 1979, ABC reported.
For the immigrant from Mumbai, India, it was an overnight success. Women lined up outside the club almost every night.
In the 1980s, Banerjee teamed up with Emmy winner Nick DeNoia to refine the show and expand the concept. They eventually opened a Chippendales location in New York City together.
But the duo have disagreements over the show’s creative direction that have ruined their relationship.
Banerjee and DeNoia eventually made a deal in which DeNoia would receive 50 percent of profits from a touring version of Chippendales.
But Banerjee got upset with DeNoia after that touring business turned out to be more successful than initially anticipated.
So in 1987 he hired a man named Ray Colon to kill DeNoia. Colon, in turn, hired a man named Gilberto Rivera Lopez, who actually pulled the trigger.
Immediately after the murder, there was no evidence linking Banerjee to the crime.
Business as usual continued for him until 1991, when investigators uncovered Banerjee’s second murder plot.
Disgruntled by the success of Adonis, another troupe of male strippers that included several former Chippendales dancers, he hired Colon for a few more hits.
An informant informed investigators of Colon’s plans and he was promptly arrested.
But Banerjee wasn’t involved in the plot yet.
After seven months in prison, Colon finally decided to cooperate with the authorities.
It took the assassin two meetings and a trip to Switzerland to get Banerjee to confess on tape, but he was eventually successful.
Banerjee was arrested for contract killing in 1993 and pleaded guilty shortly thereafter. In 1994, he killed himself in prison the day before his scheduled sentencing.
Colon pleaded guilty to contract killing but was released from prison in 1996 for his cooperation with investigators.
Rivera Lopez was convicted of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to 25 years to life.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6933831/chippendales-murder-steve-banerjee/ Twisted new details emerge about the true personality and assassination plot of Chippendales founder Steve Banerjee as staff members have their say