These days, it seems the idea of working hard and paying for something yourself seems to be out of fashion. If you want something, but can’t actually be bothered with getting the money together, you can set up a GoFundMe account and persuade everyone else to chip in with the dough instead.
Is everyone who uses GoFundMe like this? Clearly not – but Ears To The House is of the opinion a sizeable number are. Which brings us to this particularly curious fundraiser on the site now by Keoki Franconi, better known as DJ Keoki – a man whose very successful DJing career began in New York in the 1980s.
Whilst in the city, he met and fell in love with a man called Michael Alig, the head of Club Kids, a group of ostentatious partygoers who would dress up in costumes and party in New York and elsewhere in the USA. Alig died on Christmas Eve in 2020 of an accidental drugs overdose.
Franconi now wants to plant a tree in memorial of Michael Alig and also someone called Angel Melendez. So far, so innocent sounding, right? So what the hell are we doing writing about this? Well, there’s one rather large piece of the story with Keoki omitted to mention on his fundraiser.
And that’s the fact that on 17th March 1996, Michael Alig and his accomplice Robert D Riggs murdered Andre “Angel” Melendez in cold blood. Melendez wasn’t exactly a salt of the earth character – he was a known drug dealer. On that fateful night, Alig and Riggs killed Melendez in a dispute over a drug debt.
The details of what happened afterwards are even more grim. Melendez’s corpse was left in a bath full of icy water, but it began to stink due to decomposition. Alig agreed to gruesomely dismember Melendez’s body in exchange for ten bags of heroin – his legs were put into separate bags, with the remainder stuck in a large box Riggs found in the apartment where he died.
The box was thrown into the Hudson River, with the awful discovery of his legless torso by a group of children playing in the area in September 1996. Both men admitted during 1997 their role in the murder – Alig and Riggs were sentenced to 10 and 20 years respectively, with Alig finally leaving prison in May 2014.
Franconi wishes to raise the money to fund memorial trees for both Michael Alig and Andre Melendez, with his original plan of a mural having been “brought down to the ground”. We are told local businesses object on the grounds it could invite graffiti to the area and reduce property values.
The possibility they might not want something in their area associated with a murderer appears not to have crossed Franconi’s mind…