Getty's deadbeat grandson, John Paul Getty III, was kidnapped in Rome by Calabrese bandits on July 10, 1973. They demanded a ransom of $17 million. Naturally, the elderly Getty began negotiations ... on the amount. They say you can't put a price on family, but apparently you can, and that one was too much. After a few months of highly-publicized stalemate, the kidnappers got fed up, cut off Getty III's right ear, and mailed it to a newspaper. Accompanying the grisly gift was a threat-filled letter that nevertheless dropped the ransom to around $3 million.
Getty's reaction to the threat: more haggling. He wasn't willing to go a penny higher than $2.2 million. Maybe it would've been 2.5, but now that his grandson was no longer in mint condition ...
Just kidding! There was an entirely more horrible reason for that oddly specific sum: Getty's accountants had informed him that $2.2 million was the maximum tax-deductible amount in the situation.
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In the end, Getty ended up producing the tax-deductible $2.2 million. Then he loaned the rest of the ransom money to his son, John Paul Getty II ... at 4 percent interest.
What? That's a solid interest rate on a human life!
After six months of captivity, a traumatized, one-eared John Paul Getty III was released, and promptly became a drug addict who ended up paralyzed after an overdose-induced stroke. Nine kidnappers were arrested, and although the situation likely did no favors to the atmosphere at the Gettys' thanksgiving dinner, we're betting that was the last time anybody tried to kidnap any of them.
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