The Detroit Free Press documented Bentivolio’s extensive career as a Santa Claus impersonator, offering up such ornamental details like the names of two of his live reindeer — Rumples and Aurora — that are responsible for pulling his sled. Bentivolio’s Santa fixation crosses over from quirky to troubling, however. A lawsuit he filed against a former client of his bankrupt housing business revealed that Bentivolio has trouble differentiating between himself and his Santa Clause alter ego:
“I have a problem figuring out which one I really am, Santa Claus or Kerry Bentivolio,” he said in his deposition. “All my life I have been told I’m Kerry Bentivolio, and now, I am a Santa Claus, so now I prefer to be Santa Claus.”
His days as Santa almost got off to a promising start when he received an invite to appear as Saint Nick at the White House. But after he called a news conference to announce his good fortune, a former vendor who was owed money by Bentivolio called the White House to complain, and his trip to the nation’s capital was nixed. He sued the vendor, her husband and two newspapers who covered the whole debacle for $1 million, hoping to strike gold.
During the trial, Bentivolio took to referring to himself as “we” instead of “I,” until the court asked him to stop.
His campaign did not return requests for comment, but this may prove to be quite the gift to Bentivolio’s Democratic challenger Syed Taj.