$100 million in swindled assets found, but where is the art?

NEW YORK (AP) – An official appointed to recover the assets of a prominent Manhattan lawyer accused of defrauding hedge funds of at least $400 million says he has safeguarded more than $100 million in assets, including an $18.5 million yacht. Certain artworks, however, are still missing.

The court-appointed receiver, Mark Pomerantz, outlined his findings about lawyer Marc Dreier and his 150-lawyer firm, Dreier LLP, in a report recently heard last Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Dreier, 58, was arrested in December on securities fraud charges. He remains under house arrest while his lawyer, Gerald Shargel, prepares what he says is likely to be a guilty plea for his client.

“The report speaks for itself and obviously reflects the fact my client cooperated with the receiver,” Shargel said during the court proceeding.

Pomerantz said Dreier received $670 million between 2004 and 2008 from the sale of fictitious securities, spending much of it on a lavish lifestyle that included millions of dollars in artwork, beachfront homes on both coasts and the yacht, Lady Seascape.

The receiver said Dreier’s law firm, despite appearances of profitability including rapid growth and new construction, was actually losing enormous amounts of money.
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Image courtesy Geppi's Entertainment Museum.

Geppi’s Entertainment Museum introduces Dollar Day admission

Image courtesy Geppi's Entertainment Museum.

Image courtesy Geppi’s Entertainment Museum.

BALTIMORE – With families more challenged than ever to find economical forms of entertainment, Geppi’s Entertainment Museum at Camden Yards (GEM) has stepped up to the plate with a budget-pleasing offer. On any day that the Orioles or Ravens have home games this year, admission to the museum, located adjacent to Oriole Park, will be only $1.

“This special offer is an unbeatable value,” said GEM’s Executive Director, Melissa Bowersox. “Our hours of operation will be extended on home game days to allow individuals and families to experience America’s most exciting pop culture museum at a very affordable price. Whether you’re attending a game or just in the area, the admission will be only a dollar.”

A tour guide is required for all groups availing themselves of the Game Day Special. An additional $1 per person tour-guide fee will be added to admission, for a total of $2 per person. Groups at this rate must adhere to guided-tour times of 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30pm. This rate is valid on home game days only for the Baltimore Orioles 2009 season (first home game will be April 6, against the New York Yankees) and Baltimore Ravens 2009 season, and is valid for one group per tour time.

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NYC art gallery owner charged in $88 million theft

NEW YORK (AP) – The owner of a now-closed Manhattan art gallery with a star-studded clientele is being portrayed as a thief who stole $88 million from art owners, a bank, and investors, including tennis great John McEnroe.

Lawrence B. Salander used the money to try to corner the Renaissance art market and to support an extravagant lifestyle that included private jet travel, a lavish party for his wife at New York’s Frick Collection museum, and the purchase and maintenance of his Manhattan town house and a 66-acre estate, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau has alleged.

Morgenthau said Salander defrauded a total of 26 victims in two primary ways:

In one, he sold artwork not owned by him and kept the money. The district attorney said Salander sometimes sold a piece of art owned by someone else several times.

“Why sell it just once when you can sell it three times?” Morgenthau said.

In the other, Morgenthau said, Salander lured investors into bogus or nonexistent “ghost” investment opportunities. He said this was the scheme Salander used to bilk McEnroe out of more than $2 million.

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Rare North Carolina surveyor's compass, made in the late 18th century by Camm Moore ($28,750). Image courtesy Leland Little.

Antique surveyor’s compass points to success at Leland Little

Rare North Carolina surveyor's compass, made in the late 18th century by Camm Moore ($28,750). Image courtesy Leland Little.

Rare North Carolina surveyor’s compass, made in the late 18th century by Camm Moore ($28,750). Image courtesy Leland Little.

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. – A rare North Carolina surveyor’s compass, made around the late 18th century by Guilford County artisan Camm Moore (1755-1845) soared to $28,750 at a quarterly cataloged auction held March 21 by Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales Ltd. It was the final sale held in the firm’s South Nash Street location. Next month, the firm moves into new digs, at 620 Cornerstone Court.

“With the success of this cataloged auction, we were able to end on a very positive note at our present address,” said Leland Little, owner of the firm, “but we very much look forward to our move in April into a 10,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that is ideal for our needs.” An inaugural sale is slated for Saturday, April 11, and the next cataloged auction will be held the weekend of June 13-14.

The surveyor’s compass was in working order, with an untouched natural patina. It had a silver (or silvered brass) dial, engraved with “Made by Camm Moore, Guilford” around the center ring. Four quadrants were marked “0-90” and the compass was set in a brass housing, with a lid and two hinged sighting posts. Moore was primarily known as a silversmith, but he also made surveying instruments.

Leland Little estimated about 250 people packed his showroom to participate in the final sale of a 10-year run on South Nash Street. “It was standing room only all day long,” he said. “As usual, it was a strong collaborative effort that carried the day. We have a wonderful team and support staff.” Also, about 1,000 pre-bids were recorded via phone, absentee and online through LiveAuctioneers.com.

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Earliest known Mickey Mantle game-used New York Yankees home jersey, 1952. Image courtesy Grey Flannel Auctions.

Earliest known Mickey Mantle home jersey in Grey Flannel sale

Earliest known Mickey Mantle game-used New York Yankees home jersey, 1952. Image courtesy Grey Flannel Auctions.

Earliest known Mickey Mantle game-used New York Yankees home jersey, 1952. Image courtesy Grey Flannel Auctions.

WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. – Grey Flannel Auctions’ phone and Internet auction running from April 6 to April 29 features an 850-lot selection of blue-chip sports memorabilia with impeccable provenance. Leading the lineup is a highly important item of baseball apparel that was game-worn and very clearly autographed by one of the greatest players ever to wear the New York Yankees pinstripes: Mickey Mantle.

The auction’s headliner, the 1952 Mantle jersey is the earliest known home jersey worn by the strapping young Oklahoman in his first year as centerfielder for the Yankees. Not only did “The Mick” wear the flannel jersey with the number “7” on its back during play in 1952, he also signed it on the lower left-front shirttail in a broad hand with a black marker.

According to Grey Flannel Auctions’ president, Richard E. Russek, the autograph – in and of itself – is rare because of its vintage and because it is so large. The autograph has been authenticated by JSA Spence Authentication, and the jersey has been authenticated by MEARS. Written documentation (JSA Spence COA and MEARS LOA) from both companies will be included with the auction lot, which has been photo-matched for positive I.D.

As further provenance, the inside collar of the Mantle jersey has a Spalding & Bros. manufacturer’s tag and a white felt strip tag chain-stitched in blue with the words “M. Mantle 52.” A Yankees 1903-1952 50th Year patch is sewn onto the jersey’s left sleeve.

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'The Night Cafe' by Vincent Van Gogh. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

Update: Man says he’ll press claim over Van Gogh painting

'The Night Cafe' by Vincent Van Gogh. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

‘The Night Cafe’ by Vincent Van Gogh. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) – A descendant of the original owner of a famous painting by Vincent Van Gogh will press his claim against Yale University that he is the rightful owner, his attorney said Friday.

The Ivy League university sued Tuesday in federal court in Connecticut to assert its ownership rights over The Night Cafe and block Pierre Konowaloff from claiming it. Konowaloff is the purported great-grandson of industrialist and aristocrat Ivan Morozov, who owned the painting in 1918.

Russia nationalized Morozov’s property during the Communist revolution. The painting, which the Soviet government sold, has been hanging in the Yale University Art Gallery for almost 50 years.

Allan Gerson, Konowaloff’s attorney, said Friday he will argue that his client is the rightful owner of the painting. He also said financial compensation is a possible solution.

“He wants his claim to rightful ownership vindicated,” Gerson told The Associated Press.

But Konowaloff, if he wins the case, will ensure that the public can still view the painting, Gerson said.

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Fire claims Arkansas movie memorabilia

CARAWAY, Ark. (AP) – Fire claimed memorabilia from the movies Walk the Line and A Painted House when two buildings in Caraway burned.

The fire began in a tin structure in which items from the movies were stored. The building, owned by Melton Emery, had items he had collected over the last 15 to 20 years. The fire also consumed a second structure.

“He kept some old-time memorabilia there,” Caraway Fire Capt. Don Fletcher told The Jonesboro Sun. “There were some movie sets and old guitars from Walk the Line, plus some tractors.”

Fletcher said the fire, which started when winds caused electric lines to arc, gutted the buildings.

Part of the 2005 movie Walk the Line about Johnny Cash was filmed in Dyess, where Cash grew up. A Painted House, from 2003, was filmed in nearby Lepanto. The movie is from the John Grisham book of the same name and is based on the writer’s early youth in northeast Arkansas.

Merret Emery, Emery’s son, said his father began collecting memorabilia as long as two decades ago. The collection increased when production for A Painted House began in 2002.

“He always collected farm equipment. When they decided to do A Painted House they searched for local places so that they don’t have to carry things a long way,” Merret Emery said. “The people in Lepanto told them to go see Melton.”

The relationship with production companies continued when scenes from Walk the Line were being filmed, Merret Emery said.

A Walk the Line prop man came to his shop and said, ‘Do you have a copy of the album, Walk the Line?,”’ Merret Emery said. “He went and pulled the album out of a box in the back.”

The album was kept on the set during the entire filming, Merret Emery said.

Melton Emery also provided the mule, which was used in the opening scene of the film.

Father and son watched as the fire destroyed the two buildings. Merret Emery said his father’s reaction was subdued.

“He would think about it, and it brought back memories,” Merret Emery said. “He said it could have been one of our houses that burned. He then said it was not anything important.”

Firefighters were called just before 3 p.m. Tuesday to the buildings at the intersection of Arkansas 135 and Arkansas 138.


Information from: The Jonesboro Sun, http://www.jonesborosun.com

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-CS-03-26-09 0906EDT

Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers Archive/Village Doll & Toy Shop.

Raggedy Ann museum closing

Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers Archive/Village Doll & Toy Shop.

Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers Archive/Village Doll & Toy Shop.

ARCOLA, Ill. (AP) – Known for its ties to some of the most famous dolls of all time,  the town of Arcola is about to lose the Raggedy Ann and Andy spotlight with the closure of a museum dedicated to the famed storybook characters.

Doll creator Johnny Gruelle was born in Arcola in 1880, and his granddaughter, Joni Wannamaker, has operated a museum of Raggedy Ann and Andy memorabilia there for 10 years. The city is also known for its annual festival dedicated to the two dolls and the stories written about them.

This important arm of Arcola’s heritage is about to suffer a potentially crippling blow, as the museum will be shuttered by the end of the year, while the Original Raggedy Ann & Andy Festival has been canceled for this summer.

While a portion of the museum building may continue to house a small exhibit, most of the items are being transferred to the Strong National Museum of Play in New York, as Wannamaker and her husband, Tom, can no longer afford to pick up operational expenses not covered by dwindling membership dues and sales in the museum’s gift shop.

“It’s very sad for us,” Wannamaker said. “We’re going through terrible misery about this, we really are.”

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Mother-of-pearl inlay and painted and gilded decorations embellish this slipper chair probably made in England. The seat is 15 1/2 inches from the floor. The chair sold for $329 at a Sloans & Kenyon auction in Chevy Chase, Md., in November.

Kovels – Antiques & Collecting: Week of March 30, 2009

Mother-of-pearl inlay and painted and gilded decorations embellish this slipper chair probably made in England. The seat is 15 1/2 inches from the floor. The chair sold for $329 at a Sloans & Kenyon auction in Chevy Chase, Md., in November.

Mother-of-pearl inlay and painted and gilded decorations embellish this slipper chair probably made in England. The seat is 15 1/2 inches from the floor. The chair sold for $329 at a Sloans & Kenyon auction in Chevy Chase, Md., in November.

Getting dressed was more complicated for a well-to-do woman in the 19th century. She wore undergarments, a camisole, petticoats, a laced corset, long stockings, shoes, a dress and accessories. To help with this project, furniture designers invented the slipper chair for the bedroom. It’s a chair with short legs that put the seat about 15 inches from the floor instead of the more normal 17 to 18 inches. That meant it was possible to bend only slightly to reach your feet to put on slippers (shoes) and stockings. The slipper chair was not made until Victorian times. Earlier Chippendale and Sheraton chairs were all of regular height. Slipper chairs were made in all Victorian styles: Gothic Revival (1840-60), Rococo or Louis XV Revival (1845-65), Louis XVI Revival (1860s), Renaissance Revival (1850-75), Greco-Egyptian Revival (1860-90) and Eastlake (1870-1900). The chairs are still useful in the bedroom for those who have problems tying shoes or slipping into elasticized tights.

Although most slipper chairs were made of wood and covered with upholstery, some unusual chairs from England were decorated with black lacquer and mother-of-pearl inlay. They went well with the papier-mâché furniture popular in England in the 19th century. Because of its short legs, the slipper chair usually sells for less than the matching full-size chair in a bedroom set. Read more