NEW YORK (AP) – Celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz was continuing to try to resolve matters with her lender, her spokesman said Wednesday, a day after the deadline passed for her to repay a $24 million loan or lose the rights to her life’s work.
The lender, Art Capital Group, sued the 59-year-old Leibovitz in July, claiming she breached an agreement that authorized it to act as the agent in the sale of her photography and real estate.
The famed photographer’s images have regularly graced the covers of Vanity Fair, Vogue and Rolling Stone.
The deadline to repay the loan passed at 11:59 Tuesday without either party saying what would happen next. Leibovitz risked losing the lucrative copyright to her images if she didn’t pay back the loan.
“Annie is continuing to work to resolve this matter with Art Capital,” her spokesman, Matthew Hiltzik, said Wednesday.
Art Capital is a Manhattan-based company that issues short-term loans against fine and decorative arts and real estate. It declined to comment after the deadline passed.
In 2008, Leibovitz put up as collateral three Manhattan townhouses, an upstate New York property and the copyright to every picture she has ever taken – or will take – to secure the loan with Art Capital.
The company said Leibovitz needed the money to deal with a “dire financial condition arising from her mortgage obligations, tax liens and unpaid bills to service providers and other creditors.”
Art Capital consolidated all her loans in September 2008. The lawsuit charged that Leibovitz had breached a December 2008 sales agreement with the company, granting Art Capital the right to sell the collateral before the loan came due. The lawsuit claimed she refused to allow real estate experts into her homes to appraise their value and blocked the company from selling her photographs.
Art Capital has estimated the value of the Leibovitz portfolio at $40 million, and real estate brokers say her New York properties are worth about $40 million.
Under the sales agreement with Leibovitz, the company would get 10 percent commission on the sale of Leibovitz’s real estate and 15 percent on the sale of her portfolio.
Leibovitz would get the remainder after paying off the $24 million loan, interest and other fees. If she defaults, the company would get a net 12 percent commission, after paying approximately 13 percent for costs and fees.
Over the years, Leibovitz’s lens has captured such famous faces as Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth II and Bruce Springsteen. She gave the world its first glimpse of baby Suri, newborn daughter of Hollywood’s superstar couple Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, on the cover of Vanity Fair, which she joined 1983.
Many of her images are provocative and controversial, including those last year of 15-year-old Miley Cyrus exposing bare shoulders and back, and a portrait of a very pregnant and nude Demi Moore in 1991.
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