Canadian Political Journalist Evan Solomon Fired Over Secret Art Sales Scandal

The governor of the Bank of England and the founder of Blackberry were clients.

Evan Solomon brokered art sales for Toronto collector Bruce Bailey. Photo: CBC

Canada’s state broadcaster CBC has fired its prime time political correspondent Evan Solomon after it emerged he used his position to broker art deals to wealthy individuals he interviewed in the course of his job, the Toronto Star reports.

“I regret to inform you that CBC News has ended its relationship with Evan Solomon,” executive Jennifer McGuire said in a statement yesterday. The Toronto Star had published the results of its investigation to Solomon on Monday.

The Canadian daily alleges that Solomon, host of the television show Power and Politics, earned lucrative commissions, worth at least $300,000 CAD, over two years for facilitating the sale of works belonging to the Canadian collector Bruce Bailey. (See Arrest of Swiss Freeport Owner Yves Bouvier Over Art Fraud Ring Rocks Art World and Steve Cohen’s Modigliani and $75 Million Leonardo at Heart of Yves Bouvier Case.)

Solomon reportedly sold paintings by Peter Doig and Kim Dorland to at least two high-profile buyers: the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, and Blackberry founder Jim Balsillie.

Blackberry founder Jim Balsillie bought a Peter Doig painting similar to this one for a million dollar sum Photo: Victoria Miro Gallery

Blackberry founder Jim Balsillie bought a Peter Doig painting similar to this one for a million dollar sum
Photo: Courtesy Victoria Miro Gallery

According to emails obtained by the Toronto Star, Solomon successfully sold a painting by Kim Dorland to Carney for $22,500 in December 2014.

Solomon wrote to Bailey: “Good news my partner, we just sold the Kim Dorland to Mark Carney! A great client and his circle is very wide. He liked our 10 percent off.” The journalist urged Bailey to be “discreet” over the sale, due to Carney’s “super sensitive” job. (See Picasso’s Stepdaughter Accuses French Dealer and Partner of Theft and Did Dmitry Rybolovlev Buy Paintings Stolen From Picasso’s Stepdaughter?)

In response, a spokesman at the Bank of England told the Toronto Star: “Governor Carney has no enduring professional relationship with Mr. Solomon. He never comments on matters relating to his personal life.”

The head of Britain's central bank Mark Carney bought a painting through Solomon. Photo: Charlie Bibby via The Financial Times

The head of Britain’s central bank Mark Carney bought a painting by Kim Dorland through Solomon.
Photo: Charlie Bibby via The Financial Times

The emails also reveal that Solomon facilitated the sale of a Peter Doig painting to Blackberry founder Jim Balsillie in February 2014, for a sum “in the millions,” according to an unnamed source. The deal resulted in a disagreement between Solomon and Bailey over the payment of commission on the undisclosed sale price.

In an email dated February 19, Solomon claimed Bailey owed him $1,070,000 as “commission.” However, Bailey was only prepared to pay Solomon $200,000 as a “finder’s fee.” The two men later reached a settlement over the disagreement, the details of which remain confidential.

“I was not aware of any commissions paid to Mr. Solomon as a result of my purchases from Mr. Bailey,” Balsillie said, in response to the allegations. 

Evan Solomon sold works belonging to Bruce Bailey (pictured left at a party) Photo: Toronto Life

Evan Solomon sold works belonging to Toronto collector Bruce Bailey (pictured left at a party)
Photo: Toronto Life

On Tuesday night, Solomon released a statement in which he called the deals “a private business partnership with a friend,” which “involved only two clients.”

He added that he was “deeply sorry for the damage that my activities have done to the trust that the CBC and its viewers and listeners have put in me.”


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share

Article topics