Former Knoedler Director Ann Freedman Settles Lawsuit With Casino Mogul
All was not "perfectly fine" regarding the provenance, it seems.
Former Knoedler director Ann Freedman has settled yet another lawsuit linked to the sale of a fake painting made through the now-shuttered New York gallery, according to a report in the Art Newspaper.
The lawsuit was filed in 2014 by casino mogul and former Ultimate Fighting Championship co-owner Frank Fertitta III, who purchased what turned out to be a fake Mark Rothko in 2008, for $7.2 million. Fertitta, who had resold the painting in 2011, eventually bought it back, for $8.5 million, according to his complaint.
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
According to Forbes, Fertitta has a net worth of $1.96 billion. He and his brother Lorenzo sold Ultimate Fighting Championship in August to an investment group led by sports marketing agents WME/IMG, for $4 billion.
TAN says the case is the eighth of 10 suits brought against Freedman and a lengthy list of additional defendants, including Knoedler & Co., which abruptly closed in 2011. Long Island art dealer Glafira Rosales, who pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering and wire fraud, as well as her alleged co-conspirators José Carlos Bergantiños Díaz, and his brother Jesús Ángel Bergantiños Díaz, are also on the list.
Fertitta’s complaint also names Rothko expert Oliver Wick, who allegedly assured the casino mogul at the time of the purchase that “all is perfectly fine,” regarding the provenance of the painting, according to court documents. Jaime Andrade, the former Knoedler employee who first introduced Rosales to Freedman and other gallery staff, is also mentioned.
Knoedler remains a defendant in the lawsuit, as so Swiss attorney Urs Kraft, who, like Wick, was an intermediary in the sale. Wick had received a $300,000 consulting fee from Knoedler in addition to a $150,000 “introductory commission” that Fertitta paid.
To date, there are still two outstanding lawsuits pending against Freedman and Knoedler: the Martin Hilti Family Trust is suing over a $5.5 million allegedly fake Rothko; and West Coast collector Frances White is suing over an allegedly fake Jackson Pollock canvas that her husband paid $3.1 million for in 2000.
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