Thursday, October 25, 2007

Lawrence Salander in trouble

New York USA - THREE year's ago Mike Roberts sold his stock of architectural and garden antiques at a spectacular sale held by Christie's, organised by Nic McElhatton, which raised £2.3m and where many of the lots sold to a New York bidder. Many of the lots subsequently appeared in the newly created gallery of Salander Decorative Arts in 22 East 71 Street.

Lawrence Salander, owner of Salander O'Reilly, dealers in mainly flat art, and whose website described Salander Decorative Arts as 'our new gallery', is in trouble. His gallery was dramatically chained and padlocked by a New York judge last week because he has defaulted on a $40m bank loan and is being pursued by creditors, including John McEnroe.

Bloomberg press writes:
McEnroe is one of almost two dozen individuals and companies seeking tens of millions of dollars from Salander and his Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, which are accused of defrauding customers and defaulting on debts. Last week, New York State Supreme Court Judge Richard Lowe III ordered the gallery closed indefinitely. The facts in this case, according to court papers, are: McEnroe paid Salander $162,500 in October 2006, based on the dealer's promise to double the tennis star's money through an investment in a painting by American Marsden Hartley. Salander said he had an agreement to buy the artwork for $650,000 from a third party and to sell it for $1.3 million six months later. In a letter to McEnroe, included in court papers, Salander promised he'd pay McEnroe $325,000 even if the final buyer failed to pay. On May 10, McEnroe sued, contending he'd received nothing from Salander except a $50,000 check that bounced. Later that month, Salander-O'Reilly paid McEnroe $200,000 - the original investment, plus $37,500 - according to a Salander affidavit. "Although I now believe the transaction was usurious, I attempted to honor my commitment to double Mr. McEnroe's money in six months," Salander said, according to the affidavit.

After the sale in 2004, Salvo tried and failed to make contact with Salander Decorative Arts. Mike Roberts went on holiday for a year and is now reported to be property developing in France and Italy.

[Bloomberg extract (italicized) by Philip Boroff and Patricia Hurtado Bloomberg 25Oct07]

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