The Guggenheim Museum settled a restitution case last month over two Picasso paintings once owned by Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and his wife. But the New York Times reports this morning that the judge in the case is unhappy with the heirs’ secrecy demands:
When the settlement was announced on the eve of trial, the judge, Jed S. Rakoff of Federal District Court, expressed dismay at the secrecy, and asked whether the parties would disclose the terms, given the museums’ role as quasi-public institutions and the gravity of the plaintiffs’ accusations.
In his order late Monday addressing the secrecy issue, the judge said that the museums had agreed to disclosure, but the plaintiffs, “for reasons wholly unexplained and seemingly no more compelling than concealing the amount of money going into their pockets, remain opposed.”
He added: “The fact that the plaintiffs, who repeatedly sought to clothe themselves as effectively representatives of victims of one of the most criminal political regimes in history, should believe that there is any public interest in maintaining the secrecy of their settlement baffles the mind and troubles the conscience.”