James Berry-Hill insists the artworks being carried out of his gallery were going into storage despite the fact that he’d had a judgment in favor of American Capital Finance Services:
On March 30, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon granted American Capital’s application for an order of seizure, finding that Berry-Hill owed the bank $9.5 million. After the bank informed Berry-Hill on Feb. 1 that it had defaulted on its loan, the gallery “secretly sold 223 works of art,” according to the court decision, and hadn’t paid sale proceeds to American Capital or held them aside for the bank.
Auditors sent by American Capital to Berry-Hill in February discovered that some art from the gallery, including 10 appraised paintings, 170 unappraised paintings, and 43 pieces of James Hill’s personal artwork, had been sold for $300,000 to Jim’s of Lambertville, in Lambertville, N.J. Reached in Florida, gallery owner Jim Alterman said the Berry-Hill gallery had sold him “mostly their lesser things. What I bought was what would be perceived as their junk. It’s the kind of stuff that never sees the light of day from other galleries.”
He said he has sold some of the works he bought from Berry-Hill.
The gallery filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in 2005. It couldn’t be learned if or when the gallery emerged from Chapter 11 proceedings. A lawyer for the gallery, Michelle Rice, declined to comment on questions about bankruptcy proceedings.
Gallery’s Artworks Seized (Wall Street Journal)