Howard L. Rehs likes to collect stories of bad behavior in the art market. Here are a few of his latest finds:
Peggy Kempton – Ms. Kempton was once the deputy executive director and CFO of the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Mass. Well, this June, Peggy was sentenced to three to five years in prison and ordered to pay restitution after pleading guilty to stealing $1.3 million from the museum. It was revealed that she accomplished this by creating credit cards in the names of her children and unwitting museum employees and used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle.
Luigi Cugini – On August 20 Mr. Cugini, caught in an FBI sting, was arrested in Florida for allegedly trying to sell reproductions of John Singer Sargent paintings he claimed were authentic. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. In addition, it was noted that in 2007 Luigi was involved in a lawsuit over a ‘fake’ Picasso and in the mid-1908s he was a co-defendant in a federal case involving the sale of fake artwork to wealthy collectors in New York City. Like they say, leopards never change their spots.
Paul Galzerano – Between 2003 and 2006 this former vice president of Beverly Hospital in Beverly, Mass. oversaw a multimillion-dollar renovation of the hospital. During the renovation, paintings and antiques that were donated to the hospital were placed in storage. Well, somehow, some of those items found their way into Paul’s home – wonder how that happened? Once the renovation was completed, the items were never returned and the hospital reported them stolen. In 2008 an online real estate listing for Galzerano’s home was seen by some of the hospital employees and low-and-behold they recognized the missing items that were pictured in some of the room photos. Hey Paul … smart move!
Christopher Saunders – After stealing a 1752 Spanish coin (valued at $9,000) from a Vero Beach dealer, Mr. Saunders proceeded to sell it to a nearby antiques dealer for $167. That dealer, who had little knowledge about his purchase, took it to someone who would know – the coin dealer from whom it was stolen. It was only after that dealer went to compare it to ‘his’ coin that the theft was discovered and Mr. Saunders was caught. Hey Chris … have you met Paul!?