The news over the weekend was the defeat of the Rauschenberg estate in its efforts to reduce the fees paid to some of its directors as the judge reduced the three trustees from nearly $60m in fees to $24.6m. The foundation wanted to bring the number down much, much further:
This case revolves around the rapid growth in value of the Rauschenberg estate. At the time of his death in 2008, the artist’s assets were estimated to be worth $605.6m, including works of art and a sizeable property portfolio, according to the court papers. By the time the assets were turned over for management to the foundation in 2012, they were worth $2.2bn, the court papers state.
These figures had been disputed by the artist’s foundation, which put the true worth of the assets in 2008 at around $549m. Christopher Rauschenberg said in court that he expects to insure the estate for less than $550m next year.
But the judge found in the trustees favour this week. The court found that Rauschenberg’s appointment of his friends as trustees, made shortly before his death, was a “wise and deliberate decision”, and that he “picked the best possible” candidates. “The evidence at trial supports a finding that the trustees did an exemplary job,” state the court papers.
The judge decided that the trustees helped grow the value of the estate, though added that “the talent of Robert Rauschenberg and favourable market conditions were also contributing factors”.
The $24.6m is to be divided between the three trustees, less the $8m which they had already awarded themselves.
Judge decides Rauschenberg trustees’ $24.6m fees are reasonable (The Art Newspaper)