Artwork Guide Lisa Schiff Hit With ‘Ponzi Scheme’ Lawsuit After an Adrian Ghenie Artwork-Flipping Deal Is going Awry

Prime profile artwork consultant Lisa Schiff has been hit with a lawsuit by means of two purchasers and longtime pals: actual property heiress Candace Barasch, and Richard Grossman.

The plaintiffs allege that Schiff, who runs the New York-based Schiff High quality Artwork advisory, owes them $1.8 million ($900,000 every) associated with the sale of a portray by means of sought-after Romanian artist Adrian Ghenie. Barasch and Grossman filed a criticism in New York State Perfect Court docket on Might 11. The reasons of motion are breach of contract, conversion, fraud, breach of fiduciary accountability, and conspiracy.

The criticism seems to be but any other instance of flipping artwork for benefit long gone improper.

Along with the cash purportedly owed, the plaintiffs accuse Schiff of working a “Ponzi scheme.” Their submitting outlines Schiff’s alleged lavish spending, together with a $25,000 a month New York rental, world top notch commute with concierge products and services and limousines, holidays at five-star motels, and buying groceries sprees in New York and Europe for dressmaker garments and jewellery.

In the meantime, the plaintiffs declare, Schiff doesn’t have the cash she owes them. Wisdom of Schiff’s non-public spending was once allegedly gleaned from in depth commute and private friendship with the consultant, the pair asserts.

Schiff’s lawyer John Cahill declined to remark. Wendy Lindstrom, the lawyer representing Grossman and Barasch, stated “it’s disgraceful that Schiff, who was once relied on professionally and for my part, exploited that believe.”

In April 2021, Schiff alerted Barasch and Grossman {that a} Ghenie portray, Uncle 3 (2019), was once in the stores. After discussions, together with with Grossman’s partner, who isn’t recognized by means of title, they agreed to shop for the paintings. The unique acquire worth isn’t disclosed within the court docket paperwork, then again Barasch took a 50 % percentage and Grossman and his partner every got a 25 % hobby. Neither took ownership of the paintings; it was once shipped to a garage unit in Delaware.

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Ghenie is a sought-after painter who’s represented by means of mega-gallery Tempo. His art work evoke the torqued imagery of Francis Francis Bacon portraits. “Those figures, in large part derived from mid-twentieth-century historic assets, seem in haunting interiors as dreamlike or cinematic vignettes,” the artist web page at the Tempo web site reads. Ghenie appropriates tropes from slapstick movie in his “Pie Battle” art work, which mash up figuration and abstraction. The report for a Ghenie paintings bought at public sale is $10.3 million for Pie Battle Inside 12 (2014), bought at Christie’s Hong Kong in Might 2022.

In November 2022, Bartsch and Grossman agreed to a resale of the paintings, coming into into the deal, to be brokered by means of Schiff, by means of oral settlement. They agreed to promote the paintings for $2.5 million and break up the proceeds, after a fee to Schiff of ten % of the cost, or $250,000.

In keeping with the criticism, the deal went via Sotheby’s Hong Kong and the paintings was once brought to the public sale homes’s York Road headquarters in December 2022. Sotheby’s declined to remark.

In January, $225,000 of the sale proceeds had been stressed to Grossman and Barasch (a complete of $450,000), and Schiff took her fee on the time, in step with the criticism. Schiff promised to disburse the extra $1.8 million ($900,000 every) to the traders on March 26.

Alternatively, previous to March 26, Schiff “asked an extra thirty days to make the cost, announcing the lengthen was once an lodging to the shoppers in Hong Kong, however assuring Plaintiffs that the shoppers weren’t retreating of the sale, and making sure that the $1.8 million cost could be made,” the criticism says. 

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Through early this month, when neither consumer had won the stability of promised acquire worth, they texted Schiff that they had been pissed off with the lengthen. In keeping with the criticism, Grossman had made it transparent that “those proceeds had been supposed and vital for the improve of Grossman’s aged in-laws, in particular for the price of transferring them from the sanatorium into an assisted dwelling facility.” At the moment, Schiff spoke back that she was once “operating on it….” the swimsuit says.

Alternatively, on Might 8, “Schiff conceded to Plaintiffs that the cash owed to them from the sale of the Ghenie portray was once long gone,” the criticism asserts.

Grossman contends Schiff printed this at a last in-person assembly. “For the primary time, Schiff informed him she didn’t have the cash owed to Plaintiffs, and to name her lawyer—after which walked clear of him.”

Grossman and Barasch are hard that Schiff go back the $250,000 fee earned at the deal, plus hobby, in addition to “damages of least $2.05 million plus hobby.”

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