Chicago real estate tycoon Sam Zell is claiming a Los Angeles art dealer defrauded him by selling nearly $6 million worth of art he owned, and never paying him a dime.Zell’s insurance company filed suit against dealer David Tunkl and his art gallery Worldwide Masterpiece Wednesday in California, seeking repayment of $5.8 million it says it handed over to the Zells in insurance payments (via Courthouse News).
According to Courthouse News:
The insurer says that in June 2009, “Tunkl confessed to Mr. and Mrs. Zell that he had sold the three artworks without the Zells’ authority to sell the artworks, and that the updates about interested buyers that he previously had given the Zells had been false.
“Tunkl further acknowledged to the Zells that he had spent the money he had received from the sale of the three subject artworks, and had no funds remaining at that time with which to pay the Zells.”
The works were Balthus’ “The Cat With Mirror III,” which was appraised at $5 million; Leger’s “Study for the Tugboat,” which the Zell Trust had bought for $375,000; and Leger’s “Mona Lisa with Keys (First State),” for which the Trust $900,000.
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