cultural capital

Sale of Accused Art Dealer’s Property Hits a Snag

It’s been two years since a judge decreed the assets of art dealer and accused Ponzi-schemer Larry Salander be liquidated to pay off his creditors, but his house in Millbrook — a historic mansion with its own pond, baseball diamond, tennis court, pool, and guesthouse, occupied by Salander, his wife, and two children — has still not been sold. Yesterday, Michael E. Lewitt, a Boca Raton money manager and a friend of Salander’s who has reportedly been helping to support the disgraced art dealer and his family with monthly payments and a job at Millbrook’s local Phoenix gallery, where he is a managing partner — was scheduled to purchase the property with $5.1 million he said was solicited from a group of investors, but for some reason the deal fell through.

A report from Bloomberg News sounded a suspicious note:

The financing is not in place,” the trustee, Thomas Genova, said in an interview yesterday after a hearing in Poughkeepsie, New York. Genova, who is overseeing the Salander bankruptcy, said Lewitt sent him “a very cryptic two-line e- mail. He said he needed additional time to get the money.”

See, it’s spooky, because that’s just the kind of line that Salander used to use! Contacted by Daily Intel, Lewitt wouldn’t elaborate on why the deal fell through, though he did tell Daily Intel that “there was nothing cryptic,” about the e-mail he sent the trustee, that the Bloomberg story is “grossly inaccurate,” and that Philip Boroff, the Bloomberg writer who has been covering the story, was “an idiot.” (Daily Intel is awaiting comment from Boroff on the veracity of story and on Lewitt’s characterization of him as an imbecile.) The real reason this whole thing has been dragging on, Lewitt went on to say, is Thomas Genova, the bankruptcy trustee, who “hasn’t sold so much as a single painting” from Salander’s collection in the past two years, thereby leaving the $300 million the art dealer owes to creditors, including TARP recipient Bank of America, uncollected. He’s right: They haven’t. Daily Intel is awaiting comment from Genova, who may be able to explain how this property snag has become a giant, gaping hole.

Update: Bloomberg spokeswoman says they “stand by the story,” but provided no official comment re: poor Philip Boroff’s mental capabilities. They’re tough over there.

Indicted Art Dealer Hits Snag in $5.1 Million Sale of Estate [Bloomberg]
Art Dealer Larry Salander Arrested, Charged With $88 Million Theft
An Old Master in Ruins [NYM]
Bankrupt Dealer’s 400 Creditors, Bank Compromise in Fraud Case [Bloomberg]

Sale of Accused Art Dealer’s Property Hits a Snag