Saturday, August 29, 2009

"All we really have is our word"

New Mexico's KRQE reports that "a woman who sold two paintings to an Albuquerque art dealer-appraiser for $4,500 later auctioned for $661,000 won a cash settlement in court this week after alleging she had been defrauded." That's a slightly misleading way of putting it: it makes it sound as if the dealer-appraiser bought them at $4,500 and turned around and re-sold them for the $661,000, when, in fact, according to the story, he sold them for $35,000, and they then "passed hands two more times" and eventually sold at auction for the larger figure. The seller sued for fraud and negligence, and the jury "returned a split verdict .... [The dealer-appraiser] was cleared of fraud but found to be negligent and ordered to pay [the seller] nearly $15,000."