Criminal Sentencing for Price Fixing by Sotheby's
The federal civil case against Sotheby's
and Christie's for price fixing was settled for over half a billion
the heads of Sotheby's were found criminally guilty of price
criminal case for price fixing against the chairman of Christie's,
Sir Anthony Tennant, could not proceed because he would not return
to the U.S. for trial.)
The articles in this Tab report on the criminal
sentencing of Sotheby's officials for price fixing.
High Cost of Collusion, New York Times, 12/08/2001.
to Appeal, Daily News, 12/15/2001.
Condemned by Jury of His Peers, New York Post, 04/25/2002.
Bidder End. Sotheby's Big Prison-bound as Appeal is Nixed,
New York Post, 07/26/2002.
'Secret' Escape'. Auction Queen Under House Arrest on the Loose, New York
09/01/2002, p. 3.
|Big Al on Ice, The Daily News, 09/08/2002.
Selling Her Co-op — Through Christie's, New York
Convict is Sprung, New York Post, 11/10/2002.
Column on Taubman in Prison, New York Post, 11/15/2002.
Ruling Does Little to Resolve Battle for Mall Empire, New York
The High Cost of Collusion,
Editorial, New York Times, 12/8/2001, , p. A22.
In reporting further on the conviction
of A. Alfred Taubman, the former head of the international
auction house Sotheby's,
for his part in a price-fixing scheme, the Times noted that
his counterpart in crime at Christie's, Sir Anthony Tennant,
in England and cannot be extradited.
The Times then quoted a handwritten memo
by Sir Anthony, in which was found "a graceful, self-forgiving, but ultimately
arrogant phrase for price-fixing." Sir Anthony called it "intervening
from on high."
Reflecting upon the disclosures of the
long investigation and trial, the Times editorial dramatically
wrote: "The question
now is what impact this trial will have on the ethics of the
auction world. The trap that Sotheby's and Christie's created
for themselves arose when they ceased being merely auctioneers
and became, in effect, financiers for both buyers and sellers. The auction business has always had to confront allegations of
shady dealings simply because it can be so easy to rig bidding,
to create the illusion of openness where none actually exists. Trying to leverage these businesses outward into the realms of
finance and real estate seems, so far, to have done little more
than create more room for corruption. But there is really no
excuse to be made for Mr. Taubman, any more than there is for
his subordinate Diana Brooks, who will face a lesser sentence
for her cooperation with prosecutors. The auction business did
not make them break the law. That was a path they chose for themselves."
Top of Page . . . . .
Ex-Chief to Appeal, Robert Gearty
and Dave Goldiner, Daily News, 12/15/2001, p. 39.
This article reported that "Alfred
Taubman, the disgraced chairman of Sotheby's, plans to appeal
his conviction for price-fixing,
his lawyer said yesterday."
Now convicted, Taubman faces up to three years
in prison and millions in fines upon sentencing on April 2.
Then the Daily News reported that "Meanwhile, Taubman's
high-powered legal team succeeded yesterday in an unusual effort
to keep 'embarrassing' secret discussions held during the trial
under wraps." And that "The judge did not immediately
give a reason for his order, and media lawyers said they would
not decide whether to appeal until they see the text of the order."
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Condemned by Jury of His Peers, Paul
Tharp, The New York Post, 04/25/2002.
Here the Post reported that while Alfred
Taubman faces prison in the art action price-fixing scandal, "In
Sir Anthony's blue-blood world in Britain, he might as well
be locked up because
he's been ostracized from his upper-class peers and booted from
Mr. Tharp wrote that as a "member of Britain's rarefied
ruling class, public disgrace is a lifelong punishment likely
more painful that the one-year prison sentence given to Taubman." Referring
first to Mr. Taubman's intent to appeal, the Post writes, "But
Sir Anthony has no appeals available to him within this country's
rigid class system."
It then reported that "more public humiliation" came
for Sir Anthony when he was recently ousted from his last remaining
directorship, a seat as chairman of the Royal Academy of Arts
in London after the artists who run the academy demanded that
Sir Anthony do the 'honorable thing' and resign.
This is a particularly interesting report in light of the relative
silence of the U.S. art community to this and other serious ethical
questions arising in its art world.
The article noted that "Sir Anthony,
71, was indicted for helping mastermind the price-fixing scheme
with Taubman, and
faces arrest if he sets foot on U.S. soil."
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Bidder End. Sotheby's Big Prison-Bound as Appeal is Nixed,
John Lehmann, New York Post, 07/26/2002, p. 16.
The Post reported here that "Convicted
Sotheby's price-fixer Alfred Taubman has consigned himself
to becoming a multimillionaire
inmate next week after his appeal was thrown out yesterday."
A three-judge appeals panel in Manhattan
heard his appeal and ruled that any errors in his price-fixing
trial were "harmless."
Mr. Taubman was sentenced to a year and a day
in prison and fined $7.5 million. Apparently the extra day made
the sentence just long enough to qualify for early release.
At the hearing before the appeals panel, Mr. Taubman's lawyers
brought yet another name to the attention of the public. They accused
another ex-Sotheby's board member, Lord Thomas Camoys, of conspiring
with Christie's chief Sir Anthony Tennant in April 1995.
Mr. Taubman's lawyers also objected to
a quotation used by the prosecution in summing up the case to
the jury. The quote was
from the economic classic, "The Wealth of Nations" written
by the 18th-century economist Adam Smith. The quote said, "People
in the same trade seldom meet together even for merriment or diversion,
but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public and
in some contrivance to raise prices."
The Post then reported that in their decision
not to grant the appeal, the Court ruled that the government
had relied on 'the
overwhelming direct evidence of Taubman's knowledge of and participation
in the conspiracy."
Page . . . . .
'Secret' Escape. Auction Queen Under House Arrest on the Loose,
Daniel Schiff and Adam Miller, New
York Post, 09/01/2002,
In this report the Post asked if Ms. Brooks looks like a woman
under house arrest?
It advised that under her six months'
home-confinement sentence for price fixing, "disgraced
auction empress Diana 'DeDe' Brooks" is allowed two hours
each Friday "to go grocery
shopping at any store selling food or products related to food
The article included the Post's photos
revealing that Ms. Brooks did "a lot more than food shopping
during last Friday afternoon's jaunt."
The Post wrote that "After a little
grocery shopping at a Food Emporium near her posh Upper East
Side co-op, Brooks browsed
for some sexy lingerie at Victoria's Secret maybe something that
coordinates with the electronic ankle bracelet that monitors
her every movement."
It also reported that Ms. Brooks was "also slapped with
three years' probation" in addition to being fined $350,000
and obligated to serve 1,000 hours of community service by the
judge who called her "a thief and a convict." She also
agreed to return stock options worth $10 million, plus the $3.25
million in salary she received as Sotheby's CEO.
The article writes that Mr. Taubman was
sentenced to a year and a day in prison and a $7.5 million
fine, and that Ms. Brooks
is also "allowed out of the house for work, doctor or lawyer
visits, and one church service a week. Even then, she must ask
officials for permission."
It concludes that a Hollywood movie about the price fixing is
in the works and that actress Sigourney Weaver will play Brooks.
of Page . . . . .
|Big Al on Ice, The Daily
The Daily News writes here, "If
Jack Welch's memoirs were worth $7 million, what are A. Alfred
Taubman's worth? We may
soon find out."
The article reports that "The mega-rich
former chairman of Sotheby's has languished for the last six
weeks as Prisoner
No. 50444-054 in a 10-by-12 foot prison cell in the Federal Medical
Center in Rochester, Minnesota, convicted of colluding to fix
fees and commissions with his company's supposed competitor,
The News continues that Mr. Taubman's
sentence runs another 47 weeks. "Though his prison has
its charms an ice rink, a pool table and a big-screen TV it's
still stir, 53 acres surrounded
by a concertina wire-topped fence. And the tycoon who once attended
parties with the crowned heads of Europe now shares mess-hall
meals with the likes of Justin Volpe, Abner Louima's sodomizer,
and endures regular cell inspections and head counts."
The article adds that Mr. Taubman is
allowed few visitors and that "it's natural that the idea
of writing a book has come up if only to give Al a project
to pass the time."
Top of Page . . . . .
Selling Her Co-op — Through
Christie's, Branden Keil, New York Post, 10/31/2002.
"House-arrestee DeDe Brooks will soon be free to fly the
co-op and she's ready to dump her gilded cage for a change of
scenery," The Post wrote it had learned.
The article reported sources claiming
that Ms. Brooks, who was sentenced to six months house arrest,
was planning to sell her "12-room,
10th-floor pad on East 79th Street once her ankle monitor is
The article writes that a broker says its ironic that she is
using the real-estate division of rival Christie's auction house
to sell her apartment.
The Post continues that "Greedy
DeDe may make her Manhattan presence even less noticeable when
she zips off to her multi-million-dollar
oceanfront mansion in Hobe Sound, Fla., which she was barred
from visiting during her comfy incarceration."
During her so-called house arrest, The
Post tailed Ms. Brooks while on a shopping spree during the
two hours of grocery shopping
she was permitted every Friday. "Her errands included a
peek into a Victoria's Secret, a fine wine store, and chuckles
with a friend on the street."
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Convict is Sprung, Adam
New York Post, 11/10/2002.
Mr. Miller wrote here that "Disgraced
auction empress Diana 'DeDe' Brooks laid low yesterday, a
day after she completed
her six months of house arrest for her role in a price-fixing
He explained that the former president of
Sotheby's was sentenced earlier in the year after pleading
guilty to fixing commissions
and fees with rival art auction house, Christie's, and testifying
against Alfred Taubman, her boss, who was sentenced to a year
and a day for his role in the conspiracy.
He also wrote that "the deposed auction queen" also
received three years probation, a $350,000 fine and 1,000 hours
of community sentence and that the judge called her "a
thief and a convict."
of Page . . . . .
Column on Taubman in Prison, New
York Post, 11/15/2002.
The Post wrote: "AND NOW, let's
get to the dirty dishes! Super-tycoon Alfred Taubman, age 76,
seems to be flourishing
in prison (actually, he is in a federal medical hospital in Rochester,
Minnesota, in spite of his general poor health.)"
The column advises that while Mr. Taubman's
wife says he is depressed, he seems to be thriving while incarcerated,
better than the woman who testified against him, Dede Brooks. The column continues that "Dominick Dunne reports this month
in Vanity Fair that the popular and trendy thing to do for the
so-called jet set is to fly up to Minnesota 'to visit Alfred!' Everyone who is anyone seems to believe that when Mr. Taubman
emerges from his enforced time away, he'll pick right up where
he left off, living the high life and enjoying the heck out of
his rallied-around pals and wife, the onetime beauty queen."
It concludes that Mr. Taubman is "said
to be writing a book."
of Page . . . . .
Ruling Does Little to Resolve Battle for Mall Empire,
Andrew Ross Sorking, The New York Times, 05/02/2003, p. C4.
In this article the Times reported on
a major legal battle regarding Taubman Centers, the shopping
mall empire founded by A. Alfred
Taubman. This article on the real estate industry imparted
an idea of the dimension of the art business compared
the real estate development
depicted similar "clubbiness" in the two industries.
Referring to an important court action
in the dispute, Mr. Sorking wrote, "The ruling, which
both sides said would most likely have to be clarified, will
determine the outcome of a fight that
has pitted two of the nation's most storied real estate families
and has created a rift in the clubby world of real estate investors. The
takeover battle has taken place while Mr. Taubman has been serving
a prison sentence for conspiring to fix prices when he
was chairman of Sotheby's. He is expected to be released
to a halfway house in two weeks."
contemporary art receives in academic and curatorial research
seems to have significant parallels with commercial market
The next Tab
includes articles on financial influences
in the curatorial selection processes at major
research museums enjoying significant public funding.]