Renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz has her legal close-up today when a $24 million loan that she secured in 2008 from Art Capital Group, Inc. ('ACG') and its afilliate, American Photography, LLC is due to be repaid.
It doesn't appear that this is the kind of focus that Leibovitz needs right now.
But according to ACG's lawsuit against Leibovitz (see below), the photographer's own "dire financial condition" is responsible for the legal scrutiny that she has brought upon herself. The suit alleges that she had "sophisticated counsel" to help her negotiate and understand the agreement.
Now, her lender wants a court order allowing it to be Leibovitz' "exclusive sales agent" for her artwork and real estate holdings,
A confluence of extraordinary mortgage payments, $2 million in government tax liens and unpaid bills put Leibovitz in a tight spot when she signed the original $22 million loan in June 2008.
In exchange for renegotiating that loan in December 2008 for a better interest rate, Leibovitz gave ACG the right to act as the exclusive agent for her artwork and to sell her New York City and upstate New York properties to repay the $24 million debt that she owes the lender.
ACG charges that Leibovitz and her companies "seemingly pretend that they do not understand the Sales Agreement and seek to ignore their obligations under it."
Here is the Sales Agreement signed by Annie Leibovitz in December 2008 in consideration for the credit extension granted by Art Capital Group's affiliated company, American Photography, LLC:
You can view the details of Art Capital Group's lawsuit filed in a New York court against Annie Leibovitz here:
- Annie Leibovitz
- Annie Leibovitz: Subprime Borrower, by Feliz Salmon, Reuters (Jul. 30, 2009)
- How Could This Happen to Annie Leibowitz? The $24 Million Question, New York Magazine, (Aug. 16, 2009)
- Annie Leibovitz: American Music, Exhibition by Andrew Smith Gallery, Inc. (Oct. 22, 2004 - Jan. 15, 2005)
- Will Credit Crisis Slam Fine Art? Reuters (Oct. 31, 2008)