Monday, September 25, 2023
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$100 Million Fight Over a Jackson Pollock

LOS ANGELES (CN) — A prominent Los Angeles trial attorney has sued for access to a Jackson Pollock painting, claiming a woman and art packing company are preventing its sale to a billionaire art buyer.

Pierce O'Donnell, who recently litigated claims over the competency of Sumner Redstone, sued Maitreya Kadre on Sept. 28 in Superior Court, claiming she broke a joint venture agreement to sell the Pollock painting "Pink Spring" to the highest bidder.

O'Donnell says the painting has been valued at $100 million and is controlled under a 2011 joint venture between The Trial Law Firm and Maitreya Kadre.

Filing as the law firm's successor-in-interest, O'Donnell says that in April 2011 Kadre agreed to buy the painting from the estate of Gregory Comstock, after she received an advance of $75,000.

O'Donnell says The Trial Law Firm advanced more than $200,000 for purchase, marketing and sale of the painting, enlisting art historians, consultants and handwriting experts, and paying for an appraisal. In exchange, the firm secured the right to 30 percent of proceeds, according to the lawsuit.

O'Donnell says he paid co-defendant L.A. Packing, Crating and Transport $450 a month to store the painting, but in March 2015 Kadre or "someone acting on her behalf" stopped the payments. He says neither L.A. Packing nor Kadre will tell him who is paying for storage or if the painting has been moved.

"Kadre has done nothing but hinder, obstruct, sabotage, and otherwise prevent the marketing and sale of the painting," the complaint states. "She has acted in utter bad faith at every step of the way. Her obstructionist antics have prevented the proper marketing of the painting and doomed any sales. If allowed to persist in this destructive manner, the value of the painting will be destroyed."

O'Donnell says he won an arbitration to gain access to the painting but that L.A. Packing "operating under Kadre's instructions, has steadfastly denied him access."

"These unlawful, obstreperous acts squandered the opportunity for at least one recent sale to a multi-billionaire art investor who was very interested in purchasing the painting but unable to view the painting due to the obstruction of Kadre and L.A. Packing," the lawsuit states.

O'Donnell seeks a court order that Kadre and the packing company comply with the arbitration order and give him access to the painting, appointment of a receiver, plus actual and punitive damages for breach of contract, breach of faith, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud.

O'Donnell, now with Greenberg Glusker, filed the case pro se.

Kadre also goes by the names Maitreya Wexler Kadre and Maitreya McClendon Wexler, according to the complaint.

L.A. Packing spokeswoman Susanne Lambert told Courthouse News that a confidentiality agreement prevents the company from commenting on the lawsuit.

Jackson Pollock, who died in August 1956, was a leading painter in the Abstract Expressionist school, famous for his "action painting," which included poured and dripped paint.

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