$90,000 for a Bogus Liz Dress, Collector Says

     CINCINNATI (CN) – A Hollywood memorabilia dealer charged a collector $90,000 for one of Elizabeth Taylor’s costumes for “Cleopatra,” but it was a phony, the collector claims in court.
     Richard Abrahamson sued Americana Dance Theatre and its owner John LeBold, in Hamilton County Court.
     Abrahamson, a doctor and former owner of Toon Art, claims that in 1999, the defendants “entered into negotiations that resulted in Toon Art Inc. paying $100,000 for assorted garments and pieces of memorabilia.”
     “By agreement of the parties, the $100,000 payment was converted into the purchase of the assorted garments and pieces of memorabilia that defendant John LeBold represented to be authentic.
     “The listing of such garments and memorabilia was as follows: Elizabeth Taylor’s costume from ‘Cleopatra’; James Dean pants from ‘Giant’; Betty Davis jacket and cape from ‘The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex’; Frank Sinatra pants from ‘Anchors Aweigh’; Susan Hayward dress from ‘Untamed’; Erroll Flynn jacket from ‘The Adventures of Don Juan’; Fred Astaire tuxedo shirt and pants from ‘A Royal Wedding’; and Greta Garbo’s cape from ‘Queen Christina’;
     “Based upon defendant John LeBold’s representation that such items were authentic, and as represented, Toon Art invested its money.”
     But 2 years later, Abrahamson says, he “made an effort to sell items from the collection that had been sold to him by defendant John LeBold.”
     “As part of these efforts to sell such items, plaintiff Abrahamson contacted Profiles in History to have a catalogue put together on which to sell the items on consignment.
     “Upon publication of the catalogue, the owner of the authentic ‘Cleopatra’ dress contacted Profiles in History to notify them of the fraudulent representation in their catalog.”
     Abrahamson seeks $90,000 for breach of contract and fraud, and punitive damages.
     He is represented by Robert Croskery.

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