SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - CNET founder Halsey Minor says he consigned seven Richard Prince pieces worth $25 million to Christie's auction house which held on to them for 6 months and returned the pieces only after their value had fallen "precipitously."
The auction house told him that it had sold the pieces, said the complaint, and then used "shifting" and "spurious excuses" to refuse to return the art for 6 months. When it finally did, Minor says, the art had fallen "precipitously" in value.
Minor claims he consigned the works to Christie's on May 8, and the auction house claimed to have sold them to a London buyer. Then it acknowledged it had not sold them, and refused to return the works until November, Minor says.
Minor demands "a sum reflecting diminution in value of the Artworks during the time Christie's refused their return," and punitive damages for fraud, conversion and breach of contract.
The federal lawsuit does not explicitly refer to the worldwide credit crisis that came during the time Christie's is accused of holding the art.
Minor is represented by Eric George with Dreier Stein & Kahan.