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Collector Says Dealer Snookered Her|For a Julian Schnabel Painting

MANHATTAN (CN) - A Korean collector claims art dealer Mary Dinaburg and Dinaburg's company Fortune Cooke Projects cheated her by selling a painting the collector had already bought, then offering her "credit" for it and selling her a Julian Schnabel painting, "Chinkzee," at the wildly overvalued price of $290,000.

Plaintiff Najung Seung aka "Jamie" says she paid Dinaburg and Dinaburg Arts LLC $118,000 for the John Wesley painting, "Bulls and Bed," in May 2006. The day after she got the invoice, Jamie says, Dinaburg told her she had sold the Wesley painting to someone else. Jamie says that sale was illegal, but Dinaburg offered her $200,000 in "credit" for it. Jamie says Dinaburg then extracted another $90,000 from her for "Chinkzee," by claiming that that Schnabel painting "was worth at least $500,000, and that she would sell it to Jamie for the gallery's price of $380,000."

In her federal complaint, Jamie quotes from emails Dinaburg allegedly sent her in March and April 2008, telling her she was getting "beyond a good deal."

Jamie claims that after sending the additional $90,000, she found that the Schnabel painting had been sold at auction for $156,000 in May 2007. She claims that Sotheby's has recently appraised the work as worth $100,000 to $110,000.

Jamie demands damages of $290,000, and punitive damages for fraud. She is represented by Michael Maschio with Cowan Liebowitz & Latman.


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