Muhammad Ali Center Sues Park West Galleries

     LOUISVILLE (CN) – The nonprofit Muhammad Ali Museum and Education Center claims in court that Park West Galleries donated it artwork with forged Ali signatures, and refused to let the museum display any of the pieces unless it shows all of them, with thanks to Park West – and won’t take the donations back either.
     The Ali Center sued Amelia Scaglione and Park West Galleries in Federal Court. It asks that the gallery’s CEO Albert Scaglione be served for the complaint against the gallery.
     The Muhammad Ali Center claims that “on September 8, 2009, Amelia Scaglione donated to the Ali Center a collection of 151 photographs of Muhammad Ali and 31 mixed-media paintings (‘the donation’).
     “Scaglione represented to the Ali Center that each piece in the donation was hand-signed by Muhammad Ali.
     “Scaglione represented to the Ali Center that each piece in the donation was in the database of Online Authentics, a company that specializes in authentication of sports memorabilia.”
     However, according to the complaint, “the Ali Center has reason to believe that six of the donated pieces purporting to have authentic signatures of Muhammad Ali were not hand-signed by Muhammad Ali, did not have authentic signatures, and were not in the Online Authentics’ database; consequently, the Ali Center is unwilling to display these pieces.”
     The Ali Center claims that the Sept. 8 agreement contains “conditions subsequent,” which include:
     “a. The donation remains as part of the Ali Center’s collection in perpetuity;
     “b. The Ali Center displays each piece of the donation, accompanied by plaques supplied by Park West.
     “c. The Ali Center displays plaques supplied by Park West that designate ‘Park West Friends of the Center.'”
     Here is where it gets complicated.
     The complaint states: “The Ali Center contacted Park West and Scaglione, through Albert Scaglione, about the concern that pieces were inauthentic in the donation and the Ali Center’s unwillingness to comply with the conditions subsequent contained in the donation agreement.
     “In light of the Ali Center’s unwillingness to comply with the conditions subsequent contained in the donation agreement, Scaglione may either take back the entire donation or allow the Ali Center to retain the donation without any conditions subsequent.
     “Scaglione has refused to take back the entire donation and refused to allow the Ali Center to retain the donation without any conditions subsequent.
     “Based on representations by Albert Scaglione, both Park West and Scaglione claim that the Ali Center is contractually bound to fulfill the conditions subsequent in the art donation agreement.”
     The Ali Center seeks declaratory judgment and an injunction, stating that it is not required to comply with the conditions subsequent to the donation, and that if Amelia Scaglione refuses to take back the donation, the Ali Center owns it all, with no conditions.
     The Muhammad Ali Center is represented by Peter Cummins, with Frost Brown Todd.

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