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Friday, April 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Promoter Sues Fashion Photog’s Foundation

PHILADELPHIA (CN) - A Philadelphia corporation dedicated to the work of late fashion photographer Francesco Scavullo claims in court that the artist's foundation owes it more than $500,000.

Motion Picture Group sued The Francesco Scavullo Foundation in Federal Court, demanding more than $500,000 under an oral contract for the group "to market and preserve the legacy of Scavullo."

Scavullo, a Staten Island native, died in 2004 at 82, after becoming one of American's leading fashion photographers and celebrity portraitists, whose work graced the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine for three decades.

Scavullo's will called for creation of the Francesco Scavullo Foundation, and "declared that the purpose of the foundation was to administer and distribute funds to assist organizations, institutions and individuals which engage in charitable activities," according to the complaint.

But IRS records for the foundation "reflect zero assets, zero revenue and zero administrative/operating expenses," the Motion Picture Group says in its complaint.

It claims the foundation "failed to conduct an inventory of Scavullo's works in its possession"; "failed to take steps to protect and preserve Scavullo's valuable prints, negatives, photographs and transparencies"; and "failed to take steps to promote Scavullo's works and/or Scavullo's legacy."

The Motion Picture Group claims that it has worked diligently for year to promote the artist's legacy.

That work "has ranged from scholarly research for documentaries, books and editorial projects to verifying information of Scavullo photographs in private collections," and has generated "millions of dollars in free press," according to the complaint.

The Motion Picture Group claims it's repeatedly tried to put the parties' oral agreement into writing since Scavullo's death, "but the foundation has often delayed."

So it sued the foundation, alleging breach of an oral and implied contract, claiming the foundation refused to pay more than $500,000 in "royalties and other sums due."

The Motion Picture Group is represented by Joel Rosen, with High Swartz, of Norristown, Pa.

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