Quarrel Over Hitler & Goering Relics

     STAMFORD, Conn. (CN) – An auction house that sold an Adolph Hitler watercolor and relics of Mussolini and Goering didn’t pay the owner the $81,600 it has coming, the consignor claims in court.
     Lorraine Meyer, trustee for the William C. Blynn Irrevocable Trust, of Ohio, sued Alexander Historical Auctions, of Connecticut and Delaware, Alexander Autographs Inc., and its principal Basil Panagopulos. Meyer claims the defendants sold the relics for $89,690.10, and kept all of it, though it’s entitled to just 9 percent.
     The trust consigned the property to Alexander Historical Auctions on Nov. 18, 2012, and the auction was held on Jan. 30 and 31 this year.
     Among the 20 items sold, according to the complaint, were:
     A Hitler watercolor of a church interior, which went for $11,000;
     a “presentation sword that would determine Mussolini’s political philosophy,” which brought $52,000;
     a “Mein Kampf ‘Gauleiter’ Edition,” for $9,000;
     “Hermann Goering Reich Marshall’s Automobile Command Flag,” for $3,250.
     The “list of the sold goods” in the complaint does not explain how a sword could determine Mussolini’s political philosophy, which is well known; nor does it explain the sale of “Benito Mussolini” for $260.
     The “1939 East Prussia Political Leaders’ Shooting Prize” sold for $4,000, according to the complaint.
     “Plaintiff retained ownership rights to the consigned property and/or the values of the consigned property and only provided possession of the consigned property to the defendant AHA/CT and/or AA and/or Panagopulos for the specific purpose of auctioning the consigned property,” the complaint states.
     “The agreement provided that the defendant AHA/CT was to get paid a flat rate fee of 9 percent of the total amount sold at auction of the plaintiff’s items with the net sale proceeds to be paid to the plaintiff 45 days after the final closing date of the sale.”
     The defendants’ 9 commission comes to $8,072.10, so it owes the plaintiff $81,617.90, which was due by March 17, according to the complaint.
     “Despite demand the defendant has failed, refused and/or otherwise neglected to pay the plaintiff anything for the items it auctioned,” the complaint states.
     The defendant requested an additional 60 days to make payment in May “citing business and personal financial issues he is having, none of which have anything to do with the agreement of the parties,” according to the complaint.
     The plaintiff claims that some items did not sell, but the defendant has not returned all the unsold goods. It claims the defendant is still holding onto a Hitler ring, a Nazi Globe Case, a Hermann Goering tie pin/broach, August Wilhelm’s riding crop and a presentation Coburg Badge stained glass window.
     The fair market value of those goods are approximately $138,750, according to the complaint.
     A sale could take place as soon as today, but the goods have not been catalogued for that auction or any other auction, the complaint states: “The plaintiff is in danger of losing the Subject Goods unless it obtains immediate possession or is otherwise enjoined against sale or other disposition because the Subject Goods are capable of rapid removal from the jurisdiction and/or concealment, capable of transfer to innocent third party purchasers and although plaintiff has demanded the return of the Subject Goods, defendants have refused to deliver said items to plaintiff.”
     The plaintiff seeks an injunction, return of the goods the defendant still has in its possession, plus actual damages, treble damages, and punitive damages, with interest, for breach of contract, civil theft, conversion, deceptive trade and unjust enrichment.
     The plaintiff is represented by Renee Cannella with Bachand and Bachand of Bridgeport.
     The complaint says nothing about the plaintiff trust: its purpose nor how it acquired the goods.
     Hitler tried his hand at painting before he turned to politics.

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