MANHATTAN (CN) - The wife of iconic psychedelic artist Peter Max claims in court that her husband's children swiped 82 works of art from her, worth more than $4.2 million.
Mary Max, who has been married to the artist for 18 years, and the husband's guardian and children have been embroiled in multiple, lurid lawsuits replete with allegations of kidnapping, theft, and assassination plots that filled the pages of New York's tabloids.
The latest salvo, fired on Dec. 22 in New York County Supreme Court, is a seemingly straightforward property dispute about paintings the psychedelic painter gave her to celebrate marriage and anniversaries.
Five days after they married in 1997, Peter and Mary Max signed a post-nuptial agreement entitling Mary to 20 of her husband's paintings immediately, another 20 on their third anniversary, and 40 to mark their fifth anniversary, according the new lawsuit.
Mary says that she stored her collection three years ago in a warehouse in Lyndhurst, N.J., run by ALP, Inc., which is run by her husband's agent Larry Moskowitz.
Children Adam and Libra Max each own a 40 percent stake in ALP, according to the lawsuit.
On Oct. 7, the New York Post reported that Mary Max accused Adam of holding his famous father against his will at an unknown location in New York City.
A week later, the New York Daily News reported that Peter Max's temporary guardian Diana Krausz alleged in court filings that Mary had targeted her husband in several assassination plots.
Mary Max's attorney Bruce Kaplan, with Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman, paints the salacious charges as legal retaliation.
"In recent years, Adam, Libra, and Moskowitz, acting individually and in concert, have bullied Peter and sought to reduce and undermine his management of the business he created," the new complaint states. "After Mary brought legal proceedings to protect Peter from defendants' undue influence and manipulations, they lashed out against her.
"In an effort to harm Mary for having the temerity to protect her husband, defendants have cut off Peter's resources, including pay from his own company, even though Peter continues to go to work each day and (at defendants' insistence) spends most weekends flying around the country making personal appearances. As a result, Peter, who has supported Mary generously throughout their marriage, can no longer support either Mary or himself, and is reduced to having to ask defendants for pocket money."
Mary Max demands $5 million in punitive damages for conversion and breach of contract, plus the value of the paintings.
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