Uncle Sam Demands $6,635 Refund

BROOKLYN (CN) – The Smithsonian American Art Museum sued an art shipper for $6,635, saying it mistakenly wired the company money meant for someone else, and the shipper refuses to return it.

     The United States of America sued SurroundArt Transportation LLC in Federal Court.
     The Smithsonian sys it had two shipping companies with similar names in its database – SurroundArt and SurroundArt Transportation LLC.
     Uncle Sam says the Smithsonian used SurroundArt for an August 2009 order, then wired $6,635 to the other company instead.
     The world’s most powerful country claims SurroundArt Transportation has ignored months of requests to return the money.
     “On October 8, 2009, a representative from the Museum spoke with Robert Kirk, an attorney for SurroundArt Transportation LLC, to explain its error and request that SurroundArt Transportation LLC return the errantly paid $6,635.00 to the United States,” the complaint states.
     “On that same day, at Mr. Kirk’s request, a representative from the Museum provided him with the original invoice from the vendor to establish that the payment was intended to compensate for work done by the vendor, and not by SurroundArt Transportation LLC.
     “Even though the Museum provided the invoice that Mr. Kirk requested, SurroundArt Transportation LLC did not return the money to the Museum.
     “On January 21, 2010, Robert Fraga, a contracting officer from the Smithsonian, wrote a letter to Mr. Kirk and Mickey Nigro, the owner of SurroundArt Transportation LLC, demanding return of the $6,635.00 payment to the Smithsonian.
     “Neither Mr. Kirk nor Mr. Nigro responded to the letter, nor did SurroundArt Transportation LLC return the money to the Museum.
“To date, SurroundArt Transportation LLC has still not returned the $6,635 owed to the Museum,” the complaint states.
     The chief executive of SurroundArt said his company has no affiliation with the similarly named company being sued by the Smithsonian.
     “We are not SurroundArt Transportation, nor do we have any affiliation with SurroundArt Transportation,” SurroundArt CEO Mick Murray told Courthouse News in an email. “We have no knowledge of this court proceeding, and cannot provide any further comment.”
     Uncle Sam wants the money back, plus interest, and “any such further relief that the Court deems appropriate,” alleging unjust enrichment, conversion and payment by mistake of fact.

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