6/30/09

WSJ: New York Seizes and Sells J. Ezra Merkin's Rothko Art Collection

NYS Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has ramped up his efforts to recover funds from Madoff-funnel J. Ezra Merkin.
Cuomo to Sell Merkin's Art
By LIZ RAPPAPORT

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is selling art owned by financier J. Ezra Merkin in an effort to repay his investors who lost millions in the Madoff fraud.

The sale of several Rothko paintings and Giacometti sculptures belonging to Mr. Merkin and his wife will yield $191 million for investors. Mr. Cuomo's attorneys were in New York State Supreme Court on Tuesday morning to present the plan to a judge for approval.

Mr. Cuomo's office arranged for the artwork to be sold to an anonymous buyer for $310 million. Some of the money will go to pay commissions on the sales of the art work, other fees, and liens on the art. The money will be held in an account at Bank of New York pending distribution.

Mr. Cuomo charged Mr. Merkin with civil fraud in April, alleging he lied to investors, many of which were non-profit organizations and schools, about how he invested their money when he put more than $2 billion with Bernard Madoff....

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