UES Gallery Owners Accused of Embezzlement, Flight to France

St. Tropez.

The proprietors of the Upper East Side gallery Cook Fine Art have been sued by a former client after they allegedly sold his paintings and absconded with his money to the South of France.

According to Courthouse News, longtime Cook client George Ball authorized the sale of “three Picasso drawings, three Matisse drawings and four other pieces, including a small watercolor by Kandinsky and an ink drawing by Egon Schiele” at Christie’s and was told by R. Scott Cook that the paintings went for cumulative $5.3 million in June 2011.

After attempting to collect, Mr. Ball was directed to the attorney for Mr. Cook and his wife, who informed him that the money would not be forthcoming because “it has been spent,” which is understandable. If you’re trying to do the Riveira, you really can’t hope to have a good time for under $5.3 million.

CN says that Mr. Ball now seeks “punitive damages for conversion, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and unjust enrichment.”