Law Firm of Gardner & Rosenberg P.C. Press Release, Sept. 15, 2015:
New York, NY ‐ A New York arbitrator this week slapped a high end Manhattan auction house with a judgment of more than $600,000 on a claim that it cheated a client out of the sale of two unique Michael Jackson items. The client alleged that Gotta Have Rock and Roll, a rock and roll and pop culture‐ themed auction house, and its owner, Edward Kosinski, the husband of New York real estate heiress Jacqueline LeFrak, did not sell the items at auction but instead secretly sold them to an insider. The arbitrator also found liable a Gotta Have Rock and Roll affiliate that runs a midtown Manhattan store that prides itself on fetching huge prices for high end collectibles such as Elvis Presley’s “Peacock Jumpsuit” and Bruce Springsteen’s first car.
The claimant, Peter Slingluff, is a long‐time collector of rock and roll and pop memorabilia. He consigned two items to the auction house in 2009: a promotional poster of Jackson’s iconic Bad album, on which Jackson had inscribed the lyrics to the song We Are the World; and Jackson’s handwritten lyrics to his own hit song, Billie Jean. Steve Cyrkin, manager of Autograph Magazine Live, a popular online forum for collectors of autographed memorabilia (http://live.autographmagazine.com), and an expert in Michael Jackson autographs, said that the Bad poster in particular was “a very impressive and unique piece.”
Slingluff said that after the auction, Kosinski told him the items hadn’t met the reserve prices and that the auction house had sold them in a private party sale; Gotta Have Rock and Roll then sent him a check for $40,500. Slingluff alleged he never authorized such a post‐auction sale. Slingluff says he became suspicious when the items turned up about a year later at Los Angeles‐based Julien’s auctions, where they sold for nearly 10 times what Gotta Have Rock and Roll had paid him. Slingluff suspected that the auction house and Kosinski took the items for themselves and secretly sold them for a huge profit.
Arbitrator John M. Brickman entered an award for Slingluff representing the later sales price of the items, attorney fees, and interest. Attorneys Josh Gardner and Nick Rosenberg represented Slingluff. Rosenberg said, “we are obviously pleased with the outcome and that Peter will recover the value of what was taken from him.” Rosenberg went on to note “unfortunately, we have seen how easy and rampant it is for auction houses and consignees to breach the trust their clients place in them in this often highly opaque industry. We hope this ruling will send a clear message to unscrupulous auctioneers and consignees.”
For more information, contact:
Nicholas J. Rosenberg
Gardner & Rosenberg P.C.
33 Mount Vernon Street
Boston, MA 02108