Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Art Dealer Takes On Sotheby's.

Byline: Morgan Lee Journal Staff Writer

* The suit alleging the auction house failed to promote a collection starts Tuesday in Albuquerque

Santa Fe art dealer Al Luckett is scheduled Tuesday to confront Sotheby's Inc., in federal court in Albuquerque three years after his collection of Spanish colonial antiques went on sale at the New York auction house.

Disappointed by the sale, Luckett will argue that Sotheby's, which operates under a $1.6 billion holding company, failed to live up to marketing promises and warn of risks when it auctioned off much of Luckett's collection. According to documents filed in Luckett's case, the witness list includes Sotheby's CEO C. William Ruprecht, Santa Fe Gallery owner Mark Zaplin and museum directors from the Smithsonian Institution and Santa Fe's Palace of the Governors.

Through his company, Cultural Assets II, Luckett has asked a U.S. District Court judge for compensatory damages of $3 million plus punitive damages from Sotheby's. He argues that the auctioneer rather than going for the highest sale prices placed its own interests ahead of the interests of the art consignor.

Sotheby's has denied Luckett's charges of negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract, a charge that includes breach of good faith and fair dealing. …

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