Art Law Report

The New Domestic “Freeports”: Sales and Use Tax Opportunities and Risks

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on October 27, 2015 at 6:20 AM

Recent news of “Freeports” opening in Delaware prompts a review of what these facilities are for, what they are not for, and where collectors and dealers can get themselves into trouble. When used carefully there are meaningful tax efficiency opportunities, but no one should think that they are or can be a one-stop way to avoid sales tax in particular. Thoughtful planning is the key.

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Topics: New Hampshire, Fritz Dietl, David Arendt, Delaware, Geneva, Oregon, Luxembourg, Pure of Love of Art Versus Mere Investment, Customs, Crozier Fine Arts, yco International Ltd., Sales & Use Taxes, Dennis Kozlowski, Delaware Freeport, Freeports, Alaska, Tax, Montana

Museum Denied Exhibition Loan of Byzantine Ivory from British Museum That Should Have Been Permitted

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on July 8, 2015 at 8:08 AM

The Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, Massachusetts, has apparently been told by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service that it will not be receiving the anticipated loan of a Byzantine ivory relief of the Death of the Virgin for the exhibition “Saints and Dragons: Icons from Byzantium to Russia.” This no doubt springs from the new U.S. policy on ivory, but even under that stringent approach, the temporary import for a cultural exhibition should have been permitted. The museum may have recourse, but it has apparently made a backup plan for another object to round out the show. The case still serves as a useful framework to consider the new legal reality. This is also a real shame, because it is the second time in the last few years that the museum (which is an absolute gem, founded privately in 2006 by art collector and industrialist Gordon B. Lankton) has been affected by international contretemps (the first relating to the Russian exhibition loan embargo arising out of the Chabad case).

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Topics: CITES, relief, Massachusetts, Saints and Dragons: Icons from Byzantium to Russia, Byzantine, Death of the Virgin, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, ivory, Gordon B. Lankton, 22 U.S.C. § 2459, Museum of Russian Icons, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Sp, Clinton, commercial trade, National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficki, Immunity from Seizure Act, Customs, Chabad

"Saving Africa’s Elephants Changing the Art Scene" last Tuesday with VLA New York

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on October 17, 2014 at 1:07 PM

I enjoyed a terrific panel discussion organized by Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in New York Tuesday evening at Herrick, Feinstein LLP. Entitled "Saving Africa’s Elephants Changing the Art Scene," the panel addressed the ramifications of this year’s Director’s Order that banned the import of African Elephant ivory for any commercial use, and restricted even further non-commercial use.

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Topics: David Freudenthal, Pearlstein and McCullough, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, iGavel, Michael McCullough, Saving Africa’s Elephants Changing the Art Scene, Frank Lord, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Christie's, Hartley Waltman, Carnegie Hall, Events, ivory ban, Herrick Feinstein LLP, Craig Hoover, Lark Mason, Customs, New York

“Saving Africa’s Elephants, Changing the Art Scene” on October 14, 2014

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 17, 2014 at 7:04 AM

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts has organized an interesting panel presentation and discussion on October 14, 2014 that will be held at Herrick, Feinstein LLP in New York. From the event description (online registration available):

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Topics: David Freudenthal, Pearlstein and McCullough, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, iGavel, Michael McCullough, Saving Africa’s Elephants Changing the Art Scene, Frank Lord, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Christie's, Hartley Waltman, Carnegie Hall, Events, ivory ban, Herrick Feinstein LLP, Craig Hoover, Lark Mason, Customs, New York

United States Abandons Finally Its Effort to Seize Mask of Ka Nefer Nefer in St. Louis, Egypt’s Plans Unknown

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on July 29, 2014 at 10:17 AM

The Department of Justice has made public its plans to let the deadline pass for seeking rehearing or further review of the June, 2014 decision affirming the dismissal of its efforts to seize the Mask of Ka Nefer Nefer in the St. Louis Art Museum by civil forfeiture. In an interview with St. Louis Post-Dispatch, United States Attorney Richard Callahan stated that “The Department of Justice will take no further legal action with respect to the mask.”

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Topics: Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, St. Louis Art Museum, Department of Justice, Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e), the Art Law Report, 19 U.S.C. § 1595a, United States, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Museums, Customs, Civil Forfeiture, Ancient Egypt

St. Louis Art Museum Dismisses Its Lawsuit Over Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, Could Bring it Again if It Chose

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on June 24, 2014 at 1:12 PM

I wondered aloud two weeks ago what the St. Louis Art Museum would do with its declaratory judgment action over the Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the related forfeiture action brought by the government. With the question of seizure answered for good, I suggested that the museum’s next move might be to dismiss its first-filed lawsuit, because its incentive to litigate the question of title was effectively removed entirely with the forfeiture off the table. Judith H. Dobrzynski picked up on this theme at Real Clear Arts.

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Topics: Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, Real Clear Arts, St. Louis Art Museum, Department of Justice, Judith H. Dobrzynski, Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e), 19 U.S.C. § 1595a, United States, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Customs, Civil Forfeiture, Ancient Egypt

What Happens to St. Louis Art Museum Suit Against the U.S. over the Mask of Ka Nefer Nefer—Will Museum Dismiss its Case Voluntarily?

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on June 16, 2014 at 1:40 PM

On the heels of the St. Louis Art Museum’s victory against the civil forfeiture action over the Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, the question arises what the museum will do with the lawsuit it filed in 2011 concerning the mask. That lawsuit, The Art Museum Subdistrict of the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District of the City of Saint Louis and the County of Saint Louis, (the “SLAM Case”) filed before the civil forfeiture action that was the subject of last week’s opinion(United States vs. Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, hereafter the “Forfeiture Action”), sought a declaratory judgment on several issues. This tactic is not uncommon when two parties disagree over a claim; essentially the party who would ordinarily be the defendant (here the possessor of the property, the museum), seeks offensively a declaration about the parties’ rights. Because of its recent victory in the Forfeiture Action, the museum’s best move may be to dismiss the SLAM Case now, rather than litigate ownership questions that it no longer has to answer.

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Topics: Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, Mohamed Ibrahim, St. Louis Art Museum, Department of Justice, Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e), the Art Law Report, 19 U.S.C. § 1595a, United States, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Customs, Minister of Antiquities, Civil Forfeiture, Ancient Egypt

Appeals Court Rules Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer Will Stay at St. Louis Art Museum Because Government Missed Deadlines

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on June 12, 2014 at 7:10 AM

The Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of the U.S. government’s attempt to seize the Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer from the St. Louis Art Museum. Despite the government’s persistent characterization the mask as stolen before it entered the country, the civil forfeiture case has been rebuffed. The narrow issue was whether the trial court had properly denied the government’s request to amend its complaint after an initial challenge, but as the 8th Circuit put it, “Underlying that issue is an attempt to expand the government’s forfeiture powers at the likely expense of museums and other good faith purchasers in the international marketplace for ancient artifacts.” That latter question will have to wait another day, because the case was resolved on the government’s missed deadlines and nothing more.

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Topics: Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, St. Louis Art Museum, Department of Justice, Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e), the Art Law Report, Restitution, 19 U.S.C. § 1595a, United States, Antiquities, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Customs, Civil Forfeiture, Ancient Egypt

Mask of Ka Nefer Nefer Settlement Talks Fail, Appeal Back on the Docket

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on April 18, 2013 at 1:10 PM

After a report from the United States that settlement talks in the civil forfeiture case against the Mask of Ka Nefer Nefer at the St. Louis Art Museum were sufficiently promise to suspend the briefing schedule in the Court of Appeals, the government has advised the court that those talks have failed. The government’s appellate brief is now due June 3, 2013.

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Topics: Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, St. Louis Art Museum, Collections, Customs

Court Denies Request to Amend Complaint Seeking Forfeiture of Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on August 2, 2012 at 6:33 AM

 

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Topics: Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, St. Louis Art Museum, Collections, Customs, Civil Forfeiture

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