Looting with Dynamite in Greece

This is the first I’ve head of using dynamite like this to loot sites: six looters in northern Greece have been arrested for using dynamite at an archaeological site to search for gold:

Authorities said Thursday that the four Greek and two Albanian men were arrested Wednesday after police discovered a 12-meter (40-foot) tunnel blasted into the side of a mountain near the city of Kavala, 700 kilometres (435 miles) north of Athens. 
The tunnel, with support columns and a construction track, was first started in 2008, according to local police, who said the suspects would be charged with illegal excavation, illegal use and possession of explosives, and violating archaeological protection laws. 
Archaeological services would not comment on whether they believed there was buried gold in the area.
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Forging Folk Art

The late Clementine Hunter, at home in Louisiana

A 79-year-old man from Baton Rouge has pleaded guilty to forging paintings of folk artist Clementine Hunter. William Toye pleaded guilty on Monday in federal court to one count of conspiracy to sell forged works. Here is an excerpt of the New York Times story:

 Over the past four decades, Mr. Toye and his wife have been formally accused three times of having sold or trying to sell fakes, most often imitations of paintings by the folk artist Clementine Hunter, whose work Mr. Toye professes to despise. But this is the first time he has been fully prosecuted. 
The conspiracy being considered is an odd one, involving Mr. Toye’s British-born wife, Beryl, and a dealer in New Orleans named Robert E. Lucky Jr., who is alleged to have sold the Toye Hunters to customers around the country and in some cases to have resold them after they were returned by disgruntled purchasers.
There is a good deal of bad blood. In a floridly reproachful letter in 2005, Ms. Toye told Mr. Lucky that if he were to end up in jail, “it will be with my blessing and my boot up your rear end.” Yet Mr. Lucky and Ms. Toye are scheduled to go on trial in August. (Ms. Toye’s lawyer said she continues to maintain her innocence.)        

  1. Campbell Robertson, “William Toye Pleads Guilty to Fraud,” The New York Times, June 7, 2011, sec. U.S., http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/08/us/08forgery.html.
  2. “Baton Rouge man admits Clementine Hunter forgery | NOLA.com”, n.d., http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2011/06/baton_rouge_man_admits_clement.html.
Questions or Comments? Email me at derek.fincham@gmail.com

"Rarely have lawyers been paid so much to lose so much."

Hugh Eakin Reviews ‘Chasing Aphrodite’. An excerpt:

I recently reviewed tax filings by the Getty Trust showing that it paid $16 million for outside legal services between mid-2005 and mid-2007 alone—a period during which it had handed its Italian dealings to a team of lawyers from a high-end Los Angeles firm. (This does not include the $750,000 that, according to Felch and Frammolino, the Getty paid to a “crisis management” firm, also in Los Angeles, for “largely unheeded advice.”) A truer estimate, though, would also have to take account of the hundreds of millions dollars’ worth of art—far more than the Italians would have been contented with in 2002—that was finally turned over to Rome and Athens, leaving the Getty Villa a pallid shadow of its former self. Rarely have lawyers been paid so much to lose so much.

  1. Hugh Eakin, “What Went Wrong at the Getty,” New York Review of Books, June 23, 2011, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/jun/23/what-went-wrong-getty/?pagination=false.
Questions or Comments? Email me at derek.fincham@gmail.com