March 29, 2017
New York Post
Trial for fake Renoir painting results in $1.1M for gallery owner
Justice was delivered to New York gallery owner Alex Komolov after he sued Jack Shaoul of Universe Antiques for selling him a fraudulent Renoir painting.
Page Six has learned that following last week’s trial, a jury awarded Komolov $1.1 million — the full amount he paid for the fake art back in 2010. Komolov owns the Alskom Gallery in Manhattan.
Now it’s unclear where the painting will go, as fears build that it may re-enter the market, thus ripping off another person in the art world.
Komolov’s lawyer, Phil Chronakis, of the Budd Larner firm, claims Shaoul asked for the painting back, but says it should be turned over to authorities.
“At the time of the verdict, Jack stormed out of the courtroom, his lawyer also left before the jury left, the painting itself and the rest of the trial evidence are in my office … where they are supposed to be,” said Chronakis, noting he’ll do anything to prevent the painting from re-entering “the stream of commerce.”
“I would love to turn it over to the district attorney and let them proceed,” Chronakis added. “This is somebody who has already served prison time for art fraud, but as Alex’s lawyer, my focus is on collecting this judgment, which will be $1.8 million, because the seven years of interest that comes with the verdict.”
While the fate of the painting remains uncertain, the trial itself revealed a bizarre string of events, including Shaoul claiming he purchased the painting from a man who came back to life.
Shaoul stated, in both his deposition and on the stand, that he bought the painting from a man named Joe Levy, who Shaoul claims died, came back to life and died again after two months.
The defense counsel also appeared to attempt to play into current Russian fears, by pointing out that Komolov’s native language is Russian.
“Attempts to smear Alex with his Russian heritage were weak at best and deplorable at worst,” said Komolov’s legal crisis manager, Wendy Feldman. “After all, my client still has other legal battles to fight. He’s the plaintiff in another case against Jack Shaoul as well as a few others. So, it’s good to know with this victory his faith in American justice is solid. We should all be so willing to stand up for what’s right, no matter the cost.”