NEW YORK—At a hearing in a Manhattan court on June 23, a judge allowed art dealer Lawrence Salander to remain free on $1million bail until the next hearing, scheduled for August 3. Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Michael Obus made the decision despite intense opposition from prosecutor Micki Shulman.
Salander, whose business, Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, collapsed amid bankruptcy and a shutdown by the Manhattan district attorney nearly three years ago, pleaded guilty last March to 29 counts of grand larceny and one count of scheming to defraud. He faces 6 to 18 years in state prison.
He defrauded consignors, investors and high-profile clients, including former tennis pro John McEnroe and actor Robert de Niro, out of an estimated $120million. At his plea hearing in March, the judge ordered Salander to fully repay his victims but the likelihood of that is considered small, given the lack of progress reported at recent hearings. Sentencing is contingent on Salander’s ability to repay his victims, a spokesperson for the Manhattan district attorney told ARTnewsletter.
To date, hundreds of items, including rare books, rugs, and American and European furniture from Salander’s homes have been sold at auctions in Manhattan and Westchester County, N.Y., with the proceeds earmarked for victims and creditors.
In June, real estate firm Leslie J. Garfield closed a deal to sell Salander’s lavish Manhattan town house for a figure “very close” to the reduced asking price of $14.25million, according to broker Lydia Rosengarten. Earlier this month, Christie’s included paintings from the Salander bankruptcy estate in a sale of Old Master and 19th-century art. The Salander material realized $2.09 million, compared with expectations of more than $2.5 million. Of 128 lots offered, 81 or just 63 percent were sold. The top lot was The Agony in the Garden, a painting from the studio of El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos, 1541–1614). Estimated at $200,000/300,000, it sold for $386,000.
Salander’s defense attorney, Charles A. Ross, did not respond to a request for comment.