A pop artist has sued his friend and an art dealer for $55 million for copying and selling hundreds of pieces he used as collateral for a loan during his expensive 2016 divorce.
Todd Goldman, 55, has accused Eli Weisman and Roy Revivo of stealing and reproducing his works and claims that they did so at a time when he was financially vulnerable.
Goldman allegedly confided in his friend Weisman about his expensive divorce in 2016, and turned to him for help paying his legal bills. Weisman agreed and gave his friend two loans in 2016 and 2017, using 2,500 pieces of artworks as collateral, Mail Online reported.
This loan deal, however, had ‘sinister and egregious intentions,’ the suit, seen by the New York Post, claims.
According to the suit, once the first loan of $40,000 was due to be repaid, Goldman still couldn’t afford it and instead, let his friend keep the collateral artwork.
The 2,500 lithographs Weisman got to keep made Revivo made almost $100,000, it’s claimed.
Weisman runs gallery and auction house Q-Art – and Revivo is a Californian businessman.
Artist Goldman has an A-list clientele – and has sold pieces to Rihanna and Leonardo DiCaprio in the past.
When Goldman ran into money trouble again, he struck another deal with the duo – he got a $100,000 loan, which was backed by $3.5million worth of his paintings.
Revivo wanted to inspect the 800 paintings himself, so asked to ship them across the country from Florida to California in a truck in ‘extreme heat,’ which started ruining the artwork, the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit claims he then held the artwork ‘hostage,’ and Goldman asked to give back $10,000 that Revivo gave ‘in good will’ in a bid to retrieve his artworks.
The lawsuit claims: ‘Roy and Defendants had no intention of returning the pieces of art to Todd, it/they/he/she intended on taking advantage of Todd’s being distracted and financially strapped due to his divorce, to execute the perfect con job against Plaintiff.
‘Meanwhile, time was passing and Todd was losing millions of business opportunities with his art.
Defendants in this action knew full well the popularity of Todd’s work, and like a Trojan Horse, offered Todd help when he was down and needed it the most, but with sinister and egregious intentions.’
Instead of giving back the hundreds of artworks, Revivo allegedly changed the terms of the loan, and increased the repayment amount to $25,000, and then to $50,000.
Not only did Goldman not possess his works, but he was missing out on big business deals, costing him millions of dollars, it’s claimed.
He was forced to file for bankruptcy in 2018.
It was at this point that Revivo and Weisman started making prints of the artist’s works and selling them online for cheap, the lawsuit claims.
In turn, this ‘watered down’ Goldman’s brand and also saturated the market where collectors wouldn’t want to invest in his work because copies were readily available elsewhere, the suit says.
Goldman’s lawyer Victor Feraru told The Post: ‘This is one of the most egregious cases of exploiting an artist’s work that I have ever seen.
‘The Defendants in this case single-handedly diluted the market with unauthorized reproductions of my client’s work and committed unthinkable fraud in the most vindictive and morally corrupt ways possible.
‘We look forward to this case making its way to a jury.’
Weisman’s team said: ‘Qart.com has never reproduced Todd Goldman’s paintings nor have we reproduced his signature. Even a shallow dive would clear it up.’