Rindge: Art duo refutes charges 

  • court/crime

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, January 19, 2017 6:52AM

A former Franklin Pierce University professor and her son – accused of selling almost $700,000 in counterfeit paintings – have come forward and asked that a lawsuit against them be dropped, according to court documents. 

Nikolas and Lorettann Gascard, representing themselves, have submitted a motion to dismiss the complaint against them in its entirety. The complaint, filed in September, alleges that Lorettann Gascard, a former art history professor at FPU and director of the university’s art gallery, and her adult son Nikolas, sold 24 counterfeit Leon Golub paintings to art collector Andrew Hall from 2009 to 2011.

“The fact that several years after the alleged sales, Hall Monday-morning quarterbacked on securing the documentation he desired, itself implies that he proceeded with the ‘transactions without securing the available documentation’ even though he now complains, that N. Gascard “put [him] on notice of the existence of material facts,’” read the document. “Moreover, Hall did not care to even verify the authenticity of the documentation that he received years after the sales.”

The Gascards submitted their motion through the United State District Court in New Hampshire on Jan. 16, along with a 25-page memorandum of law, outlining reasons why all charges should be dropped.

Hall’s lawsuit is asking for compensation of no less than $676,250, which is the purchase price of the challenged works. Hall is also seeking compensation for costs expended in discovering that the paintings were forged and attorney’s fees.

In total, Hall filed six claims: fraud, conspiracy to defraud, breach of warranty, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and violation of the NH Consumer Protection Act. 

In total, the Gascards lay out 12 different arguments using decisions from a number of previous court cases as to why the lawsuit should be dropped. There is no section that specifically addresses the validity of the paintings. 

“The complaint does not indicate that the issue of obtaining documented provenance for the acquired works occurred to Hall around the time of any of the alleged transactions and as a result of his own diligence,” read the memorandum of law. “Nor does it indicate that Hall made use of his demonstrated ability to turn to individuals, ‘expert in Golub’s work’ before or after at least one of the seven separate transactions which took place over the course of two years.” 

The Gascards have yet to return requests for comment. Their specific whereabouts are unknown at this time, with a Rindge P.O. Box number being the current mail address listed in court records.