Hoping to get a piece of the art collection of disgraced healthcare executive Richard Scrushy? Well, you’re too late. An auction of the art owned by the former HealthSouth Corp. CEO was held May 15 in Philadelphia, with proceeds earmarked for his former company and its shareholders. Freeman’s, a 206-year-old auction house in downtown Philly, handled the proceedings.
Outliers: Artful proceedings
HealthSouth won a $2.9 billion civil judgment against Scrushy in 2009 after he was convicted on federal corruption charges. This month an appeals court threw out two bribery convictions but let most of the corruption charges stand.
HealthSouth shareholders have been seizing and selling everything from “the $5 million lake house to the $3 lampshade” to recoup the money, says shareholder lawyer John Q. Somerville of Birmingham, Ala., where HealthSouth is headquartered.
The 16 Scrushy pieces that were scheduled to be auctioned included a rare 1965 Picasso print (estimated value $50,000-$80,000); a Renoir lithograph ($50,000-$80,000); a Salvador Dali watercolor ($40,000- $60,000); and a Chagall ink and wash on paper ($50,000-$70,000).
“An infamous name is, I think, helpful in bringing attention to the fine art,” Anne Henry of Freeman’s told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “And the objects speak for themselves.”
Freeman’s is no stranger to art collections connected to troubled business dealings; last year it auctioned off parts of the vast Lehman Bros. collection.
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