Home > Lawsuits > Park West Gallery Faces Class Action for Racketeering and Fraud
Park West Gallery Faces Class Action for Racketeering and Fraud
April 30 2009
A class action lawsuit was filed today against Park West Gallery, Inc., PWG Florida, Inc., Vista Fine Art, LLC d/b/a Park West at Sea, and Albert Scaglione (Docket No. 09-cv-11392). Park West Gallery, Inc. is located and headquartered in Southfield, Michigan and is the largest operator of art auctions on cruise ships in the United States.
The class action alleges a Class consisting of all persons who purchased artwork while attending one of Park West's shipboard art auctions conducted on famous cruise lines: Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival, Norwegian, Oceana, Disney and Holland America.
The complaint seeks damages and other appropriate relief for the Class and charges the Defendants with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. Section 1961, state consumer protection laws, breach of contract, breach of warranty and the common law.
Plaintiffs allege that defendants operated a fraudulent scheme to target the naive art purchaser by touting that the artwork sold at these shipboard auctions were good investments that would appraise for many more times the purchase price, when, in fact, the artwork plaintiffs received was either of low value, worthless or fake. The complaint also alleges that Park West sold phony appraisals to art purchasers, and that Park West conducted its on-board art auctions while cruise ships were traveling in international waters in an effort to avoid application of state consumer protection laws to its illegal activities.
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I also was naive enough to purchase a large quantity of art from Park West. Luckily most of my pieces were because I loved them. I purchased a Rembrandt Millenium series appraised at $3150. I FINALLY sold it for a mere $400. Almost $2k less than it was purchased for. I have a Tarkay, no one will touch it believing it to be a fake.
The dealers here in Ohio laugh when I say where I purchased it from. They said that the art dealers around here all know their tricks and believe almost everything to be fake. They won't touch it. I think the guy bought my Rembrandt trying to be nice and figured he could make a couple bucks.
Posted by Willem Reese
If not actually illegal, their procedures are very sleazy at the least. I sometimes go to their "shows" while on cruises, just for amusement. Of the art and artists with which I have some familiarity, it's obvious that what they're offering is waaaaay overpriced, even if genuine. You also have to listen closely to their patter to catch certain terms like "open edition" (= unlimited number of prints can be made, no rarity at all), and other obfuscating or oddly phrased descriptions that indicate the works are not particularly collectible, but maybe let them claim to have met the letter of the law in disclosure.
On a recent cruise, one of their girls tried to tell me things about their somewhat worthless "millennium edition" Rembrandt etchings that I knew were not true. During the auction, she came over and used "time-share" type verbal prods to try to get me to bid. You'd have to be pretty naive, unduly trusting, or unfamiliar with art to buy anything from these guys.
Posted by gail rizzo
purchased a Salvatore Dali print while on cruise ship on 10/11/2005. Believe it to be a fake. I have an appraisal from Park West Gallery and a personal letter from Morris Shapito, swearing it is an original with provenance. don't believe any of it.
Posted by shannon wildharber
I have purchased several pieces from this company and not only have I repeatedly questioned the integrity of the art, but I have been subjected to repeated identity theft due to their lack of security
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