7/05/2015

Are You Charging Enough? Part 2


Just about one year ago I posted an article from Forbes on professional providers and their fee schedules.  (Click HERE to read the earlier post and link to the Forbes article) It really was looking at how many service providers actually are under charging and lacked the confidence to increase fees. That post, from the feedback I received, was one of the more popular posts on the AW blog and Jane and I had actually incorporated it into our Good, Better, Best Appraiser Workshops discussions in our last workshop in November.

Yesterday I was skimming through Lifehacker and came upon a post about charging by freelancers. The Lifehacker post was called Take the Fear Out of Raising Your Freelance Rates by Knowing the Market, is a good follow-up to the earlier Forbes article from one year ago.  While the article is written for freelance software providers, much can and should be applied to the appraisal profession and how we structure our services and fees.

It discusses the fear in raising rates, and I think we can find many parallels to appraisal fees, and, for those professional practices, excellent rationalizations and discussion for raising fees. There is more to being a professional appraiser than product knowledge, market trends, appraisal theory and methodology.  It is a business, and if you wish to be professional and successful, you need to run your practice like a business.

Lifehacker (through the Andy Adams blog) reported
Dear freelancer,

I want to talk about how much you’re charging. I bet you could charge more. Life-changing amounts more.

Like most, I wanted to make more money. But first, I had to convince someone that I was worth a rate increase. It wasn’t my clients.

I had to convince myself.

If I told you about freelancers charging $20,000/week or $350/hour, what would you say? I know what I said: “Sure, they can get away with that, but I couldn’t because…”. It drove my wife crazy.

Why don’t you charge like they do? You’re doing basically the same thing, right?

The answer? I’m insecure. If you’re like me, you may have a bit of Impostor Syndrome. You can’t justify those rates to your clients. But more importantly, you can’t justify those rates to yourself.

So, you may have trouble raising your prices. We can fix that.

But instead of trying to find your maximum rate, let’s start with a very basic question:

What’s the minimum price you can justify?

I’m writing this because I wish someone had explained it to me when I started freelancing.

Warning: By the end of this article, you may have no reason to keep your rates where they are.

The big, crushing pricing failure
For 1.5 years, my process for picking a rate was:

Pick a number between $50 and $80 per hour
Send that number to a prospective client
Cross fingers and hope for the best
That worked to keep me afloat, until a single (massive) pricing mistake made me question my entire career choice.

I was on the tail end of a project that took twice as long as expected. I had done this project fixed-bid, which meant my longer hours didn’t make me any more money.

It was nearly the end of my career. I started doubting everything.

I don’t know what I’m doing. Why in the heck don’t I take a regular job?

I had eaten through my savings, and the final payment of the project was barely enough to pay the bills. My back was against the wall.

I had been reading Pat McKenzie and Brennan Dunn. Their advice sounded lovely: Raise your rates, Andy. Charge more!

But I couldn’t. I had a mental block. Sure, others could charge that much, but I doubted my ability to finish a project – let alone charge more.

I started looking for “regular” jobs. The thought of working for someone else wasn’t ideal, but the salaries were more than I was making. But then it struck me – an absolute facepalming moment:

If I can make this much as a full-time employee, why am I not charging at least this much as a contractor?

My hand was forced
After realizing I was making less than a full-time job – while bearing the risk of being a freelancer – a huge weight came off my shoulders. I had to charge more.

So I raised my rates. I was nervous, but I stuck to my guns. After all: in my mind, there was no choice. It was illogical for me to continue at current rates.

It worked. I lost some clients, kept a few old ones, and got some new ones. The clients changed, but my business became a lot more stable. But enough about my rates.

Let’s talk about your rates
Can you charge more? I think so. But you may have some objections. Your objections may even be subconscious, but we need to destroy them before we can start figuring out how much you’d be crazy not to charge.

Objection 1: Maybe you’re not worth that much?
For some clients, you’re not worth that much. The little old lady who wants a website for her dog walking business? You’re too expensive for her, even at $15/hour.

But for the majority of businesses looking to hire a freelancer, you’re worth it. You have the ability to expand and optimize their business, and they wouldn’t be talking to you if that weren’t the case.

Objection 2: Nobody can afford that rate
When I was starting one of my (many, failed) software businesses, I was worried that my business name was too close to a similar product. I called up a local lawyer, who was happy to help me look into trademarks – for $250/hour.

Whoa, buddy! $250 was too rich for my blood – I decided to change the name to something less “conflicty” and skip the lawyer.

Now, I live in northern Idaho, where the cost of living is largely determined by how many potatoes you eat per year. Lawyers cost more in other places. They’re expensive. And they work all the time. Someone, somewhere is paying $250+/hour for their services.

And that’s the point: There are businesses, nonprofits and even individuals who can and will pay $250 and beyond for an hour of the right person’s time.

Internalize this: Businesses can afford you. Other people are charging more than you, and they’re not necessarily doing more than you. There are programmers/designers/writers out there charging rates that would make your head explode. If they can do it, what’s stopping you?

Objection 3: You want people to like you
I had a friend who said the most he’d ever charge anyone he “liked” is $75/hour. He set a price ceiling based on how much he enjoyed someone’s company.

Maybe I’m needy. I want everyone to like me, and I carry that into my negotiations. Rejection hurts. Even more so when you like the client personally.

But sometimes, clients say no. You cost too much for them right now. That feels crappy.

Maybe if you came down just a teensy bit, they could afford you? Then you could be friends!

Stop. Stop it now!

Think back to the last time you thought about buying something beyond your budget. You thought “Hmmmm…not this time”, and walked away. You weren’t upset – you just decided not to buy. No hard feelings.

You’re a business. You have a price. You’ve (hopefully) given thought to that price. If someone can’t afford it, they really won’t be mad. Besides: If they are mad about your price, do you really want them as a client?

Let’s figure out your minimum rate
I floated along freelancing at market rates (who knows what that means) until I nearly went out of business, and then finally did a little bit of math.

You’re probably doing the math wrong. If you cover expenses (mortgage, groceries, and utilities) you can keep going…right?

Maybe for this month, but what about

The inevitable slow period?
The extra taxes or expenses you pay being self-employed?
Vacation?
Next month?
Let’s answer the original question you asked yourself:

What’s the minimum price you can justify?

Remember, we’re not looking for ideal or maximum right now. We’re looking for the bare minimum you can justify charging. After all, you’re not so sure about this, right? Baby steps!

Here’s how we’ll calculate your Minimum Possible Rate:

Minimum Rate = (Potential Salary * 1.25 – Freedom Tax) / 1000

Let’s break this down a little bit:

Potential Salary

Do a survey of your industry. Try to find jobs you’re an excellent fit for – something you’d almost certainly get if you tried. Try to find job postings with salary ranges included. Get a feel for the “average”. Use tools like Glassdoor to get estimates for company salaries for similar positions. Assuming you’re working from home, finding remote job postings is an even better approximation.

All you’re looking for is a range – a gut feel for a salary you have a great chance at getting.

Why multiply by 1.25?

25% is an estimate of the monetary “extras” included in full-time employment. That includes 401k matching, health benefits, bonuses, and reduced taxes. So, we multiply our potential salary by 1.25 to adjust for these.

25% is an extremely low estimate. It’s probably more like 50-100%. But we’re looking for a baseline, not complete accuracy.

Why divide by 1000?

1000 is the approximate number of billable hours per year you can work as a consultant/freelancer. The equation is roughly:

50 weeks/year x 20 hours/week = 1000 hours/year

Why only 20 hours a week?

Because of all of the non-billable time you spend as a freelancer: Business development, education, invoicing, accounting, research, etc. You don’t get paid for that – but you wouldn’t have those costs if you were employed full-time.

If you think you can bill for more than 20 hours/week, just tweak the numbers.

Freedom Tax

Freedom. How do you value freedom? How do you put a price on being able to run errands in the middle of the day? On picking up your kids every day from school? On not having a boss or a commute?

You need to calculate Freedom Tax for yourself. What amount of money (annually) would you be willing to sacrifice to keep your independence?

For me, this is pretty high. If you don’t mind commutes, fixed hours, and company politics, then this may be lower. You make the call.

How much would I charge?
Let’s do the math for my situation. I’m a competent Ruby on Rails and WordPress programmer with an eye for business and some project management skills. A lead developer for a software company or a large agency isn’t out of reach.

Salary ranges from 70k – 120k for software developers at the moment. I’d feel very confident asking for $85k annual salary (and probably much more), but let’s establish our baseline.

What’s my Freedom Tax? How much money would I sacrifice annually to keep my independence? As I mentioned before, the answer is quite a bit. $18,000 is a good approximation.

Let’s use our equation from above:

Hourly Rate = (Potential Salary * 1.25 – Freedom Tax) / 1000

Hourly Rate = (85,000 * 1.25 – 18,000) / 1000

Hourly Rate = (106,250 – 18,000) / 1000

Hourly Rate = 88,250 / 1000

Hourly Rate = $88.25

So, you charge $88.25, right?

No, my rate is higher; but what this number tells me is that I should really never take on work less than $88.25/hour under normal circumstances. If I’m working for less, I might as well take a full-time job and enjoy the stability it provides.

$88.25 is more than I was charging when I made my pricing failure, but it should’ve been the minimum. Crazy how a little math & planning changes things, huh?

Let’s get even simpler
You can follow some simple logic to convince yourself to up your rate.

How much would a full-time employee cost for your client?
You don’t have the security of a full-time employee.
Are you charging *at least* as much as that employee?
If not, you need to raise your rates.
Plug your numbers into the equation above. Are you charging the bare minimum? If not, you now have enough justifications to charge more. I hope this helps if you’re feeling a little anxious about a rate increase.

I realize that the decision to stay/become a freelancer depends on a lot more than the money. Also, you can’t charge premium rates if you’re not doing a good job and finishing your work. Still, it doesn’t hurt to understand what you’re worth and how much you can make. Otherwise, you’re leaving money on the table.
Andy Adams Blog
Lifehacker


7/03/2015

Congrats to Susan Golashovsky, ASA and Happy 4th of July


Congratulations to Susan Golashovasky, ASA, FSA.

ASA recently sent out a press release that personal property appraiser Susan Golashovsky is the new international vice president of the American Society of Appraisers.  Susan's ExVP term will be for 1 year, and then if I understand correctly she will become the next president of ASA.  It is always great news when a fellow personal property appraiser gains leadership positions, especially within a multi-disciplined appraisal organization such as ASA.

ASA reports on the election
RESTON, VA (July 2, 2015) – Susan Golashovsky ASA, FSA Scot of Doylestown, PA was recently elected international vice president for the American Society of Appraisers, where she will serve a one-year term effective July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. In addition to serving as part of the Society’s executive team, she will also serve as conference chair for the 2016 International Appraisers Conference to be held September 11-14, 2016 at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, FL.

Ms. Golashovsky has shown her dedication to the appraisal community by way of volunteerism and her preparation of on-going connoisseurship course preparation and presentations for ASA to those appraisers looking to either accredit or re-accredit with the American Society of Appraisers and other appraiser organizations. Susan has previously served as international secretary-treasurer and as region 1 governor, a territory which encompasses the North Eastern region of the United States, and has participated in various Society committees. She has been a designated member for more than 20 years.

Ms. Golashovsky holds four personal property specialties and is one of only a handful of ASA appraisers with that distinction both nationally and internationally. She is an elected Fellow of The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (National Museums Scotland). Susan Golashovsky, ASA practices throughout the United States and was qualified as an expert witness in Pennsylvania. Susan’s client list includes corporate, general public, industry and governmental entities. Her full CV appears on LinkedIn and on the website www.susanasa.com.

Ms. Golashovsky has been an active member in her community; a former member of Doylestown, PA Toastmasters;past vice president of Bucks County Antiques Dealer’s Association; was schooled in appraisal theory at George Washington University and attended Winterthur Museum’s Winter Institute to study American Material Culture. 
Source: ASA

And of course, everyone have a wonderful and safe 4th of July.




7/02/2015

Results: Sotheby's London Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale


Failed to sell
On Wednesday evening, Sotheby's held its London Post-War and Contemporary art sale.  From what is being the sale was a bit of a hit or miss proposition, with a Warhol doing well and a Bacon failing to meet its reserve.

The sale totaled $204.7 million including buyers premiums, which is far below the pre-sale low estimate of $223.5 million.  It offered 58 lots with 49 selling for a sell-through rate of 84.5%.  Although what is really telling is the sold by value percentage which was an anemic 69.6%, which is one of the lowest I have seen for a major sale. The total pre sale estimate ragne was $223.5 million to $319.38.  Not selling the Bacon "Study for a Pope I" had a big impact on the sales results as it was expected to generate $39 million to $54.6 million.

The top selling lot was by Andy Warhol, One Dollar Bill (Silver Certificate), casein and pencil on linen, 1962 selling for $32.77 million.

Reuters reported on the sale
Andy Warhol's "One Dollar", the first in his dollar bill series, fetched 20.9 million pounds ($32.4 million) at Sotheby's on Wednesday, the top-seller in what the auction house said was its highest ever total sales for an auction of contemporary art in London.

However, the auction's star attraction, Francis Bacon's "Study for a Pope I", which had been estimated at 25 to 35 million pounds, went unsold after bids failed to reach the reserve price.

"It wasn't the night for that one picture," said Oliver Barker, Sotheby's senior international specialist in contemporary art.

As a result, overall sales at the auction came in at just over 130 million pounds, below the pre-sale low estimate of 142 million pounds.

Despite the Bacon disappointment, Cheyenne Westphal, Sotheby's co-head of contemporary art, said the auction house had seen sales of more than half a billion pounds in recent weeks in London, establishing the British capital as an art hub to rival New York.

Last week, Sotheby's saw sales of 178.6 million pounds at one auction in London, with 10 of the 51 lots selling for more than 10 million pounds, while on Tuesday an auction of post war and contemporary art at Christie's totaled 95.6 million pounds.

The soaring sums come after two weeks of sales in New York in May brought in well over $2 billion at both houses.

Wednesday's Sotheby's auction was dominated by eight works by Warhol, inspired by the U.S. dollar and with the American pop artist 's 1962 hand-painted "One Dollar Bill (Silver Certificate)" exceeding its top of estimate of 18 million pounds to reach 20.9 million.

The works sold for a combined total of 34.3 million pounds, while another 11 in the series go under the hammer on Thursday.

Among the other big sellers was Gerhard Richter's 1987 work "A B, Brick Tower", which sold for 14.2 million pounds, and David Hockney's "Arranged Felled Trees", which went for 3.4 million pounds, more than a million above its high estimate.

Although Bacon's standout painting failed to inspire bidders, two other works by the Irish-born British artist - a 1975 self-portrait and "Three studies for a Self-Portrait" - sold for 15.3 million pounds and 14.7 million pounds respectively.

"Four Eggs on a Plate", a 2002 work by Lucian Freud which he gifted to the late Duchess of Devonshire, saw the fiercest bidding of the night. It sold for 989,000 pounds, almost 10 times its pre-sale estimate.
Source: Reuters


7/01/2015

Results: Chrisite's London Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale


On Tuesday evening, Christie's held its London Post-War Contemporary sale. The sale totaled $150.07 million (including buyers premiums) and offered 76 lots.  66 of the lots sold for a buy through rate of 87% and an only fair sales by value rate of 88%. The top selling lot was by Francis Bacon (1909-1992), Study for Head of Isabel Rawsthorne and George Dyer, Painted in 1967, selling for $19.11 million including buyers premium (see image). The overall results were at the top end of the overall estimate range, but overall the sale seemed to lack excitement.

On Wed evening Sotheby's holds its sale, results tomorrw.

Christie's reported on the sale
Six artist world records set in London

Francis Bacon’s Study for Head of Isabel Rawsthorne and George Dyer leads the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, plus new records set for Chris Ofili, Malcolm Morley, R.H Quaytman, Jeff Elrod, Brent Wadden and The Chapman Brothers

Francis Bacon’s Study for Head of Isabel Rawsthorne and George Dyer led Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening sale in London, exceeding its estimate to sell for £12,178,500 (all sold prices including buyer’s premium). Painted in 1967, the work is the first of only 10 diptychs by Francis Bacon, and the only one to commemorate his lover and muse George Dyer, and lifelong friend Isabel Rawsthorne.

The sale achieved £95,646,500 / $150,069,359 / €134,287,686 in total, with 87 per cent sold by lot and 88 per cent by value (Full results here). Six world auction records were set for works by Chris Ofili, Malcolm Morley (£1,202,500), R.H. Quaytman (£578,500), Jeff Elrod (£218,500), Brent (£122,500) and The Chapman Brothers (£422,500). Enthusiastic bidding came from buyers in 34 countries across three continents, who responded to works by some of the most exciting contemporary artists, as well as classics in the category.

Lot 37 saw a new artist world record established for Ofili when his must-anticipated Holy Virgin Mary (1996) soared past its high estimate of £1,800,000 to sell for £2,882,500. First exhibited at the generation-defining exhibition Sensation in London and New York, the work garnered widespread media attention, and was credited propelling the artist to international fame.

Interest was particularly strong for works from the collection of the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania, which achieved an overall total of £4,630,000, and included Chris Ofili’s record-breaking Holy Virgin Mary. Similar enthusiasm was seen for The Jacobs Collection, which achieved £6,993,000, with works by artists including Jean Dubuffet, Richard Hamilton and Morris Louis.

Additional highlights included Francis Bacon’s Two Men Working in a Field (1971), a rare landscape by the artist, which sold for £10,722,500. First exhibited as part of the artist’s career-defining retrospective at Paris’s Grand Palais, the work surpassed its estimate of £7,000,000-10,000,000.

Marking an historic moment in the artist’s career, Yves Klein’s historic Fire Painting Peinture de feu couleur sans titre, (FC 27), executed in 1962, sold for £5,906,500. Cementing the idea of creative destruction, the piece was among the largest of Klein’s explosive series of fire paintings, executed the year before his untimely death.

Unseen in public since the mid 1970s, Sigmar Polke’s Mondlandschafft mit Schilf (Moonlit landscape with reeds) (1969), sold for £3,890,500. Amongst the highest selling works in the sale, the piece was realised in the same year as the moon landings. Competitive bidding was seen for Morris Louis’ Number 35 (1962), a work drawn from The Jacobs Collection, which more than tripled its low estimate to sell for £1,538,500

Amongst the evening’s record-setters, Malcolm Morley’s SS Amsterdam in Front of Rotterdam (1966) found a buyer at £1,202,500. Previously part of the Saatchi Collection, the work is one of the earliest examples of the much-admired super-realist style that would become a hallmark of Morley’s practice.

Commenting on the sale, Edmond Francey, Head of Department for Post-War and Contemporary Art, London said: ‘Tonight we saw the culmination of an historic season for Christie’s. The depth and breadth of activity was seen by the broad geography of not only bidders and material. This was an example of Christie’s doing what it does best. The 100 per cent sell-through rates on the Jacobs and MONA collections demonstrated the desirability of fresh material.’

Katharine Arnold, Head of the Evening Sale added: ‘It was great result for the best of contemporary, and the 100 per cent sold Jacobs Collection. The highlight of my evening was the Chris Ofili selling at a world record level; I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.’
Source: Christie's


6/30/2015

Picasso in the Attic?


The Huffington Post is reporting that Scottish artist Dominic Currie may have discovered a Picasso in a suitcase in rolled up in the attic.  Curries' mother received the suitcase from a Russian soldier in the 1950s who was also Currie's father.

If it turns out to be authentic it goes to show that there are still undiscovered jewels out there.

The Huffington Post reports
Scottish pop artist Dominic Currie may have discovered a Pablo Picasso rolled up in a suitcase given to his mother by his father, a Russian soldier, in the 1950s.

Currie never took his mother seriously when she claimed that she had a painting rolled up in a suitcase in the attic. When clearing out her house, he was about to throw a suitcase away when he thought he should open it to have a look at what was inside.

“It was a bombshell," he told the Scotsman. “We had thought ‘Let's just get this to the skip, let's do it'. […] we unrolled it and it was sack cloth with German writing on it. Inside it there was this old oil cloth underneath and newspapers from the Soviet Union in the 50s."

In 1998 Currie discovered that his biological father was a Russian soldier, Nicolai Vladimirovich, that his mother had met on holiday in Poland in 1955 when she was nineteen. The lovers had met up following the birth of their lovechild with Currie's mother Annette making trips behind the iron curtain.

Vladimirovich gave her the painting knowing that, as a single mother, she would struggle financially. It seems she put it in the attic for a rainy day and left it there forgotten, until now.

The painting has now been sent to Christie's London to undergo a process of authentication. If the painting turns out to be real, Currie intends to sell the Cubist work in accordance with his parents wishes.

“It's a wonderful gift. It's like a message from both of them to me," said Currie of the find. “That's how it feels. It's like, “Here son, we're going to look after you. It's taken a wee while but we've got there."
Source: The Huffington Post


6/29/2015

National Estate Sale Conference


It is Monday morning and I am getting ready to leave for Chicago and the 2015 National Estate Sale Conference. This is the third year for the fast-growing conference and I am honored to be giving two presentations over the three day conference.  In my first presentation Identifying, Examining, and Comparing English and American Period Furniture I will discuss terminology, including historical periods, stylistic periods, monarchs, and cabinet makers of period American and English furniture. Through side-by-side slide comparisons of English and American pieces of furniture, he will review the various stylistic periods and contrast form and characteristics of English and American period furniture.

My second presentation is a workshop based upon the first presentation and going deeper into the analysis of English/American furniture identification and, also encouraging participation and discussion from those attending the workshop. If you have attended any of our AW Good, Better, Best Appraiser Workshops you know how I enjoy these types of programs, group participation, and discussions, as we all learn from the various contributions and situations.

From what I understand the conference is at near capacity and may well have sold out with over 260 attendees expected at the Chicago Hilton. Click HERE to review the program. The conference is organized by Estatesales.net, one of the largest online platforms for estate sales.

In addition, the International Society of Appraisers will be exhibiting at the National Estate Sale Conference, and I will be manning the booth during the course of the conference.   We will be showcasing some of ISA new educational programs, marketing materials, and member benefits. If you are attending, please stop by.

I will be posting from Chicago both on the conference and the art market. It is an important week as the London Post-War and Contemporary sales are Tuesday (at Christie's) and Wednesday (at Sotheby's).





6/28/2015

Disavowed Art


The Courthouse News Service recently posted an article about artist Cady Noland's "Log Cabin" (see image) sculpture. The artist disavowed the work due to restorations that were completed without her approval.  The owner is now suing the artist and the gallery which brokered the sale in attempt to get his money back. It appears the new owner is the one who had the restorations performed, and although it is not clear if they knew of the artists objections, or did not inform the artist of the restoration beforehand.

An interesting case for appraisers and valuation. If an appraiser is valuing works of a living artist which may have had restorations the safest route would be to have the client document the restorations and artist approval before valuation. I dont think it would be wise for the appraiser to approach the artist, as there could be liability issues if the artist then disavows the work.

The Courthouse News Service reports
MANHATTAN (CN) - Swapping out wood that rotted for a decade in a German museum scuttled the $1.4 million purchase of artist Cady Noland's "Log Cabin," a collector claims in Federal Court.

A postmodern conceptual sculptor, Noland created her "Log Cabin Blank with Screw Eyes and Cafe Door" as a disembodied wooden fa├žade with the U.S. flag hanging over its entrance at center. The piece fits into the artist's persistent themes of the dark sides of the American Dream, but stands out as her only work intended to be displayed outdoors.

"Log Cabin" eventually came to honor the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's late curator John Caldwell, who died of a heart attack at the age of 51 in 1993.

Now described as Caldwell's memorial, "Log Cabin" spent 10 years in Berlin before Ohio-based collector Scott Mueller took an interest in the work.

Mueller, a trustee at Cleveland's Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), claims that he agreed to buy the sculpture through a dealer at the Berlin-based Janssen Gallery on July 2, 2014. He said that he paid more than a million to the gallery's Singapore office, but that Noland got furious once informed that that Mueller planned to restore the work.

"Noland angrily denounced the restoration of the artwork without her knowledge and approval," according to the federal complaint Mueller filed in New York on Monday. "She further stated that any effort to display or sell the sculpture must include notice that the piece was remade without the artist's consent, that it now consists of unoriginal materials, and that she does not approve of the work."

Mueller says that the piece belonged to German collector Wilhelm Schurmann and that the Manhattan-based Marisa Newman Projects facilitated the deal.

"Noland also sent by facsimile a handwritten note to Mueller on or about July 18, 2014, stating, 'This is not an artwork' and objecting to the fact that the sculpture was 'repaired by a consevator [sic] BUT THE ARTIST WASN'T CONSULTED," the complaint states. (Emphasis in the original.)

After consulting with Schurmann, gallery owner Michael Janssen told Mueller's representative there were "not much options to calm 'crazy' Cady down," according to the complaint.

Mueller alleges that the Janssen Gallery still has not repaid $800,000 of the original transfer.

Initial attempts to make Mueller whole allegedly failed, and Mueller says Janssen sent an email last month acknowledging the inability to return the outstanding balance.

"It is a most unfortunate situation for me as you can imagine and I am working continuously to find a solution," Janssen allegedly wrote on May 27. "I can only ask again for an extension of your good will and patience, but certainly understand if there is no room for maneuver anymore."

Mueller demands $800,000 from Janssen, his gallery, Schurmann, and Marisa Newman Projects for breach of contract, unjust enrichment and conversion.

He is represented by Robertson Beckerlegge of Baker & Hostetler LLP. 
Source: Courthouse News Service