- Harvey Weinstein says a man lent him $350,000 for bail but won’t return art used as collateral.
- The jailed movie mogul says his lender already sold one of the Banksy pieces.
- He’s demanding the return of the other Banksy and six other works — or $1 million.
Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced movie producer whose reported sexual abuse of women kicked off the #MeToo movement, claims a man who lent him bail money won’t return several pricey works of art that secured the loan.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Weinstein claimed that one Steven Michael Reich lent him $350,000 in January 2020 and held onto two of Weinstein’s Banksy works – “Paranoid Pictures” and “Flower Bomb” — as collateral. Reich, the defendant, is not the composer of the same name.
Since then, however, Weinstein claims to have learned that Reich sold one of the Banksys for $300,000 and had the other valued at upwards of $500,000. Reich is refusing to hand the remaining Banksy over, along with six other works of art that he’d been holding in case the Banksy works lost value.
“The defendant improperly remains in the possession of the remaining collateralized work or has sold it for his own gain,” the lawsuit says.
Weinstein, who is 71, was found guilty of charges including third-degree rape by a Manhattan jury in February 2020 and sentenced to 23 years in prison. He was also convicted of forcible rape and two other counts related to sexual misconduct in Los Angeles. He is currently being held at the New York state Mohawk Correctional Facility, according to state records.
Robert Hantman, Weinstein’s lawyer, said the two men were acquaintances and Reich lent Weinstein the money when he was trying to make bail. He said Reich is being opportunistic.
“He wants to keep the paintings, and the paintings are worth a lot of money,” he said.
Reich didn’t immediately respond to a call, email, and text message sent Tuesday evening.
The lawsuit seeks the return of whatever Banksy works Reich might still have, as well as the other six works. They include five photos by Alfred Eisenstaedt, including his “potentially only known self-portrait,” and a work by the artist Ron Agam called “Kaleidoscope.”