The Case of the Missing Painting
The case of the missing masterpiece more closely resembles a spoof of a whodunit, such as Murder by Death, than real life.
According to a lawsuit filed on August 30 by Kristin Trudgeon, a painting she co-owned, "Portrait of a Girl" by Jean Baptiste Camille Corot worth an estimated $1.35 million, was entrusted to James Carl Haggerty and never returned after he showed it to a prospective buyer.
According to court documents, the prospective buyer, Offer Waterman, and Haggerty, met at the office belonging to the painting's co-owner, Tom Doyle, in order to inspect the painting. Doyle later met Haggerty at Rue 57, a restaurant on the upper east side of Manhattan where Doyle handed the painting over to Haggerty. Doyle instructed Haggerty to take the painting to the Mark Hotel where the prospective buyer further inspected the painting with a black light. While Haggerty and the prospective buyer met at the hotel bar, the painting was left at the hotel's front desk. Security cameras at the hotel recorded Haggerty leaving the bar, collecting the painting from the front desk, and exiting the Mark Hotel at 12:50 a.m.
A camera at Haggerty's apartment building (a Trump building at 200 Riverside Drive) recorded him arriving at 2:30 a.m. "sans painting". According to the suit, Haggerty has not provided a valid explanation of his whereabouts between the time he left the hotel and the time he arrived at his apartment building on the west side. The next morning, Haggerty informed Doyle that he did not have the painting and could not recall its whereabouts citing that he "had had too much to drink the previous evening." According to the suit, Haggerty voluntarily submitted to a lie detector test to determine whether he had any culpability in the disappearance of the painting. The polygraph examiner scored the test as "deception indicated".
If the case weren't already strange enough, the painting's co-owner, Tom Doyle, is alleged to be a serial scam artist who had previously been locked up for art theft. According to AOL News, Trudgeon's attorney, Max DiFabio, has concerns about Doyle's "behavior".
According to The New York Times, the lawsuit against Haggerty has been withdrawn, but it may be reinstated.