Joel Silver Allegedly Claimed Money Problems to Get Out of Million-Dollar Art Deal

EXCLUSIVE
Joel Silver, Jeff Koons
Artsy.com /Getty / Jeff Koons (Courtesy and the Lyon Biennale) /

Movie producer Joel Silver is being accused of citing money troubles to try and back out of a deal to purchase an $8 million Jeff Koons art piece.

As The Blast first reported, Silver sued the Gagosian Gallery over a deal to purchase a Jeff Koons balloon sculpture that is yet to be finished. The deal called for Silver to pay an $800,000 deposit, followed by several $1.6 million payments.

Silver claims he made $3.2 million in payments but then stopped making the agreed-upon payments for the next two years.

The producer claimed to have taken issue with the completion date being constantly pushed back. He tried to demand the return of his $3.2 million but the gallery allegedly refused. They told him if he didn’t make the remainder of the payments, they would consider him in breach and keep his millions. He agreed to a revised payment plan but then Silver didn’t make the payments.

He filed suit demanding the return of his $3.2 million plus an additional $6.6 million in damages.

According to court documents obtained by The Blast, the Gagosian Gallery claims in their response that Joel Silver did not have enough cash to complete the payments.

The gallery calls Silver a “sophisticated art collector” who agreed to pay $8 million for the Jeff Koons artwork. They claim the producer has refused to make the agreed-upon payments he owed for years, citing money and “liquidity problems.”

They say in the suit, “Mr. Silver now asks this Court for a declaration that he is entitled to breach his commitment to ‘forfeit all payments made in respect of the work,’ leaving the Gallery to bear the consequences of his money troubles.”

The gallery says the only party who breached the deal is Silver. Gagosian claims they have tried to work with Silver to modify the payment plan multiple times but he screwed them over each time by not making the payments.

They claim he told the gallery that he was having “liquidity problems” that made it difficult for him to comply with the agreed upon schedule.

Further, they say his lawsuit seeking a windfall of $9.6 million (the return of his $3.2 million plus $6.6 million in additional damages) for a contract that he admittedly breached is “misconceived” and in bad faith.

As part of their filing, the gallery includes an email chain between them and Joel Silver. A gallery rep wrote Silver stating, “If you are not willing to see that—because, as you’ve repeatedly told us, you need the money – then there’s not much more we can do to help you … But, respectfully, your liquidity problems do not alter your obligations under the Agreement.”

They are demanding his lawsuit be dismissed. A judge has yet to rule.