UPDATE – Sep. 18, 2017
An Angry Judge CW Kilian – On Aug. 5, 2015 an angry Judge CW Kilian, assessed art and cyber terrorist Ritchie Sinclair penalties totaling $28,750 for Libeling and Slandering a decent and reputable Morrisseau fine art dealer, James White, and accusing him of selling Morrisseau fakes.
NOTE: Ritchie Sinclair has, since 2008, been Kinsman Robinson Galleries’ Fraud Enforcer and Intimidator. He has also been, since late 2008, the longtime partner of lawyer Jonathan J Sommer in advancing their Morrisseau “fakes” business. On Dec. 18, 2010, Sinclair was arrested and charged by Toronto Police for multiple incidents of Criminal Harassment of Canada’s top and senior Morrisseau art expert, 82 year old Joseph McLeod, owner of Maslak McLeod Gallery. McLeod had refused to represent Sinclair as a gallery artist, and had sold Kevin Hearn Morrisseau’s “Spirit Energy of Mother Earth.”
Underlining the point, in his written judgment, an angry Toronto Deputy Judge CW Kilian, barked, when he fined Sinclair the maximum of $25,000 for Libel and Slander, and wrote he wished he could punish him with $10,000 more, because:
“… he (Sinclair) presented no evidence of any experts to substantiate his assertion. The fact that he had worked with Norval Morrisseau does not automatically make him an expert and his testimony clearly showed he is not…
“His (Sinclair’s) comments were made recklessly with total disregard for the truth or their consequences… I am satisfied that the drastic drop in the Plaintiff’s business was in large part due to the Defendant’s website… Because of his (Sinclair’s) reckless false allegations disseminated on a world-wide media…”
– Judgment, Deputy Judge CW Kilian, Toronto, Aug. 5, 2015
NOTE: Brian Shiller, was again the winning counsel against the Morrisseau fraudsters, this time out, representing the successful Plaintiff, James White.
For two years after, Sinclair, well-known as a starving artist, forced to bunk in with “My Roommate” Garth Cole, to make ends meet, tried to delay paying. (In the courtroom foyer I overheard him trying to make a deal – any deal – with James White, who refused.)
Sinclair I believe, offered some of his own notorious “Faux-nishinaabe” paintings as payment. Exactly the same kind of his own paintings that sold at Randy Potter’s Auction for $30 and $50, in 2004, to home handymen looking for cheap material to cover holes in their furnace room or garage.
And the same kind of his own paintings Sinclair passed off as “Morrisseaus,” to pay his first lawyer Zak Muscovitch. Zak’s wife – as Joe McLeod told it – eagerly rushed off to sell them to Joe’s Maslak McLeod Gallery.
What Ms. Muscovitch said is not printable, when Joe sternly told her the unspeakable truth: they were NOT Morrisseaus at all, but fake Sinclair “Faux-nishinaabe” art – the word he used was “ersatz” – made by a white Indian impostor/impersonator who had obviously lied to the Muscovitches. Zak stopped working for Sinclair shortly after that.
The White v Sinclair Judgment had started off, in December 2008, as a multi-dealer lawsuit against Sinclair, and his racist and defamatory website, targeting 1,000 Morrisseau paintings of theirs, which he had never seen, as “fakes.” But the legal costs were so high, for very little done, that the partners began to drop out, except James White, who stubbornly, bravely, and nobly, carried on, finally bringing his extension of the multi-dealer lawsuit of 2008 against Sinclair, to a successful conclusion in 2015.
Canadians owe him a debt of gratitude for battling against lowlife art fraudsters for the sake of Canada’s Indigenous art and artists. When no one else seemed to give a damn.
The law firm, Symes & Street, was also panicking, wondering how, if it continued, it would ever get paid let alone even recover costs. So its researchers did a means test investigation of Ritchie Sinclair, only to discover that he owned nothing, and possessed less. Beyond a big and vile mouth. And that the firm had no way to recoup their expenses, let alone any penalty, even if it won the case, against the starving artist, who had ignobly started off his career as a contract lover for Norval Morrisseau in 1979.
Symes & Street, apparently was not keen to be paid off in Faux-nishinaabe art, Sinclair’s Davy Crockett costumes, or his Faux-nishinaabe decorative jewelry. So it quit the case.
In early 2017, because of Sinclair’s – almost two year – delay in refusing to pay, the court ordered him to divulge all his earnings and income, and from whom it all came. Rather than face disclosure on all that Sinclair magically came up with a bank draft for $28,750.
Leaving everyone’s jaw dropping, and wondering WHO THE HELL PAID?
The Conning of Kevin Hearn – One clear candidate, with seemingly bottomless pockets, to pay for advancing and promoting the fraud of Morrisseau “fakes,” has got to be Kevin Hearn, the celebrity ivory tickler for the Barenaked Ladies.
Disclosure: I had a brief – and very friendly – chat with Kevin in the courtroom foyer where he had clearly positioned himself so he could engage me as I left the courtroom (on Aug. 14, 2017). He told me he read my blog. (The Blog, totally devoted only to exposing the Morrisseau fakes HOAX, has been published since January 2013.)
Sorry Kevin! But… – Though I have been aggressively harsh, with what Kevin is involving himself in, he did not rage against me or denounce me; he mildly and most courteously, passed it off as that I had one “opinion,” and he had another… And that he was still trying to sort his out…
Inexplicably, overlooking that my blog was NOT AT ALL, an “opinion” blog by a social gusher, but on a SINGLE ISSUE of public interest and national importance. That the author is a longtime top Canadian visual artist (a CSC), a credentialed historian (since 1966), and co-writer, director, editor and producer (since 1979) of scores of award-winning, commissioned film and television productions (over 130 international awards), for Canada’s leading broadcasters, all based on solid documentary evidence.
And that I was now marshaling a damning assembly of documents, and countless quotes from court transcripts, judicial judgments, forensic reports, NONE OF WHICH WHERE MY “OPINION,” BUT A RESTATEMENT OF THE VIEWS OF MANY INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONALS WHOM I DID NOT KNOW, DID NOT CONTRACT, OR DID NOT PAY.
Ouch!!! A Journalist is Censored – Kevin did have one clear criticism of me. He mildly chastised me – with an open smile – for putting a crow in his mouth… saying “That was not nice!” But, I remonstrated, that he had published the picture with leaves in his own mouth. To which he affably replied, “But I like leaves.”
So does Kevin not know what my editorial cartooning of his image meant? That UNLESS HE DROPS HIS MERETRICIOUS CASE IMMEDIATELY – WHILE HE STILL CAN, WITH HIS REPUTATION RELATIVELY INTACT – HE WILL BE “EATING CROW” FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE.
And go down in Canadian art history as another celebrity neophyte art collector, with more money than brains, who were witlessly sucker-punched by fraudsters that infest the art world:
– Taylor Thomson who wasted $2 million pounds on two fake urns at Christie’s
– David Mirvish who wasted $12 million dollars on three fake Jackson Bollocks paintings
– Steve Martin – he makes me laugh – who wasted $800,000 on a Campendonk fake
– Margaret Hatfield wasted some $60,000 trying to prove a genuine Morrisseau was fake
– John McDermott wasted some $10,000 trying to prove genuine Morrisseaus were fake
– Kevin Hearn – wasted some $200,000, trying to prove his Morrisseau masterpiece is fake
“… what the art world is like: scheming, manipulative, and, quite often, downright fraudulent.” (Jack Pollock, Norval Morrisseau’s longest (1962-1981) & most successful (12 shows) dealer, Dear M, 1989, p182)
As Toronto lawyer, and international fake art sleuth Bonnie Czegledi said:
“Over a period of a few years, I discovered that the business of art is one of the most corrupt, dirtiest industries on the planet. There are no regulations… It’s not pretty. The patina of loveliness that most people associate with art didn’t exist in the reality that I found. It was filled with criminals – and a lot of different kinds.”
(Bonnie Czegledi, quoted, Hot Art, Knelman, p25)
Hearn is the guilty culprit, and activist agent, who has wasted scores of thousands of dollars pursuing a fraudulent claim, foolishly trying to prove a genuine Morrisseau a FAKE, just because that was his buddy Sinclair’s “opinion” fueled by his visceral hatred of Joe McLeod – who had refused to represent Sinclair’s Faux-nishinaabe art in his gallery – and who sold “Spirit Energy of Mother Earth” to Hearn.
And seconded by Sinclair’s longtime business associate, lawyer Jonathan J Sommer, who has made a very good income from representing Kevin’s wild goose chase, on a case that should NEVER have been brought. (SEE below how Jonathan J Sommer bills for his services.)
And this case, will – I guarantee it – come to an ignominious end – like Sommer’s other Morrisseau “fakes” related cases – not only for Hearn, but once again for Jonathan Sommer, Ritchie Sinclair, Donald Robinson, and their newest recruit to back the fraud, the University of Regina’s academically malfeasant Professor Carmen Robertson Ph.D.
All that Kevin Hearn achieved – thanks to his long, lingering, and thoughtless lawsuit – is hugely damaging the art of Norval Morrisseau and the art and artists of Canada’s Indigenous people. And that is how he will be remembered in Canadian History for the Ages…
Kevin also claimed – totally falsely of course – that he was not alone, that there were other lawyers out there, pursuing “fake Morrisseaus” like his lawyer Jonathan J Sommer. NOT SO KEVIN. Sommer is the only one OUT OF 90,000 in Canada, doing so.
(And he has to do it from the business office out of which he works, located in Sutton, Quebec. Presumably because no one could find a single lawyer, out of the more than 25,000 lawyers in the Toronto region, willing to take on a case for which there is NO evidence, and plenty that says the claim is fraudulent.)
Can you guess why Kevin? Because the evidence is incontrovertible: there are no Morrisseau “fakes” of the kind you claim are out there? And that every one they claim is “fake” has turned out to be totally authentic.
AND YOURS IS NOT A “FAKE” EITHER. YOU OWN A MORRISSEAU MASTERPIECE, NOT A FAKE.
Unfortunately your slanging “Spirit Energy of Mother Earth,” as fake, for the past five years, has been the single biggest source of damage to your own work of art. Your claim demands $25,000 for loss of investment, when in fact, it is you, yourself, using your celebrity status, that bear the blame – more than anything else – for devaluing your painting and those of everyone else.
Documents I’ve got copies of, show Sinclair got Hearn to play along with dumping and discrediting, what I have believed for years, is a genuine Morrisseau painting, “Spirit Energy of Mother Earth,” from an Art Gallery of Ontario exhibition in 2010.
(To their eternal discredit, and a blot for the Ages on their professional bios, curatorially malfeasant Director Matthew Teitelbaum and Curator Gerald McMaster, both mindlessly enabled and approved the dismounting, the discrediting, and the devaluation of the genuine Morrisseau painting. If they were responsible curators, before mindlessly and precipitously dismounting, discrediting, and devaluing the painting they should have, immediately demanded a forensic expert, like Dr. Atul K Singla, in Toronto, and handwriting analyst, like Ken Davies in Calgary, examine the signature and make an evaluation: is the signature fake or is it real?
As every Dateline NBC and 48 Hours devotee knows, before you send someone to the gallows, every responsible prosecutor will check and test the “murder weapon” for Blood, Fingerprints, or DNA. Or, on a Morrisseau painting, test the BDP Signature. To their eternal detriment, neither Teitelbaum nor McMaster did that, just malfeasantly choosing to trash – dismount, discredit, and devalue – a Great Canadian Heritage Treasure, something they would NEVER dare do with a white artist’s work.) SHAME ON YOU BOTH.
Sinclair had seen an opportunity to slang and defame Joe McLeod, an art dealer he had a vendetta against, since Joe refused to represent his Faux-nishinaabe art in his Maslak McLeod Gallery, and further undermined the Faux-nishinaabe artist sporting his fake Indigenous art, with neighbouring galleries, by telling them Sinclair was a lily-white man, NOT the “Indigenous native” artist he claimed to be.
To me it is inexplicably naive for Hearn to be in such a cozy relationship with a documented racist white man, whose vicious, and malicious website, has done Great Irreparable Harm to the art and artists of Canada’s Indigenous people. And the fact that the Barenaked Ladies have allowed Hearn to undermine the Indigenous fine art industry this way, tells you a lot about their politics and views of Indigenous people, that you did not want to know.
I for one, will boycott their concerts.
In other documents I have, Hearn has complained about the huge amount of money he’s had to lay out to advance his claim – better make that totally ridiculous, and unsubstantiated claim.
Do you believe Kevin Hearn came up with $28,750 for his buddy Ritchie Sinclair?
Their private emails does show a celebrity musician in a chummy relationship with the worst art and cyber terrorist in Canadian history. Perhaps to Hearn the judgment by the judge had no real weight; it was just another “opinion.”
Sommer to the Rescue? – One other possible candidate – or contributor, to the Save Poor Ritchie Fund – that must certainly be considered, is Quebec-based lawyer Jonathan J Sommer, whom Ritchie recruited when Muscovitch left him.
Sinclair provided Sommer with gullible and witless clients – like Margaret Hatfield, and Kevin Hearn. Sinclair’s modus operandi is to convince a neophyte art collector that their Morrisseau painting is a “fake,” and they should sue – on their own dime – the gallery owner – who happens to be a dealer who had turned Sinclair down as a gallery artist. And that they should hire Jonathan J Sommer, a longtime buddy of Sinclair’s, from Sutton, Quebec,
Sinclair, a school dropout, was also, very visibly, Sommer’s legal advisor inside and outside court. And together their names showed up in tandem in mainstream media articles, promoting the “forgeries” allegations, or flogging Sommer’s Morrisseau related lawsuits in the press, on CTV, at the SAW Gallery, and of course, always on Sinclair’s infamous website.
A Justice Cuts the Sommer Billings by 52% – Meanwhile the Hearn case took a sudden twist, interestingly exposing more money-related matters, which I discovered while attending court, on Aug. 14, 2017, when Sommer had filed a Motion to switch the status of Joe McLeod from living to deceased. And had to defend his billings for preparing the Motion, before the quizzical gaze of Justice, the Hon. Grant R Dow.
A stern Justice Dow spent a considerable amount of time chiding Sommer over what he called his “excessive” billing and doing his revised calculations. He cut Sommer’s bill from $4722, which he referred to as “In my view, this is excessive, with regard to the level of the costs being sought…” and archly reduced it to $2260.
At one fell swoop Justice Dow cut Sommer’s billing to less than half of what Sommer demanded. Chopping Sommer’s bill by a whopping 52%.
Sommer had already raised eyebrows in legal circles when he sought to recover costs of some $40,000 in a Small Claims Court action where a maximum of only $3,750 is allowed.
Now he was at it again. And remember, this is a lawyer complaining that another lawyer is over-billing!!!
The “Pro Bono” Lawyer Exposed – Again!!! – Two public peeps into the billing practices of a lawyer, Jonathan J Sommer, who bragged loudly in a recent Windspeaker.com press interview (May 7, 2017) that he was routinely doing a lot of his legal work on the Morrisseau file “pro bono.”
We have yet to see any sign of it…
And whenever evidence does crop up, it is that he is hugely over-billing his hapless clients.
So much so that even other lawyers (and judges) complain:
– as Judge Martial archly noted in his judgment on Mar. 25, 2013
– as Brian Shiller brought to the attention of Justice Sanderson on Dec. 6, 2013
– as Brian Shiller again noted in pre-trial documents, questioning why Kevin Hearn might end up spending some $200,000 on legal costs – none of which, I am certain, he’ll never, ever see again – and how could this be warranted for a painting worth only $20,000?
– and for which Justice Dow chided Sommer on Aug. 14, 2017.
“My Mentor, Don Robinson” – But another obvious possible contributor, to the Save Poor Ritchie Fund, must be Paul and Don Robinson – whom Sinclair referred to as “My Mentor” – of the Kinsman Robinson Galleries for whom Sinclair went to work in the fall of 2008, as its Fraud Enforcer and Intimidator of all KRG business competitors, or bloggers who were exposing KRG’s fraudulent activities regarding Morrisseau paintings.
In fact Sinclair was so aggressive and diligent, and obviously eminently suited for the task, that the Toronto police, after its warnings to Cease and Desist were ignored, arrested him for multiple acts of Criminal Harassment of the 82 year old Joe McLeod (Dec. 18, 2010).
Sinclair has also – ALL in courtroom foyers, at different locations and times – lunged at me, slapped documents out of my wife’s hand, had his roommate Garth Cole, throw heavy document folders at one of my witnesses, and at my wife’s back while he shouted, “Take that you fucking bitch.” While Sinclair photographed the resulting tumult in a Brampton courtroom foyer. I had an armed security officer force Sinclair to erase the illegal images.
Sinclair’s penchant for illegal photography in Toronto courtroom foyers was acidly noted by the Hon. Justice Alphonse T Lacavera in a judgment (May 2013) where he called Sinclair a liar, in judgespeak, saying everything Sinclair says under oath on the stand, is discredited and totally belied by his own actions…
“A Fucking Asshole” Exposed & Discredited – Justice Lacavera noted that Sinclair’s then lawyer, Zak Muscovitch, was no more credible on that score, claiming he feared for his safety after Joe Otavnik called him “a fucking asshole.”
Noted Justice Lacavera, being called “a fucking asshole” did NOT deter Muscovitch from attending a trial he had NO business going to, and where he was sure to encounter Otavnik, a man he claimed to fear…