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Auction block: Merrill petitions court for Minor’s art

by Hawes Spencer
(434) 295-8700 x230
published 4:37pm Friday Mar 26, 2010
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news-halseyminor-dennishopperMinor could lose “Andy Warhol and Members of the Factory,” shown here, as well as “Sexes,” by former Virginia Beach skater punk Ryan McGinness.

Internet tycoon Halsey Minor, who recently rescued his Albemarle farm from foreclosure after a spate of financial setbacks, has now been asked by Bank of America to give up dozens of artworks and pieces of furniture to satisfy the $21.6 million judgment won by its subsidiary, Merrill Lynch, in October. The request was part of a series of documents filed March 23 in a New York federal court.

“I have been trying to pay Merrill off, and they have been resisting,” says Minor, who claims that Merrill chose Christie’s auction house to liquidate his modern art collection in a deliberate effort to wipe out some of his wealth.

“Merrill knows they will get their money,” says Minor, who is separately suing Merrill and Christie’s in California where he lives, “but they want to destroy as much of my money as they can in the process.”

Minor has petitioned the court to wrest the auction away from Christie’s, which pegs his trove as worth just $17 million or so, and toward the Phillips de Pury Company, which values the items over $22.5 million— and which has offered to pay Minor 108 percent of the sales price.

Minor’s court filings call Phillips the superior auction house because the firm specializes in contemporary works, issues the best catalogues, and plans to showcase his art in triple-height windows at a prominent corner on New York’s famed Park Avenue.

James Perkins, lawyer for Merrill, declined comment; but in a court document he blasts Minor’s March 6 push for the other auction house as an “eleventh hour” move and laments that Minor accompanied the move with “threatening” emails— emails that, Perkins contends, violate a court order issued against Minor last summer.

“I was asking them to please let me pay them back,” explains Minor. “They found that offensive.”

Perkins tried to get Minor declared in contempt of court, but judge Sidney H. Stein (who issued the harassment order last summer) declined.



  • Bonnie Tyler March 26th, 2010 | 4:49 pm

    Once upon a time he was living it up
    now his net worths’ falling apart
    there’s nothing he can do
    a total eclipse of the art

  • joe smith March 26th, 2010 | 5:56 pm

    Please fix the hotel
    Get er done as you say
    You can not walk the mall and not see it or hear it
    And for a wind chime it gives a flat tune



  • crozetite March 26th, 2010 | 6:00 pm


  • NancyDrew March 26th, 2010 | 6:38 pm

    This is news and our own local version of people magazine, believe me –people love this stuff. Who needs TV ?

  • Jeff D March 26th, 2010 | 10:05 pm

    Sell the Albemarle properties. There’s a need for the land here.

  • angel eyes March 27th, 2010 | 9:46 am

    deleted by moderator

  • NancyDrew March 27th, 2010 | 4:32 pm

    Does anyone have an update on what is happening with the skeletal hotel ?

  • mythatsoundssuspecious March 27th, 2010 | 5:13 pm

    deleted by moderator

  • Never March 27th, 2010 | 7:47 pm

    That hotel is never going to be built. Why does anybody still hold out hope for it?


  • JK March 27th, 2010 | 8:31 pm

    Let’s just hope we get the sidewalk and parking lane back beside the hotel and live arts. Soon would be nice.

    If we get that back I don’t care if it takes them 2x as long as the UVA Bodos to open!

  • Travel lite March 27th, 2010 | 9:18 pm

    If I owned it I would lease it to the gay person place then charge 25 bucks a head to get in.

    After of course we paint it with glow paint.

  • Busted March 27th, 2010 | 11:26 pm

    deleted by moderator

  • colfer March 28th, 2010 | 2:40 am

    The bank does not exist anymore, it’s you and me, in the form of the FDIC, who own that loan. And no, no boutique hotel is going to get financing anytime soon, and no person is going to sink $40m into it without a loan.

    As for CNet, it did not just drift into its billions, it made a lot of risky moves, buying up news.com, etc., and survived the dot com bust.

  • geepers March 28th, 2010 | 12:58 pm

    Funny how Merrill wants to destroy “his money”…they just want their money

  • nowwhat March 29th, 2010 | 11:14 am

    Merrill won’t let him pay back what he owes them? And they are only out to destroy him? Wow, Merrill is not very smart and he worked for them didn’t he? Now it all is perfectly clear how bad things are in this country. PLEASE MERRILL DON’T DESTROY HALSEY’S MONEY!!!!!

  • bunk March 30th, 2010 | 11:20 am

    What’s the deal with the hotel? Can the city at least tear down the structure after a certain amount of time?

  • marcus welby March 30th, 2010 | 6:28 pm

    The city can certainly move to call the half built erction blight…they can then move to condemn it and auction it off. Maybe hunter craig can buy it and donate it to the state for a tax write off. the state could move it to Bisquit run and set up a hi rise homeless shelter.

    we could then erect a statue to Mr Minor in its place…. with the merill lynch bull riding him….

  • Joe Cecil April 1st, 2010 | 3:06 pm

    Marcus comment was really funny. I have done some research on Mr. Minor and have concluded he is a very smart man except when it comes to money. Some people are good at making it and some people are better at blowing it, I know, I have always worked with wealthy people who never have enough and who always spend more than they make. His art collection could be donated and he could take a tax write-off since he claims he is making so much money these days. As for the hotel, Charlottesville had lousy hotel karma, remember the OMNI deal that cost the city millions?

  • Native April 1st, 2010 | 4:09 pm

    Oh, gosh, I thought it was the latest “Art(or not)in Place”!

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