Saturday, May 23, 2009

Annie Leibovitz is Broke. No Joke.

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The most popular yet overated photographer of our time, Annie Leibovitz, is in some serious financial hot water. She was forced to mortgage the rights to all her photographs last year in exchange for $15 million, and she's been the target of multiple creditor lawsuits for skipping out on her bills. Now a source tells Gawker that one of them is preparing to force her into bankruptcy. Their source got a hold of an involuntary bankruptcy petition drawn up by photo supplier B2Pro, which has sued Leibovitz and Vanity Fair publisher Condé Nast for unpaid bills. The document, known as a Form 5 claims that Leibovitz owes B2Pro $189,000 and is set to be filed in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan. If successful, it could put a bankruptcy judge in charge of all Leibowitz's assets—including her entire photographic archive. Earlier this year, it was revealed that Leibovitz had pawned the rights to every photograph she has ever or will ever take to Art Capital Group, along with her homes in Rhinebeck, N.Y., and Manhattan. If she pays back the $15 million, she keeps the photos and the houses. If she doesn't, Art Capital gets them. The New York Post reported in March that Leibovitz is in desperate need of cash because she was forced to buy a building next to her two Greenwich Village townhouses after renovations on her buildings undermined its foundation. (don't you just hate it when you're forced into buying an entire building?!?) Last year, the agency representing fashion stylist Nicoletta Santoro sued Leibovitz's studio claiming more than half a million dollars in unpaid bills, including $110,000 for a Disney ad featuring Jennifer Lopez and Marc Antony. And B2Pro, which rented lighting equipment to Leibovitz for shoots in 2006 and 2007, is suing her for $227,000 in unpaid bills. If B2Pro follows through with filing the petition, and if it is successful, a bankruptcy judge would survey Leibovitz's assets and decide which of them to sell off to satisfy her creditors, including B2Pro and Santorom. It's unclear if Leibovitz is up to date on her payments to Art Capital Group, but since they are undoubtedly a creditor, it's likely that Leibovitz's debt to them, and her arrangement with them, would come before the judge. Which means that her ownership over her photographic legacy could be resolved once and for all, and soon, in court.B2Pro's attorney did not immediately return a call. Reached by phone, Leibovitz's attorney said, "I can't comment. I can't confirm anything."
Listen, if you make millions in a year, there is no excuse for having to file bankruptcy other than you are a complete moron. Plenty of people get along in the world on $20,000 a year, so pardon me if I have no pity for a rich, pompous, egotistical asshole that doesn't know how to manage their millions. Particularly if ou are an artist you should never, ever, ever barter your own work for cash. Your work should be like your babies and mean far more to you than a second house in the Hamptons or any other superficial things.
Ellen Von Unwerth would never let this happen.

5 comments:

Madam Miaow said...

Holy crap! That's awful. How on earth do you get into this much trouble when you are one of the highest paid artists in your field?

I'm useless with dosh but Annie is in a class of her own. I do feel sorry for her, though.

sandra said...

I just can't believe that this is possible! love her art

Anonymous said...

I challenge Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to spend those obscene reserves held by their 'Jolie-Pitt' Foundation on legitimate efficient 'humanitarian' work or turn the funds over to others who will. To date, they have taken in $22,000,000 on the sale of baby photos alone, another 6 or 7 figures from other sources, and spent or granted only a fraction of that on 'humanitarian' work or 'good will' of any kind. The rest so far, has been spent on PR campaigns, plane rides, and super-high end accomodations for Brad and Angie in exotic locations around the world. I challenge them to meet the criteria of a legitimate charity, operate with a reasonable overhead, open their books to prove it, and get their 'foundation' worthy of a decent rating by ANY independent watchdog like Charitywatch.org. Otherwise, to stop selling baby photos for 'charity' and stop seeking publicity for donations made in their own name to their own foundation/travel/PR firm shortly before or after the premier of their latest film or DVD release. I challenge Brad Pitt to do the same with his 'Make it right' Foundation. Which to date, has not met the criteria of a legitimate charity or been given a decent rating by ANY independent charity watchdog. Otherwise, to stop competing with 'Habitat for Humanity' for PR, credit, kudos, and funding. Who by the way have been building homes for the less fortunate in every major city including New Orleans for decades. 'Habitat for Humanity' has been 'Top Rated' for years by charitywatch.org and others. They operate with a low overhead, volunteer workforce, and donated materials. No similar effort can match their progress hour for hour or dollar for dollar. They don't even come close. Unlike 'Make it right', the homes built by 'Habitat' don't just sit there vacant. They don't exclude by cost, lower income families. They are allocated and built specifically for the less fortunate who take part in the building process and move in immediately upon completion. 'Habitat' works in every major city including New Orleans. It puts 'Make it right' to shame. In fact, hundreds of legitimate charities have been given good-excellent ratings by Charitywatch.org and other independent watchdog groups. By contrast, the vast, overwhelming majority of celebrity 'foundations' have been rated poorly, fair, or not rated at all. They are inneficient, corrupt, focus heavily on PR, and operate with shady, self-serving, misleading accounting practices. They usually don't even meet the criteria of a legitimate charity. Still, they have the nerve to self-audit, self-praise, mislead the donor/fan base, seek funding from a number of sources including ordinary people, compete with legitimate charities, and cash in on maximum PR worldwide for their inefficient 'humanitarian' efforts. Its not right.

Keith said...

Not sure how I feel about this.

Atlanta Cougar said...

I am really saddened to hear this.

 
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