CNN host Michael Smerconish has sued an art gallery, accusing the gallery and its owner of selling him a fake signature of Winston Churchill.
Courthouse News Service reports Smerconish is a fan of the former British prime minister, and owns a watercolor painted by Churchill. In 2000, Smerconish paid $5,000 to Arader Galleries for a photo of Churchill with the inscription, “Yours Sincerely, Winston S. Churchill, 1942.”
All was well until earlier this year, when the signature on the photo (purported to have been taken by famed photographer Yousuf Karsh) began to fade:
Smerconish stated that he consulted the world’s leading authority on Karch’s photography, who told him that the print was reproduced from a book that was published in 1980.
Churchill died in 1965.
Philadelphia Magazine reports the gallery owner claims the sale never happened:
“We have no record of the sale,” insists gallery owner Walter Graham Arader III. “Whatever he says, it’s ridiculous. I have never heard of the guy before. It sounds like he’s just, what’s it called? He’s extorting me? Is that the right word? I don’t know him. I never heard of him. I have no recollection of the sale or having that piece of inventory.”