Thomas Kinkade calls himself the “Painter of Light,” and allegedly uses his “faith” to lure in investors to his gallery business. Now two former gallery owners have won a judgment from Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that forces Kinkade to abide by a 2007 arbitration decision that awarded the former owners $860,000 in damages and more than $1.2 million in attorneys’ fees and arbitration expenses. Ouchy.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
In its February 2006 decision, the arbitration panel said Kinkade and other company officials used terms like “partner,” “trust,” “Christian” and “God” to create “a certain religious environment designed to instill a special relationship of trust” with the couple.
What the company didn’t tell them, said their attorney, was that they would have to sell Kinkade’s works at minimum retail prices while the artist undercut them with discount sales, some of which he made himself on cable television.
It was part of a plan, they claimed, to lower the value of the publicly traded company before Kinkade bought it in 2004, at steep losses to many investors. Hazlewood and Spinello put their $122,000 savings into galleries in Charlottesville and Fredericksburg, Va., that opened in 1999 and 2000 and closed in 2003.
Kinkade’s company denies everything. “We are confident that before this is over, we’ll be vindicated,” said a lawyer for the firm.