Tuesday, April 24, 2012


 Please go ahead and sue me ...

by Dorothy King

I know, I know. People keep sending me "legal letters" and when no-one ever follows up on my replies I complain about that, and then I complain when a lawyer keeps replying even after I have asked then not to but to go through my legal representative ...

This became an issue again yesterday. I received "Confidential" emails from two separate Numismatic groups based in the US - and I mentioned this to Paul Barford, since we were both interested in what actions the two groups were taking over Morris Khouli's membership of these groups. As far as I am aware, this is the only involvement Paul Barford, an archaeologist I sometimes disagree with but respect, had with the matter. He and I exchanged emails, I declined to forward confidential emails, and he read my blog.

For the record, although Barford has sometimes taunted me on his blog, and I have sometimes taunted him, he has always been straight with me, he has not posted confidences on his blog, and I trust him. I would describe out relationship as good, and although we do not always agree, we can discuss issues like two civilised adults. I paraphrased an accusation that he was a "loony" to highlight that his arguments were rational, and those of the ACCG were not here - I do not believe he is a loony, although in the past I have been upset by some of his posts, I am also secure enough not to worry about them and see them as a mix of humour and making good points. Sometimes he goes over the top, sometimes he's angry - but anger need not be a negative word, since there are times one is justified in being angry.

I then received more emails from a second man, also claiming to be a lawyer, and also claiming to be linked to the ACCG - one of the two groups not named above.

I will admit that I might not be fully informed of "new" developments. This is because from the point I formally asked Peter Tompa, a lawyer who also sits on the Board of the ACCG, but who subsequently said he was not writing on behalf of the ACCG, to wait for my lawyer to contact him and that I wished to have no further direct communication with the ACCG until then etc - I did what I said I would do, and deleted all the emails from the ACCG Board Members unread, and did not read their many blog posts clarifying the situation to all and sundry.

I should also clarify that I like good attorneys, many of my family are attorneys and have good ratings, and I find it easier to deal with people who understand the law and legal arguments. I do not know who the lawyers are for Phoenix Ancient Art, but the US attorneys for Sotheby's and Christie's are excellent. Given the choice between dealing with a dealer or their attorney, I will always pick the attorney.

I have been led to believe, third hand and this is hearsay, that the ACCG is claiming I made a mistake in judgement, and that this mess was caused by Arthur Brand, a man linked sometimes to Michel van Rijn - see the email above.

I would like to clarify that: a) either Peter Tompa knew on his own that Arthur Brand was emailing me, which he claims he did not, or b) Peter Tompa broke the legally binding confidentiality of an email I sent him with a typo saying "Arthur Brand" had also emailed me.

In fact the other email I received was from a man claiming to be Arthur Brandt, and I am dyslexic, the name did not come up in spell-check and I assume full responsibility for the typo. (Another example of a typo of mine was writing in Elgin Marbles that an army had passed under a yolk rather than a yoke - Peter Jones wrote almost an entire review of the book pointing this out, and I am pretty sure no-one seriously thought I was claiming an army passed under part of an chicken egg).

I would appreciate it if Peter Tompa understood the concept of legal confidentiality and also took responsibility for breaking the basic legal concept of going through an attorney when this was requested.

Some "confidential" emails I received were from Peter Tompa, and I replied "Without Prejudice" - this is a very simple legal term used very commonly in the UK, and I was under the impression also in the US. Call me old-fashioned, but post "confidential" emails on the internet.

If Mr Tompa feels that none of our emails over the years were covered by confidentiality, whether legal or moral, I will be happy to start posting comments from ACCG and CPRI members explaining why they are happy to break various laws. I am guessing that if I did do so I would receive a sharp reprimand from an attorney who was clear about confidentiality laws.

I find it difficult to follow the constantly changing narrative of the ACCG, and their explanations.

I did not receive any emails from Arthur Brand, not from the email address xxx@xxx.com on the email the Dutch journalist Arthur Brand uses in regards to the ACCG. I do not have any issues with the letter I received from Arthur Brandt, who was perfectly correct in my humble opinion.

I have huge issues with Peter Tompa, who is a lawyer according to the Bar Association, and who sits on the Board of the ACCG whether he was writing to me on their behalf or not, behaving in the way he did. In retrospect, his behaviour and that of other people listed on the ACCG web site as Board Members, is not surprising since this is how they have behaved for years.

I understand they have shifted into "management" mode, but the way they are doing this is unacceptable under US law. I am still not clear what they are upset about, or what their legal claim is, and I cannot be bothered to waste any more time on them.

I object to the way ACCG Board Members are defaming Paul Barford by claiming he caused this issue - he did not, Peter Tompa did. Michel van Rijn is also, to the best of my knowledge, not to blame for my wishing to have anything further to do with the ACCG.

I do not want anything more to do with the ACCG because I find it impossible to deal with their shifting arguments, and I do not trust people who cannot respect basic US laws.

Update - I removed Arthur Brand's email address because he asked me to, he is as much a victim in this and I had only listed it to make the point. As he pointed out, whoever the original emails from, he did not send them, he was only cc.ed on them. He is also not the man who emailed me yesterday, as I have gone out of my way to be clear, and I had my first contact with him today. 

This whole affair mystifies me.

I haven't gone into details of the "Arthur Brand" email and will not, since I know Arthur Brand from observation and extensive past correspondence to be an agent provocateur of the most virulent sort, so much so that he has often been [inaccurately] alleged to be an alias for Michel van Rijn.

Brand can be seen as one of the anticollecting zealot narrators in "Blood Antiquities," a savage, utterly unfair and extremely misleading attack on the international antiquities trade:

It seems to me that Dorothy King has her moral standards and judgement very badly scrambled if she believes that Arthur Brand, Paul Barford and Michel van Rijn should be regarded as having equal standing as to moral probity and credibility with Wayne Sayles, Peter Tompa and other ACCG Board members -- myself for instance.
These three cultural property mischief-makers have been banned from every online forum of any significance except one: Unidroit-L of which I am listowner.

> "I do not want anything more to do with the ACCG because I find it impossible to deal with their shifting arguments, and I do not trust people who cannot respect basic US laws."
 Dorothy, has it ever occurred to you that your "dyslexia" may involve an inability to correctly read things other than alphabetic characters?  Situations and personalities, for instance?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

 Casting Stones

Small Businessman Pleads Guilty to False Statements; Government Ignores Allegations of Misrepresentations to Congress

by Peter Tompa

Morris Khouli, a New York antiquities and coin dealer, has plead guilty to smuggling and false statements to federal law enforcement. See http://www.justice.gov/usao/nye/pr/2012/2012apr18c.html.

Hopefully, the Court will not sentence Mr. Khouli to anywhere near the 20 year maximum for the offenses. Any such penalty would be very harsh for the conduct alleged in the indictment.

One must also question a system where a small businessman can potentially be sentenced to 20 years for falsifying import documents, but which ignores credible allegations that State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Employees misled Congress in an official report about CPAC's true recommendations concerning the controversial 2007 decision to impose import restrictions on coins.

And even worse, it is likely that some of the same employees who pressed for the prosecution of Mr. Khouli, also had something to do with any false declarations to Congress.


Mr. Khoulik has sinned, and now  heritage preservation zealots are lining up to cast stones upon him. Let us remember what Jesus Christ said regarding stoning sinners: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

As Peter Tompa notes, many of those preparing to cast stones have grave misdeeds upon their own consciences which if they were capable of objective moral reasoning, would deter them from vengefully casting their missiles of hate.

There is however one type of person who is never deterred or influenced by conscience: the ideological zealot, to whom the end always justifies the means and in whose mind a "noble" cause such as heritage preservation is infinitely more important than the crass commercial interests of this New York antiquities and coin dealer whom now they seek to imprison for twenty years.

In their eyes, a merciless example must be made in this case to deter other crass commercial interests from even considering to evade the import restrictions these zealots have imposed, in their quest to strangle private collecting of antiquities by bureaucratic fiat.

I agree that a merciless example must be made in this case. The subject(s) however should not be Mr. Knoulik but the staff of the State Department's Cultural Heritage Center led by "Stealth Fighter" Maria Kouroupas who, in her obsessive campaign to destroy the antiquities trade has broken and bent many  more laws than Al Capone ever did.

The Cultural Heritage Center should immediately be abolished, and the President should himself decide the disposition of all requests for import restrictions until the flaws in the 1983 CCPIA which have so unscrupulously been exploited by Kouroupas and her gang have been rectified.

Do you think President Obama will now do what so obviously needs to be done here? If he does not, then it's time for the voters to make a change.