Purchase Story

Legal Actions Mount against National Book Auctions

*Update: Ithaca.com reports David Hall has been arrested, and charged with second degree grand larceny


Denis Gouey, a consignor to National Book Auctions who filed suit in May against the Ithaca, New York, firm, was granted a default judgment on October 26, 2018.

The Torrington, Connecticut, bookbinder claimed in court papers that he was owed $11,673.50 from consignments to the auction house in 2017. He sued for breach of contract, conversion, accounting and trust, unjust enrichment, and more.

According to court filings, National Book Auctions failed to answer the lawsuit. In total, Gouey asked the court to award $11,673.50, plus interest at the rate of 9%, calculated from the date of entry of the judgment, attorney’s fees set at $1200, and court costs of $355.

Gouey’s suit was not the only one filed against National Book Auctions.

On October 15 Tingey H. Sewall, Scott Sawyer, and Crisse MacFadyen filed a lawsuit against Bid Club, Inc., d/b/a/ National Book Auctions. According to the complaint, the three Massachusetts residents consigned 32 boxes of books and a framed poster to National Book Auctions in February 2017. The suit claims that the sale was completed in July 2017, resulting in $10,865—none of which has been paid, they allege. Sewall is owed the most, $5890; Sawyer is owed $3220; and MacFadyen is owed $1755.

In May 2018 the Putnam Museum and Science Center of Davenport, Iowa, filed suit against David Hall, JLF Holdings, LLC, and Bid Club, Inc., all d/b/a National Book Auctions. The lawsuit states that on December 1, 2015, the museum retained National Book Auctions to sell museum inventory. There was a lot of it—16 pallets of materials including 4000 books, 250 rare books (dating from 1502 to the 1900s), 350 almanacs, 32 oversize art books, more than 500 periodicals and publications, 80 bound and loose newspapers, and 600 sound recordings. The consignment was sold in June 2016. According to the suit, on September 1, 2017, David Hall wrote to the museum’s attorney, stating, “We acknowledge that there is a balance due to your client in this matter, resultant of our sale of books and other items sent to us.”

On September 22, 2017, Hall mailed a $10,000 check as a first payment, noting, “Our proposal is to continue issuing payments at the rate of $10,000 every two weeks until the balance is paid in full in a few months.” The lawsuit alleges that no further payments were sent. The museum claims that it has been damaged in the amount of no less than $250,000 and is also asking the court for 9% interest.

M.A.D. has previously reported on a suit filed by the Grippi Revocable Trust against Hall, JLF Holdings, LLC, Bid Club Inc., and Worth Auctions. Attorneys for the Grippi Revocable Trust have filed a notice with the court that it plans to seek partial summary judgment in the sum of $233,800 in February 2019. An affidavit filed in the case by Bruce D. Drucker, successor trustee, states that “[Hall] has not remitted a single penny to the Trust nor has he provided the Trust with an accounting or statement of all The Trust’s personal property which he took from the Ithaca house and the Elmira storage facility.”

JLF Holdings, David Hall, and Bid Club, Inc., are also named as defendants in a suit filed by Tioga State Bank, alleging that JLF Holdings has not paid its mortgage payments from and after June 2, 2018. The mortgage was taken out in October 2015 in the amount of $268,000. The suit claims that $248,966.85 is due, as well as interest from June 2, 2018.

Originally published in the December 2018 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2018 Maine Antique Digest

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