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consignment, trusts, and criminality

updated fri 11 dec 98


John Rodgers on thu 10 dec 98

-- [ From: John Rodgers * EMC.Ver #2.5.02 ] --

I am not a lawyer, and this is a bit of speculation on my part but is based
on the reading that I have been doing about law in various states.

In at least some states, there are consignment laws that make it incumbent
upon a business person placing consignment goods in the hands of a consignee
to be sure a consignment contract is obtained. To FAIL to do so is to break
the law.

Once a consignment contract is in place, the consignee becomes a trustee, ie
, holding goods or money for goods in trust for the consignor. If the
trustee fails to perform as such, and to deliver the goods or money held in
trust, then a violation of criminal law has occured, and the trustee is
subject to prosecution for a financial crime, punishable by fine,
imprisonment or both.

Consignment is serious business, and galleries and such should be aware of
their responsibilities to the consignor.

The consignor, however, must be sure he protects himself by taking the
steps necessary to hold the consignee, ie, gallery, gift shopr, etc.,
accountable under the law. If the consignor does not do that then he has
absolutely no gripe coming, when his customer disappears with his pots.

Where relations between galleries, etc, and artists are concerned, the world
is paved with good intentions. But that leaves the door wide for problems to

Jus tmore of my thoughts on the matter.

John Rodgers
In Birmingham, AL