Stealing From Inside the Museum - Egyptian Artifacts Theft in Long Island Proves the Point

Saturday, October 23, 2010
Loss prevention at a museum starts by examining internal practices. When pieces are missing from a museum, the first place to look for a suspect is inside. Fortunately, a museum's risk can be reduced by performing thorough background checks on prospective employees and by creating moderate institutional oversight practices.

While the vast majority of museum employees are honest and trustworthy, there are many unfortunate instances where missing objects turn up in the hands of museum workers. Last week the New York Post reported that a federal court sentenced the director of the Long Island University Hillwood Museum to a year and a day in prison plus a $5000 fine for stealing Egyptian artifacts from his own museum. Barry Stern admitted to exacting revenge on his employer when his contract as museum director was not renewed. He worked 22 years for the university.

The Post describes how Stern stole the artifacts from the museum, brought them to Christie's for auction, and claimed they came from the Barry Stern collection. Records of the objects' existence at the Hillwood Museum were wiped out. The pieces earned Stern $51,500.

(As a side note, one wonders how the auction house failed to conduct enough due diligence regarding the provenance of the objects, particularly where the pieces presumably had accession numbers associated with the objects.)

The International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection helps cultural institutions minimize the risk of theft. Any of our colleagues can assist museums with internal loss prevention. www.ifcpp.org


Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/li_museum_director_sentenced_for_m8ewK4q1OIOWlINeCC4BRN#ixzz13BvQpl1L

How Much Will Free Cost You?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I looked at the Medical Mutual form again. Yes, I was a bit flustered by the beautiful woman with the deep dark eyes sitting there, next to me, in my office. But thirty-two years of experience kicked in and I continued to study the form. The numbers did not make sense. It took a call to the insurance company to solve the mystery.

I understood the answer immediately. Natasha’s health insurance policy renews November 1st. One premium, $510.96, is for her current “grandfathered” policy covering her and her college student son. The non-grandfathered version of the same policy is $547.75, a difference of $36.79 per month.

Welcome to the next phase of the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. New provisions became effective on September 23rd. Like day following night, new prices became effective on September 24th.

In my post, Addicted to Other People’s Money, I wondered how much the new free basic preventive care services would cost us. We now have the initial price tag.

First, let’s detail what changed on September 23, 2010. The two key elements are Essential Benefits and Preventive Care. The definitions, below, come courtesy of Medical Mutual of Ohio. The email quoted in my July 20th post from Mrs. Obama bragged of even more comprehensive (expensive) benefits.

Essential Benefits: The law requires plans to remove lifetime limits on what the government defines as “essential” benefits. The law will also prohibit annual dollar limits, but not until 2014, which allows insurers to phase lifetime limits out by implementing annual dollar limits that will be incrementally increased each year until 2014. Essential benefits include: ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder services (including behavioral health treatment), prescription drugs, rehabilitative services and devices, laboratory services, preventive and wellness services, chronic disease management and pediatric services (including oral, vision and hearing examinations).

Preventive Health Services: Plans may not impose any cost-sharing requirements (e.g., copay, coinsurance or deductible) on preventive health services, as defined by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, when administered by a network provider.

Quick summary:
Essential Benefits become limitless.
Preventive Care Services become free.


Natasha (all names changed) and her son would be forced to pay $431 more over the next year for this. Another client, Paul, had a much more expensive experience. His new Anthem policy was effective September 20th. The premium for Paul, his wife, and two children for a high deductible contract is $402.55 per month. Since he had already paid his September and October premiums for his old policy, he wanted to re-date the new policy to November 1st. The premium for the exact same policy, enhanced with the new Free benefits, would be $480.77, an increase of $78.22. Are these new provisions worth almost $1,000? Not to Paul. And probably not to you.

So here we are, less than a year into the new law, and we are already seeing the impact of the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It is harder, not easier, to insure Americans. Insurance is more expensive, not less. And the words Cost Containment are still missing from the President’s vernacular.

The September 23rd changes are just becoming effective. More mandated changes are due for January 1st. And the rules are still being written, on the fly, as we reinvent the delivery of healthcare. I’m just hoping that nothing else is Free. We can’t afford free.

DAVE

www.bogartcunix.com

By the way, Jeff, my business partner, was concerned that this post was too dry and contained too much detail. I told him that I could trust my readers to not only plow through a fact laden piece, I could even count on some of you to add pithy, timely comments.

If You Want Your Art Back, Be Mindful of the Statute of Limitations

The First Circuit Court of Appeals decided the case of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston v. Seger-Thomschitz on October 14, 2010. Claudia Seger-Thomschitz, the heir of art collector Oskar Reichel, contacted the Museum of Fine Arts to reclaim Two Nudes by Oskar Kokoschka. Seger-Thomschitz argued that the painting left the hands Reichel because of Nazi coercion.

The Museum of Fine Arts spent 18 months researching the issue and concluded that Reichel sold the painting voluntarily. The Boston Globe published criticisms of this view in a May 2008 article. Nevertheless, the MFA sought an order from federal district court declaring that the museum legitimately owned the painting. The lower court ruled that the MFA rightfully owned the painting, and the court of appeals has now affirmed this decision.

The basis of the court of appeal's opinion is threefold. First, the district court's grant of a favorable judgment for the museum was proper on statute of limitations grounds because Seger-Thomschitz did not make a demand on the MFA within the three years statute of limitations under Massachusetts law. Second, the appeals court rejected Seger-Thomschitz's weak claim that the statute of limitations should bend in the wake of the non-profit section of the federal Internal Revenue Code [501(c)(3)]. Third, the court rejected her argument that the Massachusetts statute of limitations conflicted with America's foreign policy as expressed through the Holocaust Victims Redress Act of 1998, the Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, the Vilnius Forum Declaration, and the Terezín Declaration on Holocaust Era Assets and Related Issues. These proclamations are aspirational and not law, the court essentially declared.

The message in this case is clear: Where a party believes that art is improperly in the hands of another, the claimant must be conscious of the statute of limitations clock and perform the necessary due diligence to start a cause of action.

Two Nudes can be seen at http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_art.asp?recview=true&id=34173&coll_keywords=&coll_accession=&coll_name=two+nudes&coll_artist=Kokoschka&coll_place=&coll_medium=&coll_culture=&coll_classification=&coll_credit=&coll_provenance=&coll_location=&coll_has_images=&coll_on_view=&coll_sort=2&coll_sort_order=0&coll_view=0&coll_package=0&coll_start=1

"Holocaust Historians Blast MFA Stance in Legal Dispute," The Boston Globe, May 28, 2008 at http://www.boston.com/ae/theater_arts/articles/2008/05/28/holocaust_historians_blast_mfa_stance_in_legal_dispute/

Coberturas de US $ 1,000,000 y US $ 2,000,000

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


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Seguro de Viaje para Grupos



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Cobertura Medica en su pais y en el mundo entero

Monday, October 11, 2010


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Seguros de Viaje Online

Sunday, October 10, 2010


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We Have To Destroy This Village To Save It

Monday, October 4, 2010
Insurance is real. My job is to work with real people, everyday, to solve real problems. I get angry and frustrated when the theoretical and the hypothetical invade my space and get in my way. Yes, I have an agenda. All but the apathetic have an agenda. The undeclared and disorganized agenda of the national Democrats interfered with my work this week. And I am more than just a little upset.

Jimmy (yes, the name is changed) is a healthy eleven year old living in Greater Cleveland. I have no idea where his dad lives. Jimmy lives with his mother, Wendy, a woman who has not worked since her unfortunate skiing accident of a few years ago. Jimmy’s major bills, like school, are paid by a generous aunt. Jimmy is uninsured.

Wendy had insurance for her son and herself, but she let it lapse in August. She didn’t pay the insurance and she didn’t tell her sister until last Monday. Why are the dates important? Because now we have a problem.

Wendy’s sister would have kept the old policy active, had she been notified in a timely manner. Though Wendy has recovered, for the most part, from her serious injuries, she is difficult to insure at this time. Due to the new health bill, we can not write a Child, Only policy on Jimmy. We could two weeks ago. A comprehensive policy on a healthy eleven year old used to be around $100 a month. That policy no longer exists.

Proponents of the new health care legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, love to cite the new provisions for covering children. No underwriting. No limits on preexisting conditions. Totally free preventive care. How do you price that policy? How do you properly build reserves for the sudden, and massive, shift of risk as parents currently paying for underwritten policies move to blindly issued contracts? You can’t. The insurance companies eliminated all Child, Only policies.

How many unhealthy kids are there? How many of my clients, small businesses in Northeast Ohio, are paying higher premiums because the owner’s child has a heart condition or a genetic disorder or some other ailment that requires substantial care? LOTS. And if the insurers didn’t play self-defense, if the companies unthinkingly threw open the doors and took all of them at a standard rates, the results would be devastating.

So where does that leave Jimmy, our healthy eleven year old? I can write, for the moment, short term, catastrophic coverage on Wendy and Jimmy. G-d forbid insurance. It is the best I can do. Governor Strickland, realizing the mess Washington has created, signed an emergency order this week to force the insurance companies to have a special “open enrollment” for Child, Only policies. Medical Mutual of Ohio, Anthem Blue Cross, and UnitedHealth Care have yet to determine how to comply with this order or how to price the product.

We had a health care system. It was uniquely American and it served 80% to 85% of us. It was hardly perfect, but it was ours and, like it or not, it reflected our values and our tastes. We needed to improve the system we had to better serve all Americans. Instead, we are in the process of dismantling our method of paying for health care and interacting with our medical providers.

Jimmy is just, to use the proper term, collateral damage.

DAVE

www.bogartcunix.com

Statute of Limitatons to Recover Stolen Culture Lengthened in California

Sunday, October 3, 2010
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law California Assembly Bill 2765. This law allows an owner of a stolen or fraudulently taken cultural object to file a lawsuit to recover the piece within six years of finding the object. This new law is significant for three reasons.

First, it doubles the time an aggrieved party can recover an object of "historical, interpretive,scientific, cultural, or artistic significance" that has been stolen or taken by fraud or duress

Second, the law enacts the "actual discovery" rule. That means that the six year clock only starts to run once the original owner actually discovers the wherabouts of the cultural object.

Third, the law is retrospective. The legislature specifically stated that the law "shall apply to all pending and future actions commenced on or before December 31, 2017, including any actions dismissed based on the expiration of statutes of limitation in effect prior to the date of enactment of this statute if the judgment in that action is not yet final or if the time for filing an appeal from a decision on that action has not
expired, provided that the action concerns a work of fine art that was taken within 100 years prior to the date of enactment of this statute." There is no doubt then that the new law may impact Marei Von Saher's effort to move forward on her claim to recover Lucas Cranach the Elder's diptych "Adam and Eve" from the Norton Simon Museum, originally looted by the Nazis.

Read the law at http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/asm/ab_2751-2800/ab_2765_bill_20100930_chaptered.html

CPAC public sessions on Colombia and Greece cultural property agreements coming soon

Saturday, October 2, 2010
The Cultural Property Advisory Committee will be holding public sessions on October 12 and October 14, 2010 to consider renewing the cultural property protection agreement with Colombia and to consider a new agreement with Greece.

More information can be found by reading the Federal Register at http://exchanges.state.gov/media/office-of-policy-and-evaluation/chc/pdfs/2010frncpacmtg10.pdf.