Our red flags went up last week when we received notice that some prints by Douglas Kirkland, Lynn Goldsmith, Michael Yamashita and others from the Hallmark Museum of Contemporary Photography collection will soon go on the auction block. The announcement came from Capital Recovery Group, acting on behalf of Peoples United Bank, of Springfield, Massachusetts.
Capital recovery? For a bank? It sounded as if Hallmark had defaulted on a loan, or that the prints might be part of a bankruptcy sale. We checked court records online, only to discover that it was no run-of-the-mill default. Peoples United Bank has accused Hallmark Institute of Photography president (and former owner) George J. Rosa III of keeping two sets of books to hide assets and divert money for his personal use. The bank filed suit to prevent a bankruptcy court from wiping out the $2.2 million debt Rosa allegedly owes the bank. The bank, which has already forced Rosa to sell HIP to a new owner, is just one of many creditors who provided loans or services totaling $3.6 million that Rosa says he is now unable to repay.
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