Saturday, December 13, 2014

75 Last Minute 2014 Year-End Tax Savings Tips from Dunnington

Season’s Greetings!

As the year comes to a close, so does the period for tax planning for the year 2014.  My partner Joe Michaels has composed a Memorandum entitled "75 Last Minute 2014 Year-End Tax Savings Tips” that you may find helpful in doing some last minute 2014 income, gift and estate tax planning, as well as of assistance in preparing your 2014 Federal, State and local income tax returns, and planning for the coming year.  The Memorandum may be accessed by clicking here.  The Memorandum is interactive in the sense that if you “click” on a subject in the index, it will take you directly to that subject.

The first two introductory pages review some of the overall provisions and some changes that became effective in 2014, as well as reminders regarding certain issues.  The top Federal income tax bracket remains at 39.6% for 2014 and 2015, the maximum rate of tax on dividends and interest is 20% for 2014 and 2015, the gift tax annual exclusion remains at $14,000 for 2014 and 2015, but the lifetime gift/estate tax exemption rises from $5,340,000 in 2014 to $5,430,000 effective January 1, 2015.  The 3.8% Medicare tax on high earners’ investment income and additional 0.9% Medicare tax added to the 1.45% already paid by a highly paid employee on his/her compensation and the earnings of “highly paid” self-employed individuals remain in place.  The Summary also includes a review of the changes to the New York estate tax laws effective April 1, 2014 and advises that as of the date of this Memorandum, there are some 57 tax provisions (mostly “tax credits”) that have not been extended to 2014 and another six that will expire on December 31, 2014.  It is possible that Congress may extend these credits to 2014 and beyond, so it would be wise to consult your tax advisor in future months to determine whether all or part have been extended.

Section 74 of this Memorandum includes a summary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.  Most of these provisions are now in effect.  Section 75 contains a description of some Offshore and Foreign Tax Provisions enacted in prior years but which still impact 2014 and future years.

If you have any questions regarding any of the income, gift or estate tax planning ideas or other provisions summarized in “75 Last Minute 2014 Year-End Tax Savings Tips,” please let us know.

Best wishes for a Happy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year.
 Copyright law, fine art and navigating the courts. All practice, no theory.Copyright Litigation Handbook (Thomson Reuters Westlaw 2012-2013) by Raymond J. Dowd
 Copyright Litigation Handbook on Westlaw

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Saving Mona Lisa: Nazi Art Looting and The Great Treasures of The Louvre

Nazi Art Looting Revealed: Book Review: Saving Mona Lisa: The Battle To Protect The Louvre & Its Treasures During World War II by Gerri Chanel (2014 Heliopa Press) $18.95 325 pp.

         "You put all your artwork in a basement?  You're crazy!" yelled James Rorimer at a director of the Louvre Museum when, in the summer of 1944 he learned how the French had managed to safeguard the Louvre's treasures against the ravages of World War II.  According to Gerri Chanel, author of Saving Mona Lisa, this exchange did nothing to endear Rorimer, who would go on to become the Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and who would be immortalized by the actor Matt Damon in George Clooney's film "Monuments Men," to the French.

         In Saving Mona Lisa, Gerri Chanel has succeeded in an original work of scholarship that grips the reader in with stories of French bureacrats tying up Adolph Hitler, Hermann Goring and the various Nazi art looting efforts in administrative red tape.   Any reader who has run into the famous French bureaucratic intransigeance will laugh at Louvre Museum Director Jacques Jaujard's creative ways of thwarting a rogue's gallery of Nazis as he careens around France with masterworks tied to unsteady trucks.

        Chanel illustrates just why the French are the world’s masters of diplomacy and intrigue. When Fieldmarshal Hermann Goering sought to steal important artworks and hide his tracks by proposing a voluntary "exchange" (under obvious duress) that would avoid an international outcry that an outright theft would create, Jaujard brilliantly proposed that France make a "gift" to Goering.  Jaujard knew the gesture would enrage Hitler and world opinion against Goering. The Fieldmarshal was stopped in his tracks. Momentarily.
        Chanel starts from the beginning, showing Hitler as a failed artist whose great ambition was to possess the world’s great art treasures, particularly those in France deemed of “Germanic’ origin.  As Nazi fortunes waxed and waned, Nazi attempts to seize, exchange, "safeguard" the Louvre's treasures increased in innovation and dark violence.  Jaujard's efforts to thwart the Nazis were undercut by an eagerly pro-Nazi Vichy regime, on the one hand.  On the other, sympathetic Nazis assisted Jaujard in his game of administrative chess.  The Nazi military administration insisted on control, as did the civilian overseers.  By pitting Nazi against Nazi in a delicate battle of the egos, the smooth French diplomat Jaujard escaped from one frying pan into the next fire in a gripping narrative that will have the reader, feeling Nazi hands around Jaujard's vulnerable French throat.

         Central to the narrative is the Mona Lisa.  A red dot was placed on the crate of any important artwork.  Very important works sported two red dots.  The Mona Lisa was the only artwork sporting three red dots.  To avoid Nazis learning of the contents of a particular crate, the dots were the only markings.  Among thousands of crates, important artworks were able to hide in plain sight, while the French pretended to compile inventories to comply with orders emanating directly from Hitler.  Among thousands of crates, the Mona Lisa spend the war dodging, ducking and evading.

         Chanel's tale is enhanced by enemies feared more than Nazi looters.  Humidity, fire, Allied bombs, flame-spewing transport trucks fired by coal (after gasoline supplies ran out), French resistance fighters hiding weapons and literature among crates.... Chanel brings all of these dangers to light in a compelling way that will cause any art lover's blood pressure to rise and fingernails to be chewed off.

Leonardo DaVinci's Mona Lisa - Still Smiling!

         In April 1943 London's BBC broadcast the radio message "the Mona Lisa is smiling" to a puzzled, war torn continent.  This coded message let Jaujard know that the Allies had received his maps showing the locations of the Louvre's treasures and that Allied bombers had been instructed to avoid those areas.

         Saving Mona Lisa is amply illustrated.  Photos showing the battle scars on the wall of the Louvre and the masses of people stampeding in the runup to the liberation of Paris emphasize how the Louvre was physically located on the front lines of battle during hand to hand combat.

         In 2014, the world's museums have come under fire for failing to research the provenance of their artworks and to return them to Nazi victims.  Saving MonaLisa is a great example of a greater history being told through the provenance of one artwork.   The story contains deaths, failures (Nazis burned approximately five hundred artworks in the Tuileries gardens despite the best efforts of Jaujard and his spy Rose Valland who was stationed in the Jeu de Palme museum that was used as a Nazi staging point).  While Mona Lisa escaped, many other artworks did not, including collections looted from Jewish families.The full story is yet to be told, and the museums of the world and particularly the United States should commit resources to returning stolen artworks to the families of looting victims.  Let's hope that Chanel's SavingMona Lisa will inspire a new generation of provenance researchers to look at the fruits of Nazi art looting that may be found in their local museums.
George Clooney's The Monuments Men - Cate Blanchett as Rose Valland and Matt Damon as James Rorimer

         Let’s hope that Hollywood and history pays attention to Saving Mona Lisa --where the truth is more entertaining than fiction!
 Copyright law, fine art and navigating the courts. All practice, no theory.Copyright Litigation Handbook (Thomson Reuters Westlaw 2012-2013) by Raymond J. Dowd
 Copyright Litigation Handbook on Westlaw

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Art Law Event Of The Year This Friday!

7th Annual Art Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice Institute

Friday, November 21, 2014, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Member Price:   $200
Non-Member Attorney Price:   $250
Law Office Staff:   $50

Intended Audience:
Non-attorney may register as law office staff
Click Here to download orderform

Location: 2nd Floor Auditorium
Course ID: C112114
Credits: 8 NJ Credits: 3 Ethics; 5 General
8 NY Credits: 3 Ethics; 1 Skills; 4 PP/LPM; Transitional and Non-transitional
Course Description:
For the 7th consecutive year, join us for this special program which brings together a diverse roster of speakers ranging from artists, art consultants, appraisers, members of the bench, bar, museums, art galleries,  auction houses,  to government officials and members of non-profit organizations as they discuss the most relevant legal issues affecting the art world today.
Welcome and Introductory Remarks
Panel 1: Public Art -- Legal Controversies Over Large-Scale Displays
Panel 2: Should Artists Get a Cut? Resale Rights on Capitol Hill
Panel 3: Real or Fake? What's Happening With Authentication and Indemnification
Lunch (Provided) and Keynote Address
Panel 4: Matter of Flamenbaum and the Recovery of Antiquities -- News from the NY Court of Appeals
Panel 5: Are Museums Researching Their Collections? International Museum Ethics and the Holocaust
Closing Remarks and Questions and Answers

Lunch will be provided
Program Chairs: Andrea Crane, Private Art Dealer; Hon. Stephen Crane (Ret.), JAMS; Raymond Dowd, Dunnington, Bartholow & Miller LLP
Featured Artist: Frank Stella
Keynote Speaker: Lucian Simmons, Senior Vice President, Provenance and Restitution, Sotheby's

Introduction By: Judd B. Grossman, Grossman LLP, Chair, NYCLA's Art Law Committee
Program Co-sponsors: NYCLA's Art Law Committee and Entertainment Intellectual Property & Sports Law Section
Faculty: Leila Amineddoleh, Galluzzo & Amineddoleh, Adjunct Professor, Fordham University School of Law; Hon. Ariel E. Belen (Ret.), JAMS; Peg Breen, President, The New York Landmarks Conservancy; Sean Avery Cavanaugh, Vice President, Milton and Sally Avery Foundation; Hon. Matthew Cooper, NYS Supreme Court; Hon. Stephen Crane (Ret.), JAMS; Raymond Dowd, Dunnington, Bartholow & Miller LLP; Darlene B. Fairman, Herrick, Feinstein LLP;. Dr. Wesley A. Fisher, Director of Research Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc.;Hon. Nicholas G. Garaufis, E.D.N.Y.;Hon. Paul G. Gardephe, SDNY;Judd B. Grossman, Grossman LLP; Hon. Barbara Jaffe, NYS Supreme Ct.;  Lisa Kim, Cultural Affairs Director at Two Trees Management; Betty Krulik, Betty Krulik Fine Art Limited, President, Board of Directors Appraisers Association of America; Hon. Edward W. McCarty, III, Surrogate's Court, Nassau County; Victoria Milne, NYC Department of Design and Construction; Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, US Representative, NY 10th Congressional District; Seth Presser, Jaspan Schlesinger LLP; Steven R. Schlesinger, Jaspan Schlesinger LLP; Lucian Simmons, Senior Vice President, Provenance and Restitution, Sotheby's;Howard N. Spiegler, Herrick, Feinstein LLP; Frank Stella, Artist; Irina Tarsis, Director and Founder of Center for Art Law
 Copyright law, fine art and navigating the courts. All practice, no theory.Copyright Litigation Handbook (Thomson Reuters Westlaw 2012-2013) by Raymond J. Dowd
 Copyright Litigation Handbook on Westlaw

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pretrial Practice in the Southern District of New York - Thurgood Marshall Courthouse


Federal Bar Association

Southern District New York Chapter & Civil Rights Section

In Conjunction with New York County Lawyers’ Association

Cordially Invites You to this CLE:

Pre-Trial Practice in the Southern District of New York

A Panel Discussion with the Magistrate Judges of the SDNY 

November 13, 2014

4:00 -7:00PM 

SDNY Thurgood Marshall Courthouse,

40 Centre Street, Room 506, New York, NY 

Topics Include:

Initial Conference, Discovery & Sanctions, Settlement Conferences,

Consent to Proceed before a Magistrate Judge, and Best Practices

3 NY Credits: 0.5 Ethics; 1.5 Skills; 1 PP/LPM; Transitional and Non-transitional

The New York County Lawyers’ Association is currently certified as an Accredited Provider of

Continuing Legal Education in New York and New Jersey.

        Moderator: Wylie Stecklow, Stecklow Cohen & Thompson

        Scheduled Panelists:

           Hon. Magistrate Judge Michael Dolinger,
           Hon. Magistrate Judge Ronald Ellis,    
           Hon. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman,
           Hon. Chief Magistrate Judge Frank Maas,   
           Hon. Magistrate Judge Judith McCarthy,
           Hon. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn,
           Hon. Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman,
           Hon. Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith

Will include discussion among panelists and Q&A from participants


FBA and NYCLA Members: $40, all others $55*
 Copyright law, fine art and navigating the courts. All practice, no theory.
Copyright Litigation Handbook (Thomson Reuters Westlaw 2012-2013) by Raymond J. Dowd Copyright Litigation Handbook on Westlaw

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Brandeis Association Selects Dunnington Partner Raymond J. Dowd To Commemorate 76th Anniversary of Kristallnacht

Egon Schiele's Town on the Blue River - Krumau (1910)
            Dunnington partner Raymond J. Dowd has been selected to speak at “Murder, Mystery & Masterpieces: The Ethical Implications of World War II Stolen Art,” to be presented by the Brandeis Association and the Queens Women’s Bar Association. The event will take place the Queens County Bar Association (90-35 148th Street, Jamaica, NY) tonight at 6:00 p.m., the date being chosen to coincide with the 76th anniversary of Kristallnacht (November 9-10, 1938). A light kosher supper will precede the event, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
       The Nazis are infamous for their rampant theft of artworks belonging to Jewish people and others deemed undesirable. Public awareness of this pillaging has only grown in recent years with the release of films such as The Monuments Men (2014) and The Rape of Europa (2006). Additionally, newly opened archives in the United States and Europe have contributed to an ever-increasing number of claims brought by the Nazis’ victims and their descendants. As a result, the body of case law pertaining to such matters is constantly growing and evolving.
       Mr. Dowd recently represented the heirs of Holocaust victim Fritz Grunbaum, who was killed at Dachau in 1941, in coming to a restitution settlement agreement concerning the painting Town on the Blue River (Stadt am blauen Fluss – Krumau), painted by Egon Schiele in 1910. The watercolor landscape was among eighty-one works of art by Schiele seized from Mr. Grunbaum’s apartment in Vienna by the Gestapo in March 1938. In 1998, a spotlight was shone upon Mr. Grunbaum’s fate and that of his art when New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau confiscated the painting Dead City III from New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, where it was on loan from Austria. Because the exhibition was immune from seizure as a result of an international treaty, the piece was ultimately returned; however, the incident was key in propelling the movement to restore Nazi-looted artworks to their rightful owners. Town on the Blue River was auctioned at Christie’s at their Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale on November 5, 2014, where it reached a record high of $2,965,000. The proceeds will be shared by Mr. Grunbaum’s heirs and those of Ilona Gerstel, in whose possession the piece spent nearly a half-century.

     Joining Mr. Dowd in this discussion of art stolen during World War II and the legal and ethical complications in which the restitution of such pieces is mired will be Professor John Q. Barrett of St. John’s University School of Law, who also serves on the Expert Advisory Committee of the International Nuremberg Principles Academy. Following presentation of recent happenings relating to Holocaust-era assets and discussion of their longer-term impact, Mr. Dowd and Professor Barrett will welcome questions from the audience.
The event is free. To register, please click here.

About the Brandeis Association The Brandeis Association was established in 1969 as a Not for Profit Corporation. The stated purpose of the Bar association, as set forth in both the Brandeis Constitution and Articles of Incorporation, is to encourage friendship and culture among our members, to foster respect for law and legal institutions and to vigorously assert its interest in justice and fair play in the County of Queens and in the City and State of New York. All members of the Judiciary, Lawyers, Court personnel and others who support the Jewish faith and the U.S. Constitution are eligible for membership.
About Dunnington partner Raymond J. Dowd Mr. Dowd’s practice focuses on litigation in federal and state trial and appellate courts, arbitration and mediation for cases involving art law, copyrights, trademarks, cybersquatting, privacy, trusts and decedents’ estates, licensing, corporate and real estate transactions. He lectures frequently on copyright and art-related topics and has presented in many venues, including at the 2009 Prague Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets, where he served on an expert panel, the Jewish Museum in Berlin, Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the San Francisco War Memorial, and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In 2007, he co-founded the Art Litigation and Dispute Resolution Institute at New York County Lawyers’ Association. Mr. Dowd authors Copyright Litigation Handbook (West 7th Ed. 2013-2014)(updated annually). Currently Mr. Dowd serves on the Board of Directors of the Federal Bar Association, having earlier held the positions of President of the Southern District of New York Chapter (2006-2008) and general counsel of the national organization, and as President of the Network of Bar Leaders.
Dunnington, Bartholow & Miller LLP was selected as a 2014 Top Ranked Law Firm for Intellectual Property by Corporate Counsel/ALM/The American Lawyer. Dunnington is a full-service law firm providing corporate, litigation, intellectual property, real estate, taxation and estate planning services for an international clientele. Find out more at
Attorney advertising. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes
 Copyright law, fine art and navigating the courts. All practice, no theory.
Copyright Litigation Handbook (Thomson Reuters Westlaw 2012-2013) by Raymond J. Dowd Copyright Litigation Handbook on Westlaw