A nonprofit organization has filed a lawsuit against a man who bid on portraits of President Donald Trump and the first lady at a February auction and allegedly failed to pay for the paintings.
The gala charity auction was held at Mar-a-Lago and sponsored by the nonprofit group The Truth About Israel, which filed the lawsuit last week in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, The Hill reported.
According to attorney Jonathan Bloom, Timothy Lane, a wealthy Naples businessman who bid $21,530 for the six-foot paintings of Trump and first lady Melania Trump, is “in breach of his agreement with The Truth About Israel to allow it to charge his American Express credit card for the purchase of the two paintings.”
Lane, 70-year-old CEO of the Hong Kong-based Everest Advisors, contended that he became skeptical after the nonprofit could not provide him its federal tax identification number.
“I asked for the tax-exempt number for tax purposes,” Lane said in a recent interview. “They couldn’t give it to me. Nobody seemed to know what it was or where it was, so I told them not to run the credit card until I had the number. I’m still waiting.”
They had these portraits of Trump and Melania up at the Mar a Lago gala for “The Truth About Israel” pic.twitter.com/7lzQVgOo0c
— Meme Theorist (@DTenenbaum) February 26, 2018
Lane’s claims have been rebuked by Boca Raton businessman Steven Alembik, who organized the auction for The Truth About Israel.
“The tax ID has been provided to him,” Alembik said. “He can come up with all the excuses he wants. At the end of the day, he’s going to pay. He’s going to court and he’s going to lose.”
Alembik noted, “If the guy reneges, the charity has to pay for it.”
The Truth About Israel is a nonprofit whose mission is to “educate and train the public about the facts of Israel in today’s world,” according to its website.
Self-described “speed artist” Michael Israel, who created the Trump paintings and entertained approximately 500 gala guests by producing other huge pieces of art in five or six minutes, said he has performed all over the world and never had a high bidder fail to pay.
“It’s extremely rare for this to happen,” Israel said.