Annie Leibovitz Goes Into Fundraising Mode

cityfile · 12/11/09 11:28AM

Photographer Annie Leibovitz came close to losing everything this past fall when she was sued for failing to pay back the $24 million loan that had been extended to her by Art Capital, which had taken her real estate holdings and the rights to her photos as collateral. Leibovitz managed to avert crisis when she reached a settlement with the firm at the last minute. But she's not out of the woods yet. The Times reports today that as part of the deal, she now owes Art Capital $30 million, and she'll have to pay it back in full by next summer. Leibovitz has been looking to raise cash to pay off the debt in recent months. She's selling limited-edition prints and has been in discussions to write another book. She's also looked into offering bonds backed by her future earnings, something that David Bowie did a few years back. But it's unlikely those efforts will raise the millions she needs and chances are she'll need to take resort to more drastic measures over the coming months. What could that entail? A glimpse of Annie's future after the jump!

Annie Buys Some Time

cityfile · 09/04/09 08:56AM

There hasn't been much good news for photographer Annie Leibovitz the past few months. But today there is! Leibovitz had been given a deadline of September 8 to respond to a lawsuit that alleged she'd failed to repay a $24 million loan that had been extended to her last year. Yesterday, however, a judge granted her another month to either respond to the suit or settle the case with the lender, Art Capital. Will that give her enough time to figure a way out? Or is she just putting off the inevitable, which could include filing for bankruptcy or surrendering her real estate holdings and collection of photographs? See you back here in 30 days! [NYP]

What Comes Next for Annie Leibovitz?

John Cook · 08/19/09 11:04AM

As information continues to drip out about Annie Leibovitz's disastrous financial situation, her own personal D-Day is fast approaching. What happens on September 8, when her $24 million pawnshop loan comes due?

Annie Leibovitz and The Other Ken Starr

cityfile · 08/18/09 01:40PM

New York's epic article about Annie Leibovitz in this week's issue is well worth a read, particularly since it sheds a little light on how it is one of the world's highest-paid photographers now finds herself on the brink of financial ruin. (If the only person you'll allow to repair your air-conditioner has to travel to NYC from Vermont to do the work, that's probably not a good sign.) Leibovitz's financial fate will likely be sealed in September when the $24 million loan she secured from Art Capital Group last year is due. Interestingly, though, Leibovitz appears to be hinting that the terms of the loan— which required her to put up the rights to her photos and real estate holdings as collateral—only became apparent to her after the Times reported on Art Capital Group back in February. Friends of the photographer suggest that Leibovitz had no idea she was giving up so much when she took out the loan; they also seem to be shifting some of the blame to Ken Starr, the financial adviser who took the photographer on as a client in 2007 and who was also responsible for introducing Leibovitz to Art Capital Group. Pinning the blame on Starr, who boasts an insanely long list of celebrity clients, may be a hard argument to make.

Annie Leibovitz Can't Win

cityfile · 08/11/09 01:14PM

Financially-challenged photographer Annie Leibovitz was sued last week by Art Capital Group, the high-end pawn shop that loaned her $24 million last year in exchange for the rights to her photography collection and her collection of real estate holdings in the West Village and upstate New York. It will be some time before we find out whether Leibovitz will get to hang on to her assets, but it seems she's already suffered one minor defeat in court. In a court ruling over whether Getty Images went behind Art Capital's back to negotiate a deal to represent Leibovitz on a freelance basis, New York State's highest court misspelled the name of the "world-renowned photographer" 37 times. Don't you just hate exceptions to the normally reliable "i before e, except after c" rule? [NYS Supreme Court, PDF]

Annie Leibovitz's Big Money Pit

cityfile · 08/06/09 10:23AM

Annie Leibovitz has been facing serious financial problems for a number of months now. But things took a turn for the worse last week when Leibovitz was served with a suit by the financial firm that lent her $24 million earlier this year, and she now faces the grim prospect she'll eventually have to relinquish control of her real estate holdings and the rights to her archive of photographs. The big, unanswered question, though, is where, exactly, all the money went. On top of the $24 million she borrowed from Art Capital Group, she takes home an estimated $2 million-a-year salary from Condé Nast, and collects millions for her advertising work. Is she just really bad at managing her money? Or is it something else? Bloomberg News' Katya Kazakina, who suggests Leibovitz might be better off filing for bankruptcy rather than fight her creditors in court, looks into another possible money pit.

The Coming Annie Leibovitz Fire Sale

John Cook · 07/30/09 02:46PM

Annie Leibovitz, perhaps the highest-paid celebrity photographer in the world, is profoundly broke. She hocked every photograph she's ever produced and now the high-end pawnshop that gave her $24 million has filed suit to force her to sell it all.

Another Lawsuit For Leibovitz

cityfile · 07/30/09 11:41AM

Things have gone from bad to worse for photographer Annie Leibovitz. The glorified pawn shop (or "art finance firm," as they prefer to be known) that lent Leibovitz boatloads of money against every photo she has ever taken as well as the value of the real estate she owns in the West Village and upstate New York, has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against her. It's accusing her of "boldly deceptive conduct" for not allowing appraisers to come inside her home: "Among other demands in the suit, the company, Art Capital Group, based in Manhattan, is asking the court to order Ms. Leibovitz to allow real estate agents access to her town houses in Greenwich Village so the property can be appraised and prepared for sale to pay back the loans." [NYT]

The Pawnshop to the Rich and Famous

cityfile · 02/24/09 09:23AM

"Pawnshop" is such a loaded word: It almost immediately conjures up an image of a seedy, fluorescent-lit room with a clerk standing behind bulletproof glass and display cabinets full of tacky gold jewelry. Fortunately, if you happen to be rich, possess a reasonably large collection of art, and you're desperate for cash, you can call up Art Capital Group, which doesn't look anything like a pawnshop since it's located in the former Sotheby's building on Madison Avenue, and "looks at first glance like an art gallery," reports the Times. But bring Art Capital your collection and they'll do the same thing every other pawnshop does: They'll extend you a loan using your art works as collateral, and if you fail to pay back what you owe, you'll have to say goodbye to them forever.