Arts/Culture
5:25 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

Massachusetts art museum sues Jack Kevorkian's estate

More than 20 paintings and other memorabilia by the late Jack Kevorkian are supposed to be auctioned off in New York next week.

But the Armenian Library and Museum of America, or ALMA, has 17 of those paintings. The Massachusetts museum sued Kevorkian’s estate, saying the assisted suicide advocate donated his paintings to the museum in 1999.

The Massachusetts law firm Holland & Knight is representing ALMA. The attorney on the case was not available for comment, but the firm did send this press release. Here's an excerpt: 

"ALMA, pursuant to a longstanding policy, does not sell paintings or other artwork in its collection. ALMA has not authorized any part of this collection to be sold. ALMA contends that the paintings were donated to ALMA by Dr. Kevorkian, are owned by ALMA, are part of its permanent collection and should remain as part of its permanent collection."

Mayer Morganroth is executor of Kevorkian’s estate. He said the museum agreed to return the paintings when they were loaned nearly twelve years ago. Morganroth planned to file a federal lawsuit against the museum for "conversion, breach of contract and fraud."

"They heard the paintings are worth substantial amount of money, so all of a sudden it became theirs," said Morganroth. "That’s why they’re doing it. Same old story: greed, money."

Morganroth said the 17 paintings are worth up to $3.5 million, according to an appraiser.

Morganroth said the auction will go on as scheduled October 28th at the New York Institute of Technology in Manhattan. Proceeds from the auction will go to Kevorkian’s niece.  A charity called Kicking Cancer for Kids will also receive some money.

Items up for auction include some of Kevorkian's writings, letters received from Kurt Vonnegut, and letters he sent to the Supreme Court. Some of Kevorkian’s clothes will also be on sale including the tuxedo he wore to the Emmy Awards.