Photographer Leibovitz in $24m lawsuit


An art finance company that loaned celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz $24 million against the value of her entire collection and her properties has sued Leibovitz for violating the terms of the agreement.

In a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court, Art Capital Group Inc asked a judge to compel Leibovitz to cooperate with the person assigned to selling her copyrights and organising the sale of her properties, so Leibovitz can pay back the loan.

Leibovitz (59), who has photographed everyone from Michelle Obama to Britain's Queen Elizabeth and a heavily pregnant Demi Moore in the nude, approached Art Capital in June last year about her "dire financial condition," the lawsuit said.

She initially obtained a $22 million loan from American Photography, which is held by Art Capital Group. Later that amount was increased to $24 million.

The breach of contract lawsuit accuses Leibovitz of "boldly deceptive conduct" and seeks to compel her to grant real estate agents access to homes in Manhattan and in Rhinebeck, New York, so they can be sold and the money used to repay the loan.

Leibovitz's lawyer, Rachel Williams, declined to comment.

"In connection with the negotiation of this $22 million credit facility, Leibovitz discussed and acknowledged that Leibovitz's fine art, intellectual property and real estate assets, all collateral for the loan, would likely need to be sold ... as part of the process of Leibovitz's financial restructuring," the lawsuit said.

Since then, Leibovitz has refused to meet with parties interested in buying her collection of photographs and has refused access to her properties, in breach of her contract with Art Capital, the lawsuit said.