“Original oils” by artists with names like Dali, Warhol, Rockwell.
“Handsigned works by Picasso,” as well as other jewels, rugs and “rare treasures of the world.”
So reads an advertisement for an auction scheduled for 6:30 p.m. tonight at Macari Vineyards that ran in the Sept. 19 editions of The Suffolk Times and Riverhead News-Review.
The event “is not to be missed!” according to the ad.
But one local art critic, Amei Wallach, the former longtime chief art critic for Newsday, scoffed at the ad’s claims in a telephone interview with a reporter.
“What disturbs me about that ad is that, so many of those paintings, a lot of them are in museums,” she said.
“The only thing I can think of is that these are prints or reproductions.”
The man listed as the contact person in the ad, Gavin Abadi, has appeared in newspapers in other states, as well as TIME magazine, in connection with allegations that he and in some cases, family members, had engaged in misrepresentation and deception.
For example, according to a story in The New Mexican, Mr. Abadi was ordered by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation in 2008 to pay $3,500 for not being able to provide names and addresses for the owners of sold property, as well as other required paperwork.
And in June 2011, the State of New Jersey’s attorney general and consumer affairs’ offices issued a joint press release warning residents there of “allegedly illegal auctions” organized by Mr. Abadi.
Mr. Abadi was issued citations in New Jersey for not having books and records available for inspection, as required by state law, the release reads.
He was “stopped” before conducting business in Tenafly, West Orange and Summit, N.J., according to the release.
In an article published in The New Mexican, Mr. Abadi said he’s never had a lawsuit filed against him, and he’s never lost a dispute.
“Every time something was appraised, it appraised as genuine,” he told the paper.
Reached on Monday, an office manager for Mr. Abadi’s company, Premium Art Alliance Inc., of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said all items are authentic.
“Everything comes with a certificate of authenticity,” said the officer manager, Maria Ward. “I’m not going to misrepresent anything. Obviously we’re outsiders coming to a small community, but everything comes with a certificate of authenticity. If there are any problems, if [a customer] gets it appraised and shows otherwise, we would give it a refund.
“But that would never be a problem. The certificate would show you where it came from, appraisals, so forth.”
As for the online reporting from various news outlets, she said “anyone can post anything on the computer these days.”
She said she wasn’t aware of any citations in Texas or anywhere else.
A spokeswoman for Macari Vineyards, Alex Macari, said the event organizers are simply renting space for the auction, and that Macari does not endorse or have anything else to do with the event.
“We’re just the venue of where they rented out to have the auction,” Ms. Macari said. ”We saw the ads, we verified the company.
“We called places where they did events in the past couple weeks and everything was on the up-and-up; everything was paid for.”