Legal Law

Hunter’s Art Dealer Contradicts White House Claims Over Art Sales – JONATHAN TURLEY

Over the last two years, ethicists and public interest groups have raised concerns over the selling of art by Hunter Biden as an avenue for Biden donors and allies to funnel money to the family. In response, then White House Press Secretary (and now MSNBC host) Jen Psaki repeatedly assured the public that there was a special ethical plan in place with the gallery to prevent Hunter from knowing who purchased the art. Yet, according to Georges Bergès, Hunter Biden’s art gallerist, he never spoke to anyone with the White House. Not only did he confirm that the White House never contacted him, but said that Hunter knew who purchased roughly 70% of the value of his art, including Democrat donors Kevin Morris and Elizabeth Hirsh Naftali.

The media dutifully reported at the time how the White House was grappling with the ethical questions and, according to the Washington Post, “the White House officials have helped craft an agreement.”

That appears to be news to Bergès who said that he had no contacts with the White House and Hunter knew the identity of the purchasers of most of the art. Notably, Bergès was reading these same reports in the news but never objected to the alleged misrepresentation. He simply continued to be a conduit for the funds to Hunter.

In the meantime, the White House continued to swat down questions by citing an ethical plan created for the sales. Andrew Bates, a spokesperson for the White House, said in a statement that “the President has established the highest ethical standards of any administration in American history, and his family’s commitment to rigorous processes like this is a prime example.”

Psaki stated:

“Well, I can tell you that after careful consideration, a system has been established that allows for Hunter Biden to work in his profession within reasonable safeguards […] But all interactions regarding the selling of art and the setting of prices will be handled by a professional gallerist, adhering to the highest industry standards. And any offer out of the normal course would be rejected out of hand. And the gallerist will not share information about buyers or prospective buyers, including their identities, with Hunter Biden or the administration, which provides quite a level of protection and transparency.”

The White House can now explain how it implemented this ethical plan without involving the gallery controlling the information and sales.

Some other details are concerning. Bergès admitted that Hunter knew that Naftali was one of the purchasers. However, he also reportedly admitted that he pushed Naftali to buy some of the pieces in 2020 without success. However, two months after Joe Biden became president, Naftali purchased her first piece of Hunter Biden’s artwork and later, in July 2022, President Biden announced Naftali’s appointment to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad.

Likewise, Bergès admitted that most of the art was actually purchased by lawyer Kevin Morris, who has reportedly given Hunter millions to cover unpaid taxes and expenses. So, as media was reporting how Hunter’s art was being eagerly purchased by art lovers, it appears to have been an illusion. It was Morris, and he only paid Bergès’ 40% commission on the $875,000 purchases.

Bergès admits that he has never seen a deal where the purchaser just paid his commission.

The strange arrangement reenforces the view that this was all a sham from the alleged ethics plan to the purchases themselves. Morris, a major Democratic donor, had only briefly met Hunter when he started to pay off his debts and support his lavish lifestyle.

The art sales were portrayed as a way for Hunter to support himself in a new (and successful) emergence as an artist. The Independent gushed how buyers were “floored” by Hunter’s talent and eagerly flocked to the shows.

However, it was largely Morris according to Bergès. So Hunter sent the art to New York and the press played up his success as an artist. Morris then bought most of the art and just paid Bergès his fee. The public was then left with the impression that Hunter was not only a successful artist, but supporting himself.

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