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Art-world figure is re-arrested

July 15, 2009|Associated Press

The owner of a closed Manhattan art gallery that once boasted a star-studded clientele was arrested again Tuesday on charges of carrying out an art fraud that now totals $93 million.

Lawrence B. Salander of Millbrook, N.Y., is accused of stealing from artists, art owners and investors. The victims include the estate of abstract expressionist Robert De Niro Sr., father of the famed actor, and tennis great John McEnroe.

The indictment unsealed Tuesday, the second against Salander in four months, charges him with grand larceny and falsifying business records.

It also names his Salander-O'Reilly Galleries LLC, which closed in 2007, and his 12-year gallery director, Leigh Morse, as defendants.

Salander, 60, and Morse, 53, pleaded not guilty Tuesday at their arraignments in Manhattan's state Supreme Court.

Salander lawyer Charles Ross said there is "more to this case than meets the eye." Ross added that his client will fight the charges vigorously and "will be completely vindicated."

Morse's attorney, Andrew Lankler, said he had no comment on the case.

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