A county judge is giving gallery owner Rebekah Jacob until March 23 to produce her financial documents in an effort to settle her $67,879 debt to an artist and an art gallery.
Master-In-Equity Judge Mikell Scarborough also set a follow-up hearing for April 27 and ordered that Jacob sit for a deposition before April 6.
Attorney Jerry Theos began by saying that Jacob “has no assets or funds” to satisfy the court’s May 2016 judgment that she pay $11,366.10 to Atlanta-based artist Cynthia Knapp and $56,513 to Washington, D.C. gallery Hemphill Fine Arts.
The judge ruled in their favor after Jacob failed to properly answer a breach of contract complaint, which alleged that Jacob used to “retain all the proceeds” from sales of their work and would “refuse to communicate or account for her art sales.”
Attorney Patrick Chisum, who represents Knapp and Hemphill Fine Arts, said that he’s also had “communication issues” with Jacob, who has yet to provide any documents to prove her financial status.
Jacob was the subject of a months-long investigation by CP in 2017 that uncovered eight different artists who had either taken legal action against Jacob’s gallery or spoken directly to CP about Jacob’s missed payments, lack of communication, and fraudulent sales.
“I’m gonna need to understand exactly what happened to the $40,000 she said she had. That’s one of the reasons we’re here. The inventory she said she had is missing,” Chisum said. “I’m going to need bank accounts, business records, tax returns — anything tangible to show she has no money.”
[content-1] Jacob’s team told Judge Scarborough that they have done all they can.
“All we can do is advise Ms. Jacob that these things need to be produced and provide her with a deadline to do that,” said one of the two attorneys sitting beside Jacob.
Though she plans to file for bankruptcy, Judge Scarborough advised Jacob to provide her financial information anyway given that they would also be used in any forthcoming bankruptcy case.
Theos later announced his intention to be relieved of the case, citing his understanding that Jacob has a meeting scheduled with a new lawyer on Monday.
Chisum added that he finds it difficult to believe that Jacob is struggling when her social media feed paints a different picture.
“[My clients] see her in Art Basel, they see her in New York,” he said. “My clients see that, in the arts community, and I have no documentation to believe [Jacob].”
It is unclear where Jacob is living now.
“Her house was foreclosed upon in North Charleston,” Chisum told CP in a phone interview after Friday’s hearing. “It ended up being dismissed and it was bought my someone else. There’s a lot of questions I have on that.”
Jacob and her attorneys declined to comment outside of the county courthouse after the hearing.
The disgraced gallery owner is also facing the possibility of a default judgment in favor of Asheville-based photographer Ben Nixon, who sued Jacob in October after she failed to return five of his photographs following her eviction from a previous gallery space.
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