[image-1] With Rebekah Jacob’s former attorneys no longer willing to represent her, the Charleston gallery owner stood alone during a hearing last Friday as she attempted to explain her failure to comply with recent court orders. [content-2] Jacob’s most recent legal woes stem from a 2016 judgment in favor of Atlanta-based artist Cynthia Knapp and D.C. gallery Hemphill Fine Arts. In that case, a Charleston County judge ordered Jacob to pay a total of $67,879 to both parties who alleged a breach of contract.
Appearing before Master-In-Equity Judge Mikell Scarborough Friday, Attorney Patrick Chisum’s voice was tinged with a note of frustration as he recounted the recent court-ordered deadlines that Jacob had failed to meet. These included orders for Jacob to hand over financial documents and sit for a deposition.
“Up until today, we haven’t gotten any cooperation, any kind of cooperation,” Chisum told the judge. “I’ve been willing to work with Mrs. Jacob for, gosh, eight years now from all the cases I’ve had against her, and it’s just been silence or a non-answer. So I don’t believe that she has complied with any of the orders that have been set out.”
In addition to representing Knapp and Hemphill Fine Arts, Chisum has argued for other artists with similar legal complaints against Jacob. The downtown gallery owner was the subject of a lengthy City Paper investigation last year that found a mounting number of frustrated artists who spoke on record about their past dealings with the gallery owner. Chief among their complaints were numerous allegations of lost artwork and fraudulent sales practices. [content-1] Jacob personally addressed Judge Scarborough Friday, after her former attorneys were granted leave from the case. In their request to the court, Jacob’s legal team wrote that their “attorney-client relationship has deteriorated” to such a point that they could no longer proceed as counsel for the defendant.
Regarding her inability to provide the requested financial documents, Jacob placed the blame on her bookkeeper, adding that she is now prepared to comply. As for her failure to provide a deposition, Jacob’s excuse was simply that she was “just out of town.”
After the brief hearing, Judge Scarborough gave Jacob until the end of the day to provide Chisum with her financial records and scheduled a deposition date for May 2. The judge made clear that failure to comply with this most recent order would result in Jacob being found in contempt of court.
“Mrs. Jacob, I need you to get him those documents by the end of the day today at 5 p.m., so he can review them in preparation for your deposition next Wednesday at 2 p.m.,” Judge Scarborough said. “If that does not happen, I will send the sheriff to go look for you.”