CNN Saturday host of Smerconish is a self-described Winston Churchill “aficionado” — and unfortunately for him, he bought a fake autograph of Churchill from an art gallery. In a complaint filed on July 26, Courthouse News Services notes he was a regular customer of Walter Graham Arader III between 1992 and 2004.
Smerconish owns an original watercolor painted by Churchill; and according to the complaint, Smerconish paid $5,000 in 2000 for a photo of Churchill purportedly taken by Yousuf Karch, who specialized in portrait photos of world leaders, great thinkers and movie stars in the mid-20th century. The photo came with a certificate of authenticity stating that Churchill had in fact signed the photo: “Yours Sincerely, Winston S. Churchill, 1942.”
When the autograph began to fade, he sought out someone to restore it, only to be told it was not actually an autograph — the print was reproduced from a book published in 1980, and Churchill died in 1965.
As Courthouse News Service reports, Smerconish sued Arader Galleries for fraud and intentional misrepresentation, citing the certificate of authenticity’s statement that the print was “the only one of this, the quintessential photograph of Churchill we have ever seen offered for sale in the United States.” He also sued for breach of contract and breach of warranty, asking for a total of $150,000.
(H/t Johnny Dollar)