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Glazer's Camera

Leibovitz Reaches Tentative Legal Settlement


For now, it seems, photographer Annie Leibovitz has won some reprieve from her financial woes.

Her most recent monetary debacle began in December 2008, when Leibovitz took out a $24 million loan from Art Capital Group (ACG), putting up her photo archives, her studio and her two homes in New York as collateral, to help her pay for vendor lawsuits against her for more than $700,000 in unpaid bills. At the same time, Leibovitz signed ACG, which specializes in artist loans, as her exclusive agent through 2011.

Although Leibovitz did not repay the loan by its Sept. 8 deadline, she and ACG reached a settlement three days later. As part of the resolution, ACG has dropped a lawsuit against Leibovitz for allegedly refusing to cooperate with the art lender's efforts to sell her properties.

Had an agreement not been reached, ACG would have been entitled to up to 10 percent commission on the sale of Leibovitz's real estate and 15 percent commission on the sale of work from her portfolio.

An agreement has not been reached, however, in the lawsuit between ACG and Getty Images. In April, ACG filed a suit against Getty for making a $1.1 million deal with Leibovitz to hire her for eight assignments over the next two years. Prior to the lawsuit, Getty attempted to purchase the rights to Leibovitz's archive from ACG, but talks ended after Getty offered only $15 million for a collection valued at $50 million.

At press time, however, Leibovitz still faced at least five other unresolved lawsuits against her, four from vendors who say she owes them a combined total of nearly $800,000 and one copyright infringement suit brought by Italian photographer Paolo Pizzetti, who claims she used two of his photos in an ad campaign without permission.