Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Gardner Art Heist Style Robbery Prevented at the Barnes Art Collection, Cezanne's "The Card Players" Saved !!

Barnes Rejects Montgomery County Lease Offer

By Jeremy Rogoff
Barnes Foundation Chairman Bernard C. Watson has turned down a funding proposal offered by Montgomery County to keep the historic art collection in its Merion home.
Watson rejected the proposal Monday in a letter to a lawyer representing the county, saying the foundation had made binding commitments to Philadelphia to relocate to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. He added that the "decision is irreversible."

In a written statement, a spokesman for the foundation said today that "the Barnes Foundation has already raised $150 million from a broad base of donors, has the steady support of the city of Philadelphia and a lease for a city block on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and will shortly pick a world-class architect to build a new home for the art collection to fulfill its mission."

In a letter sent June 12, Montgomery County asked the foundation to consider selling the county the building where the art collection is housed and the grounds, with the county using tax-exempt bonds to raise money for the purchase. The art collection would remain where it is, and the Barnes would pay rent to the county by investing profits from the sale.

Mark Schwartz, a lawyer hired by Montgomery County to keep the Barnes in Merion, criticized Watson's swift rejection of the proposal, saying that the chairman "turned down this offer with the brush of a hand."

Schwartz vowed he would continue the fight in Montgomery County Orphans' Court, claiming Watson was disregarding "his fiduciary resposibility," to the foundation.

Barnes Rebuffs Montco Offer
By: Jim McCaffrey, The Bulletin

Philadelphia - And they are off to court.
Once again the Barnes Foundation has probably landed itself in court, where it will again have to defend its decisions. This comes thanks to its response yesterday to Montgomery County's offer to create an endowment for the foundation. The county believes it can do this by purchasing the Barnes' properties using money from the sale of low interest, county-backed bonds and leasing the properties back to the foundation.

The offer would create a fund worth "at least" $50 million, according to Montco attorney in this matter Mark Schwartz.

Yesterday, Bernard Watson, chairman of the Barnes Foundation, rejected the Montco offer.
"The Barnes Foundation intends to fulfill its mission 'to promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of fine arts' by moving the gallery collection to the site on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway provided to us by the city of Philadelphia," Watson said in his reply.
"Over the years, the board of trustees has considered all reasonable proposals presented to us. At this juncture, we have now made binding commitments to carry out the move of the gallery collection to Philadelphia and the decision is irreversible."

The bond money would purchase the foundation's property in Lower Merion as well as its Chester County estate known as Ker Feal.
Interest on $50 million would amount to approximately $3.5 million a year. Payments to the county would be only $2.5 million a year, leaving the Barnes a $1 million per year financial cushion.

The deal is contingent on the Barnes Foundation agreeing to keep its $30 billion art collection in its Merion home. The plan has the virtue of using no taxpayer money.
The foundation last year negotiated a deal with the Lenfest Foundation, the Pew Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation, the city of Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania to move the Barnes art collection to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

So far the state has committed $25 million in matching grant funds to the move.
After watching silently from the sidelines as the foundation struggled to overcome hurdles placed before it by the efforts of Walter Annenberg's lawyers, Montgomery County finally decided last week it should probably make a last-minute jump to try and rescue what are undeniably its crown jewels.

This decision also comes after taking no action when zoning laws imposed by the township handcuffed the Barnes' ability to raise the visibility of its collection, and after county watchdogs did not even so much as a bark when the Philadelphia came in and made the deal to steal away the fabulous art collection.

Schwartz promised he would now take the offer to Montgomery County Orphans' Court where he will ask Judge Stanley Ott to decide if the Foundation is properly fulfilling its fiduciary duty by rejecting the Montgomery County offer.
"One of the interesting things is understanding the mindset," Schwartz explained in a phone conversation yesterday. "The fiduciary is supposed to exhaust all its options. It's not for Bernard Watson to sit on a throne and wait to be presented with options. They could have gone to the county and said 'let's do this financing.'

"They feel like they don't have to do anything. They act like they are above it all. Now the emperor has no clothes. I don't believe Bernard Watson's testimony that the foundation exhausted all its options before reaching out to the Pew Foundation."

He added, "Bernard Watson is not only contemptuous of his responsibility to the trust, he is not only contemptuous of Montgomery County and Judge Ott, he is contemptuous of tax payers."

Jim McCaffrey can be reached at

Art Hostage comments:

It is with considerable interest that I watch how this develops because of a personal interest and connection to the Barnes Art Collection.

Let me begin, it was in January 2005 that information was received from the Underworld about Irish Gangsters, with Traveller connections from the West of Ireland, and who's members had been responsible for some of the biggest high profile art thefts of recent times, had been to the United States for Automatic weapons training on the East Coast of America..

This was a result of several failed assassination attempts because of poor shooting accuracy as well as the lack of training to use automatic weapons.

The West of Ireland Organised crime Clans have possession of, an interest in, and access to, some of the most valuable stolen art in the world currently outstanding. Vermeer and co from the Gardner Museum Boston, Da Vinci from Scotland, Cezanne from Oxford England, White Duck from Norfolk England, Harry Hyams unique artworks etc etc.

The only way to recover these items is to buy them back, or offer a deal that may involve less jail time. Distasteful as this may be, it is the only way left, as numerous attempts to try and sting these Irish Clansmen have all failed, and nearly led to a gun battle last fall.

Whilst in the United States honing their weapons skills, these Irish Traveller Gangsters met with American/Irish Travellers who hail from a place called Murphy Village South Carolina.

(Contact was also established with Irish Travellers who live in Mansions outside Dallas, and who obtain their considerable wealth by conning the elderly across the United States into paying extortionate amounts for shoddy sub-standard building work. These high rollers, within the Irish Travelling community of America, also organise art and antiques thefts from their building work customers, who are often elderly and have valuable art and antiques.)

During the Modus Vivendi meeting the subject of the Barnes Art Collection came up and because of all the uncertainty surrounding the fate of the collection, perhaps there was chance to execute a Art Heist similar to that of the Gardner Heist in Boston 1990.

Similar type of location, not high tech security, in-experienced guards on low pay etc.

Shocked at this news, Art Hostage contacted FBI Agent Robert Wittman to discuss how to counter this threat.

Such was the shock and horror FBI Agent Robert Wittman headed for the Barnes straight away to conduct a brand new security assessment and put the Barnes Art Collection on lock down.

Subsequent threats were neutralised, not least by the public show of high security and visible increase in visitor awareness.

Now the Barnes is back in the news it has me thinking that the art collection could still be in danger, especially when it moves to its new location, and would it be best if the FBI Art Crime Team personally oversee the transportation?

There is always a risk of a private security transportation guard being corrupted which could lead to a hold up.

I shudder to think if after all the controversy surrounding the Barnes Art Collection, a number of artworks get stolen, especially "The Card Players" by Cezanne, which resonates like the "The Concert" by Vermeer stolen from the Gardner Museum.

Don't worry, I have communicated my fears to FBI Agent Robert Wittman, who, I am sure has put in place mechanisms that will prevent any Gardner style Art Heist.

I expect the Barnes Art Collections most valuable works, including Cezanne's "The Card Players" will be escorted to their new home via the Presidential limousine, accompanied personally by FBI Agent Robert Wittman.

The game is to identify targets that Art thieves have also looked at, then plug any security gaps to make the Art thieves look elsewhere. The only loss is travel expenses for the Art Thieves.

Prevention is better than cure.

Just another tale of how a major art theft was thwarted.

Upon another note, it has been the topic of conversation around the art related crime world about FBI Agent Robert Wittman retiring this coming October, and to add insult to injury, the FBI Art Crime Team is to be down-graded, a victim of it's own huge success.

If Bob Wittman does retire, then what a golden opportunity for the Barnes Art Collection to employ a man who strides across the Art World like a Colossus.

Head of Security at the Barnes collection will only be one of many titles awaiting FBI Agent Robert Wittman in retirement.

U.S. Culture Secretary, Hollywood Crime Host, Cultural Author...etc

Friday, June 08, 2007

Stolen Vermeer, Hunt for Whitey Bulger brings Charlie Hill, out of the Closet !!

Breaking news:
INLA Leader conveniently found dead in cell

Does this help smooth the way for Gardner art to surface, yes when FBI/Irish Authorities take "Yes" for an answer

Chris Roberts/A.K.A., Charlie Hill and FBI Bulger Squad get in character to trace Whitey Bulger !!!!!

UK expert on the trail of godfather suspected of masterminding $350m art heist
Sandra Laville in Las Palmas
Monday June 4, 2007

The Guardian
"No, the legs are wrong. The walk is wrong. He'd be wearing a hat, and sunglasses, always sunglasses."
Along the two-mile promenade of Playa de las Canteras, elderly men with white hair and skin the colour of worn leather pass the time of day with friends. Some walk purposefully along the beach skirting the surf line, baseball hats pulled down on their heads. Others sit on benches smoking cigarettes.

Secreted here, amid the sweep of hotels, facades of broken-down buildings and surfers' haunts, is a British art crime investigator working under the pseudonym Chris Roberts to protect his anonymity. Nearing 60, he is a loner, with strong contacts in the criminal underworld and a reputation for finding what he seeks. He is convinced he will know the man he wants when he sees him. The legs will be distinctive, strong and significantly bowed, lending an unmistakeable sway to the walk. The face will be chiselled, the arms muscular despite his 77 years and the blue eyes hidden behind aviator sunglasses. He will be carrying a knife.

For 12 years James "Whitey" Bulger has evaded capture. The violent and feared godfather of the Irish mob in Boston, Massachusetts, Whitey fled the US in 1995 after being tipped off by a corrupt FBI agent, John Connolly, that an indictment was heading his way. With Connolly now in jail in the US, Whitey, so named because of his slick of white hair, is wanted for 19 murders, violating the laws against organised crime, extortion, drug dealing and money laundering, all committed from the early 1970s to the mid-80s. Considered armed and extremely dangerous, he ranks in the top 10 of the FBI's list of most-wanted villains and carries a $1m (£500,000) bounty.

In 12 years the FBI's Bulger taskforce has searched England, Ireland, France, Italy, Thailand and Brazil for Whitey - the man on whom Martin Scorsese is said to have modelled Frank Costello, played by Jack Nicholson in the Oscar-winning film The Departed.

What might appear to be a search for a needle in a haystack has recently focused on Spain. The US attorney in Boston, Michael Sullivan, will not comment on the investigation but it is understood a Spanish arrest warrant has been issued for Bulger and investigators from the justice department have recently travelled to the Canary Islands in the hunt for him.

What brings Roberts, one of Britain's leading specialist art crime investigators, to Gran Canaria dates back to 1990 in Boston, a city where nothing moved in the underworld without the Irish godfather knowing about it.

In the early hours of March 18, as Boston's St Patrick's Day celebrations drew to a close, two thieves, dressed in ill-fitting police uniforms, carried out one of the biggest art heists in history.

Thirteen paintings worth $350m - including Rembrandt's only seascape, The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, The Concert by Jan Vermeer, Landscape with an Obelisk by Govaert Flinck, five Degas drawings and a Manet portrait - were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

The thieves handcuffed and bound the guards and ripped the canvases from the frames, leaving the ragged edges of the masterpieces protruding from the smashed glass and splintered wood.

The crime may have taken place 17 years ago, but the hunt for the paintings continues. Many investigators believe Bulger was the mastermind. "Find Whitey and you find the paintings," said Roberts.

Armed with tips from informants, Roberts treads the beaches of Gran Canaria scanning the groups of old men in their 70s, watches the ferry port and sits scouring hotel lobbies, a digital camera and a notebook in his pocket. "It's like a painting, it tells you whether it's real or not if you know what you are looking for and look closely," he said.

Roberts's success in recovering masterpieces for museums and private individuals during his 30-year career belies the hard work and tedium of the traditional gumshoe. Hunting for a fugitive requires good informants, patience, instinct, tenacity and an ability to take repeated, crushing disappointments. Investigators immerse themselves in the lives of their subject in an attempt to get inside their minds. In Bulger's case the FBI lists his predilections as walking on beaches, exercise, historical buildings, libraries and a love of animals.

"He will be in a place away from the tourists, somewhere with a slightly seedy edge, where he can walk along the beach unnoticed and have control over his surroundings," said Roberts. "What he won't want is to draw attention to himself. He is very proud of his physique, so will be keeping fit. He has to be in a place where he can escape quickly, not some small village where he would stand out and could be trapped."

Roberts is one of at least two British experts trying to crack one of the art world's greatest mysteries. Other freelance bounty hunters are also looking for the paintings, attracted by the $5m reward for the safe return of the works.

Unlike most crimes, where the trail goes cold the longer the investigation continues, when it comes to high-value art thefts, the years that pass make a breakthrough more likely. "You are not looking for the thieves. It is the handlers you want, the people who have hold of the art and have laid it down to await further instructions," Roberts said.

Contacted last year by the US attorney in Boston, he has visited Spain and the Canaries four times in his search. In October last year he believed he had spotted the fugitive in a rundown part of Alicante, exercising in the early morning on the seafront. "When I saw him I took pictures, and went back and watched again. It was his walk that gave him away, I was convinced it was him."

He took several photographs, contacted the lead investigator from the US attorney's justice department in Boston and sent off the pictures. "It took seven weeks for them to turn up in Spain," he said. A return visit by Roberts during a wet, cold November drew a blank. "By then I think he was long gone."

Accusations abound that the FBI and the US attorney's justice department have been leaden-footed in the 12-year manhunt, fuelled by the history of the mobster's relationship with the bureau. For nearly two decades Bulger was a top-tier secret FBI informant and as such was given protection by his corrupt handler, Connolly, from prosecution by other agencies, including the police. The allegation is that the last thing many within the FBI want is to find Bulger and stir memories of the rampant corruption within the agency in the city.

As for the paintings, sources within the art crime underworld and the Garda believe they have been laid down in a secret hideaway in the west of Ireland, a result of strong links between Bulger's Irish mafia in Boston and senior figures within the IRA leadership at the time.

"If Bulger is caught there is no need for those who hold the paintings to hang on to them," said Roberts. "That is the moment you are likely to have a breakthrough. At the moment it is not worth the lives of those holding the art to do anything differently from what they have been told by the people who are supporting Whitey's fugitive status."

A security source within the art world said the paintings may be used as a bartering tool by known criminals. "Art thefts in general are often carried out not for actual cash but for collateral for drugs or bartering your way out of charges," said the source. "People steal art, store it away and hold on to it. When they get into trouble, they use it as a means of trying to get out of trouble."

It is known that before he fled America, Bulger travelled to Ireland, the UK and elsewhere in Europe, leaving money and other possessions in deposit boxes as a means of support when on the run. Scotland Yard became involved in the case, the Guardian understands, when one of the many boxes deposited by Bulger was found in the security vaults of a bank near Piccadilly Circus. Inside, officers found $50,000 and the key to another deposit box in Dublin. In Boston, the head of security at the Gardner museum, Anthony Amore, believes the $5m reward will eventually attract vital information."There are a number of investigations going on," said Mr Amore. "Primarily, the FBI has the jurisdiction, and they are heading up the investigation into the theft.

"From our perspective I will walk over broken glass to get the paintings back. We are optimistic. There are a number of very good people who are investigating the theft and issues around it," he said. He went on to name Roberts and another Briton.

But for Roberts the hunt ended in Gran Canaria, albeit temporarily, in disappointment and a trail gone cold. His continued conviction, however, that Bulger holds the key to finding the art comes as no surprise to museum staff.

"He was the main crime boss in Boston at the time, he knew everything that went on," said a museum source. "No one really knows what the FBI are up to, they don't tell us, but his name certainly cannot be ruled out."

Today, the empty frames of the paintings still hang on the museum walls. A notice next to the space where once Vermeer's The Concert hung reads: "On the night of March 18 1990 thieves stole 13 priceless works of art including The Concert and The Storm on the Sea of Galilee. Anyone with information is asked to contact the FBI."

Mr Amore often pauses to stare at the empty frames. "We like to look at those empty frames as place holders for our art," he said. "They are not there to mourn the loss of the paintings, but to hold a place for those important pieces which we are sure will one day be returned to the Gardner collection."

Artful dodgers

Charles Hill talks to Stephen Armstrong about catching culture thieves

Charlie Hill begins by shattering my illusions. "Jules Verne did it first," he says. "In Captain Nemo's ward room he had all these stolen masterpieces. Then you get Dr No where Sean Connery and Ursula Andress walk past Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington that had been stolen a couple of years before the film was made and Bond says 'Oh, that's where it went.' Then there's the Thomas Crown Affair and countless others - writers perpetuating the idea that collectors have paintings stolen to order." He pauses. "That's almost all bullshit."

Hill should know. He's got one of best records in the business for recovering stolen art. In 1993, while working for the art and antiquities unit of the Metropolitan police, he went undercover and returned with Vermeer's Lady Writing a Letter With Her Maid, seven years after it had been stolen by the brutal Irish gangster Martin "The General" Cahill.

In 1994 he helped track down Edvard Munch's The Scream after it was stolen from the National Gallery in Oslo.

Since leaving the force, he has helped the Marquess of Bath find Titian's Rest on the Flight into Egypt, which had been missing since 1995, and he tried unsuccessfully to negotiate for the return of the Henry Moore bronze stolen last December. "I got a call saying it had been melted down," he says regretfully. "That's the most frustrating part of the job, hearing that art has been melted down for scrap. I find it very disheartening."

Right now, Hill is pretty disheartened. A spate of bronze thefts around London shows that - after a lull - art theft is back in a new and depressing way. "The National Trust hasn't been hit for 18 months," Hill explains. "There had been plans to hit Knole [an NT property near Sevenoaks, Kent], but the gang changed their minds after they were told it wouldn't be worth their lives. One of the men, who is behind a lot of the art theft from houses - the paintings-lifted-from-walls jobs - issued instructions they weren't to do the job. The gang knew his reputation - a very violent, multifaceted criminal - so they did an ATM instead."

He says this as we wander through Kew Gardens, near his home in Twickenham, on the day news broke that one of Lynn Chadwick's Watchers had been lifted from the grounds of Roehampton University. "These bronze thefts - they're part of something new." He seems gloomy at the prospect. "When my contact told me the Moore had been melted down, he said they'd got a couple of grand for it and considered it a good night's work."

This new type of theft depresses Hill because there's so little time between the crime and the crucible. He works on jobs that take years - years spent following ripples in a murky pool of criminal gangs and dubious art dealers until he can fish out his painted prize. "The amount of beauty matched by moral turpitude in the art world generally, but specifically in the world of art crime, is fascinating." Hill half smiles beneath his well-trimmed beard. "There's a great fluctuating moral tide and people just bob along on it."

Most of the actual thieves who snatch the pictures do so out of ignorance - they're the kind of petty criminals who could take a JCB to an ATM one day, sell some weed the next and rip a Vermeer from a stately home at the weekend. "Most art collections are very badly protected," Hill points out. "The reason is, they're on public display. You can't turn the National Gallery into Fort Knox, what's the point? They do what they can within budget, but if you're determined you can probably get away with it. The thieves are told the things are worth a fortune, that they're relatively easy to steal so they steal - then they have to get rid of them."

The bronze thefts worry him, because turning them into cash is easy. With picture thefts it's different. Once most thieves get their hands on something they've no idea how to sell it on and usually let priceless pieces go for tiny sums. It takes a few more transactions before the picture brushes against the art world proper, and then it's legal for reward money to change hands - which is usually where Hill steps in.

The only theft he can recall that matches the Technicolor glory of heist flicks was the 2003 theft of a Benvenuto Cellini gold saltcellar from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The thief had worked out that the museum's infrared detector beams met behind the cellar's plinth, so during building work he climbed the scaffolding, entered the gallery through the window and, despite triggering an alarm, made off with $58m worth of condiment.

"The cellar was recovered last Saturday by the Austrian police." Hill sounds impressed with their detective work. "What's interesting is that the guy had just buried it in a box. He'd taken quite good care of it - there was only a little damage. He was pleased with himself that he'd stolen it and he was keeping it for his own pleasure - although he had tried to turn it in for a reward, which is how they'd cottoned on to him."

If art crime is some way from fiction, Hill's own life is a proper adventure yarn. His American airforce father and British ballerina mother met during the second world war. After the war, the family became camp followers as his dad was posted around the world, "like Mother Courage", Hill jokes. He went to a dozen different schools in Europe and the US. His mother would take her kids around galleries, and it is from her that he picked up his love of the art world. He was still the son of a soldier, though, and in 1967 - one year after his father's accidental death - he volunteered for the draft, spending two years in the US infantry including a tour of Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne. He survived without a scratch and earned a reputation as a lucky charm. Other soldiers clustered around him in battle, convinced that his juju would protect them.

Hill returned to college in Washington DC in 1969 and spent his Sunday mornings watching Kenneth Clark's Civilisation at the National Gallery. Winning a Fulbright scholarship allowed him to pursue post-grad work at Trinity College, Dublin - where he met and fell in love with his wife, but fell out of love with academia. After briefly considering the church, he opted instead for the Metropolitan police and, by 1978, was a beat officer in Stoke Newington, north London.

"My beat was the top of Stamford Hill - three different groups of Orthodox Jews in the area and high immigration so it was a high-pressure job," he recalls. "I mainly arrested muggers, because I was fitter then and a good middle-distance runner - if they couldn't get away from me in the first 100 yards, I had them."

A career in CID followed, and it was while undercover that his artistic expertise came to the force's attention. He was posing as a collector looking to buy a stolen picture from two career criminals who saw the job as their retirement fund when he realised the painting was a poor Victorian forgery. He told both the crooks and his bosses and - after they'd busted the pair - he started working on art and antiquities full time. Typically he'd be undercover as a blustering American collector, although for The Scream, he posed as a representative of the Getty Institute offering a $5m reward.

"It's often easier at the robbery level to go through the criminal world, as money talks," he explains. "That's why it's so important to have rewards. Some people feel uneasy because I do cultivate bad guys I feel can help. Take the gangster who stopped the Knole job. He's the head of a large Irish travelling family over here and they'd been involved in Bath's Titian but he now feels they have to get away from raiding historic houses. Mind you, a lot of people in his family don't like him being friendly with me. I've been to his main site where his family is and I felt like Hawkeye going into the camp of the Huron chief to rescue Colonel Munro's daughters. They feel I've twisted the mind of their boss."

As we're talking, he gets a call from a guy in Scandinavia who thinks he's got a lead on the two Munch paintings stolen in 2004. Hill is delighted. He's been hoping for the call all week. He's sure that if he can talk to the people with the paintings - the thieves have all been caught and are on trial - he should be able to get them back. "It's about persuading people that they can return things and not go to jail," he says.

We head back towards the station and he ruminates on his low pay now that he's working for himself. "I left the force when I was 49, 10 years ago," he explains. "There's not much money in this game though. My wife has had to go back to work full time. Financially it's a struggle, but it's enormously worthwhile. I've held a Goya, a Munch and a Vermeer in my hands that I personally helped recover. There's nothing else I want to do. This is my vocation - I intend to do it for as long as people steal things. Which is for ever."

Stealing the show: Hill's recoveries

Lady Writing a Letter With Her Maid (Vermeer)
Russborough House, the late Sir Alfred Beit's home in Ireland, has been raided at least four times. Before the 1986 raid, Martin Cahill joined guided tours of the Beit Collection, and returned in the early hours of May 21. His gang deactivated an alarm, and hid while gardai checked the premises. They then loaded 18 works of art into stolen cars, abandoning the seven least valuable next to a nearby lake.

The Scream (Munch)
The 1994 theft of the painting (one of four Screams) took less than a minute. At 6.30am on February 12, two men smashed a window in the National Gallery, Oslo, cut the wires holding the painting in place and fled before guards responded to the alarm.

Rest on the Flight into Egypt (Titian)
The thieves entered Longleat House, Lord Bath's Wiltshire home, through a broken window on January 6 1995, a week after Charles Hill, then head of the art and antiques squad, warned art owners to improve their security.

Art Hostage comments:

Chris Roberts is the pseudonym Charlie Hill uses when he goes on a Gay Gangbanging Guardian junket. "Dick Ellis, June 4th 2007"

Charlie Hill's favorite Karaoke track, variation of the George Michael song:

"Don't Let Your Son Go Down On Me"

"Charlie Hill was once so depressed he tried to drown himself, he was found clinging to a Boy"
Michel van Rijn June 4th 2007

Charlie Hill loves Chinese food, his favourite soup:

"Cream of some young Guy"

O'h and while Charlie Hill is having a jolly up at the Guardian's expense, poor old Jimmy Johnson is languishing in Jail doing four years.

Jimmy Johnson's only crime was to try and recover stolen high value art and collect a reward.

Wonder what Jimmy Johnson will think when he next gets a visit from Charlie Hill all tanned and mincing into the visiting room like Liberace on speed??

Charlie Hill, in full regalia, ready to visit Jimmy Johnson in Jail.

Charlie, we are just joking, having a laugh, nothing personal, no offense intended.
Furthermore, Charlie Hill is certainly not Gay, in fact he has been described as the most virile Hetrosexual man ever to serve at Scotland Yard in the London Met Police.

To matters at hand:

I have been saying until I am Blue in the face that the only safe way to recover the Gardner art without the Gardner Museum paying a reward to the bad guys via Chris Roberts AKA Charlie Hill, is for General Thomas Slab Murphy to secure the Vermeer and co, paying what money is owed to underworld figures, then allowing the Vermeer and co to surface via a confession box (Symbolism of absolution)

Subsequent to the recovery of the Gardner art the Sectarian prosecution and bogus tax demand of $40 million is withdrawn against the Murphy family and that is that.

By taking this route there are no payments made that could be given to bad guys thereby not encouraging further art thefts.

It seems that authorities keep on trying to pull the tail of the Celtic Tigers, so don't be surprised to if the Tiger turns round and bites their hands off, metaphorically so to speak.

Now there is power sharing in the North it is about time there was an amnesty for past moneymaking operations and a cut off date set as May 8th 2007.

Any Republican or Loyalist moneymaking activity before May 8th 2007 should be consigned to history alongside the dark days of the Struggle/Troubles.

This amnesty should also include Jackie McDonald as well as Brian Arthur's.

If good old Bobby Storey can get a car, expense account and new job, why not afford this to other former paramilitaries?

Finally, a week in the sun courtesy of the Guardian, looking for men with bow legs sounds like a junket to me, also there is a risk of being arrested for importuning and the accusation of a sexual fetish.

I wonder if Chris Roberts had his bushy moustache, leather hat and handkerchief in the back pocket to attract the attention of Whitey Bulger??

Charlie Hill in his Spanish Undercover outfit !!!

A quick rendition of Y.MC.A

"Young man, there's no need to feel down, I said young man, ................"

Whitey Bulger was in Spain last year but now he has been in South of France, on his way to Ireland for the Summer, via Channel Tunnel, then ferry from Stranraer to Belfast.

Word is Whitey is already in West of Ireland hooking up with Dessie O'Hare,
see wikipedia search for Dessie o'hare and Sean O'Callaghan
A throw-back to the historic connections between the Boston Underworld and the I.N.L.A. namely, Joe Murray, Whitey Bulger and Dominic McGlinchey now Whitey Bulger is close to Dominic's children Dominic jnr and Declan.
Declan McGlinchey is why the FBI and Irish Authorities will not allow any reward to be paid for the Gardner art, because they fear Declan McGlinchey will use it for Terrorist purposes.
Joe Murray was murdered by Whitey Bulger, with FBI approval and not by his wife, as reported by the FBI controlled media Whores.

To be continued...............................................

The Foxes Guarding the Hen-House ?????????????????

To be continued..................................................................

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Stolen Vermeer, Politics, Prevents, Homecoming !!!!

The Rockwell Files
Steven Spielberg's stolen painting, a St. Louis art thief, and a plot to kill Martin Luther King. It could make a helluva movie.
By Chad Garrison
Published: June 6, 2007

The fallout was bound to get ugly. But who knew it would get so strange?

In March filmmaker Steven Spielberg was found in possession of a stolen Norman Rockwell painting. As the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, CNN and countless other media outlets reported then, Spielberg purchased the pilfered art for $200,000 in 1989 — some sixteen years after it disappeared from a suburban St. Louis gallery during an early-morning burglary.

The artwork in question, an oil-on-canvas piece titled Russian Schoolroom, was commissioned by Look magazine in 1967. Today it has a value of nearly $700,000. According to federal authorities, Spielberg first learned of the painting's dubious provenance in late February, when one of his employees noticed the painting listed on the FBI's Art Crime Team Web site. In a press release issued March 2, the FBI stated: "Mr. Spielberg is cooperating fully with the FBI and will retain possession of the Russian Schoolroom until its disposition can be determined."

Now a civil legal battle has erupted over the ownership of the filched painting. Last month Jack Solomon — owner of the now-defunct Clayton art gallery, Arts International, from which the painting was stolen in 1973 — sued both Spielberg and the FBI for ownership of the painting.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Solomon's home state of Nevada alleges that the FBI "has allowed defendant Spielberg to retain possession of the Rockwell painting and failed to return the subject artwork to plaintiff Solomon despite the FBI's actual knowledge of the theft, recovery and ownership."

Meanwhile, Judy Goffman Cutler, the Rhode Island-based art dealer who sold the painting to Spielberg in 1989, has filed suit against Solomon and the Art Loss Register Inc., an agency that is assisting Solomon in retrieving the painting. In a lawsuit also filed last month in federal court, Goffman Cutler claims Solomon's insurer paid him $25,000 for the artwork following the heist and that he no longer has any claim to the painting.

Goffman Cutler further alleges that the Art Loss Register intimidated her by threatening to have criminal charges filed against her and that Jack Solomon defamed her character in an interview with Riverfront Times this spring. In Kristen Hinman's article published March 7, Solomon claims Goffman Cutler "should have known better" and "could have checked that there's been a record of this ever since the day it was stolen."

Goffman Cutler also asserts that Spielberg — an avid art collector and board member for the Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts — severed his business relationship with her shortly after Solomon made his accusations to the paper. She is asking the court to award her $5 million for the loss of the Spielberg account and another $10 million for "general damage to her reputation in her profession."

On May 11 the movie mogul transferred title of Russian Schoolroom back to Goffman Cutler in exchange for another Rockwell piece. Spielberg spokesman Marvin Levy says the filmmaker is cooperating with officials and the FBI has been kept abreast of every move.

"Steven was prepared to turn it over to the FBI, but they asked us to hold onto it for safekeeping," says Levy. "We're doing whatever they tell us."

Solomon and his attorneys contend that Spielberg should never have signed the title to the painting back over to Goffman Cutler. The maneuver, they assert, does not clear the famed director of Schindler's List and other Oscar-winning films of culpability.

"It's very disappointing that Steven Spielberg — who is so active in Holocaust causes and other philanthropies — chose in this case not to assist a theft victim recover what's his," says Christopher Marinello, general counsel for the Art Loss Register in New York.

But even as new allegations over the ownership of the painting come to light, parties on both sides of the debate are whispering of a far more intriguing wrinkle to the story. They note that the government press releases that heralded the painting's discovery last March make no mention of the person (or persons) who stole Russian Schoolroom in the first place.

The omission, say people familiar with the case, could be for good reason and may very well be tied to the thief's association with a St. Louis-based plot to kill Martin Luther King Jr. It's a wild story, full of FBI oversights and fumbles — and a tale the feds might prefer remain a mystery.

Mary Ellen Shortland was 28 years old and working as assistant director of Arts International when someone smashed though the gallery's front door on June 25, 1973.

Shortland, now 62 and owner of Creative Art Gallery & Framing in south St. Louis, recalls the theft of Russian Schoolroom as one of the great disappointments in her young career. She says Arts International was hosting an exhibit of signed Rockwell prints that June. In an effort to build publicity for the three-week show, Jack Solomon (who owned Arts International, as well as dozens of other galleries across the nation) had an employee from one of his Kansas City studios drive Russian Schoolroom to St. Louis.

The painting had been here for just one day when on June 21 Shortland sold it for $25,000 to the late Bert Elam, a St. Louis concrete contractor and art collector. Elam agreed to let the gallery display the work until the end of the show. Four days later, on June 25, a thief made off with the painting and Shortland nearly lost her best customer.

"Mr. Elam was very unhappy that I'd talked him into letting us keep the painting," recalls Shortland. "Later he found out that the painting was probably worth more like $40,000. He'd gotten a heck of a deal, only for it to be robbed out from under him."

In the end, the gallery reimbursed Elam the money he put down on the painting and Arts International retained title to the work. Later the gallery was paid $25,000 from its insurer for the loss.

A few weeks after the theft, Elam hired a private detective to investigate. Shortland recalls that the detective came back with disturbing news. "He said he'd found the people who'd stolen it, and they were a bad outfit," remembers Shortland. "He warned Mr. Elam that even if he got the painting back, they'd just steal it again."

Shortland would eventually forget about the painting. Then — sixteen years after its disappearance — she was flipping through the July/August 1989 edition of the trade magazine Art & Auction when she came across an advertisement announcing the sale of Russian Schoolroom.

"I did a complete double-take," she says. "That painting was stolen, and it cost me a lot of money and headaches. I thought to myself: 'You got to be kidding me.'"

Shortland says she tried to call Jack Solomon at his Chicago offices but was unable to get through. She then called Judy Goffman Fine Art in Manhattan, which was listed in the magazine as the gallery selling the work. "I asked, 'Do you actually have the painting?'" recalls Shortland. "They said, 'Sure.' They were asking something like $175,000 for it."

Shortland's queries into the work were later chronicled by former Riverfront Times reporter Wm. Stage in the October 11, 1989, issue of this paper. Stage wrote that he also attempted to get in touch with Solomon to no avail. He did, however, succeed in interviewing Judy Goffman Cutler, who told him she'd recently sold the Rockwell to a person whom she declined to name.

As to the claims that the painting had been stolen, Stage reported that Goffman Cutler told him the artist often did several studies of one painting. The stolen Rockwell, surmised Goffman Cutler, must have been a different version of the one she'd recently sold.

Stage later interviewed an agent with the FBI who spoke on the condition that he not be quoted directly or named in the story. The agent told Stage the FBI investigated the painting a year earlier, in 1988, when a Rockwell scholar notified the agency that Russian Schoolroom was listed for sale at an auction in New Orleans. (Goffman Cutler won the bidding at $70,400.) The agent told Stage the matter was then routed to the FBI's St. Louis office, but the investigation became stymied when no one could find a police report for the stolen work.

This past March Frank Brostrom, a special agent in charge of the FBI's Art Crime Team, told Riverfront Times that he was prompted to reopen the case in 2004 when "a friendly source in the community" tipped him off to Stage's 1989 article. He, too, acknowledged that the police report was missing.

"For whatever reason authorities at the time were unable to locate the original police report or confirm the painting had ever been stolen," Brostrom told the RFT.

Earlier this year agent Frank Brostrom was transferred from the FBI's St. Louis office to North Carolina. He could not be reached for comment for this story. Agents familiar with the Russian Schoolroom case in St. Louis and Los Angeles would not comment on specifics other than what's already been reported.

If, however, the police report was missing back in 1989, it's now readily available at the Clayton Police Department. "I got a call from the FBI about two years ago on this and we were able to pull the report from our archives right away," says Clayton police captain Kevin Murphy. "How or why that wasn't the case then, I can't tell you."

The six-page report gives the value of the painting as $20,000 and notes the owner as both Arts International and Bert Elam. An appendix to the report provides a witness testimony from a man who claimed to see a black male break through the front door of the gallery at 6:40 a.m. and leave seconds later with a painting tucked under his arm. Nothing else in the gallery was touched during the smash-and-run.

Clayton police can produce several more larceny reports from the same address at 8113 Maryland Avenue. During a stretch in the mid-1970s the gallery was a constant target, with a persistent thief (or thieves) burglarizing the gallery on at least four separate occasions between 1973 and 1977.

The most interesting of those break-ins occurred July 8, 1976, when a crook pried open the front door to the gallery and left with seven Rockwell lithograph prints valued at more than $7,000.

In late February 1978 those prints would be recovered in the Rock Hill home of Russell G. Byers. A notorious St. Louis art thief, Byers would testify before the House Select Committee on Assassinations in May 1978 that he'd once been offered $50,000 by two Jefferson County businessmen to kill Martin Luther King Jr.

Byers declined the offer, but the House committee found enough circumstantial evidence to believe James Earl Ray may have been motivated by the very same bounty when he gunned down King in Memphis on April 4, 1968.

Several inches of snow lay on the ground the night of Sunday, January 29, 1978, when an old Chevrolet Impala pulled up in front of the Saint Louis Art Museum. Three men in ski masks emerged from the vehicle. One of them carried a sledgehammer.

In plain sight of people sledding on Art Hill, the men smashed a window and disappeared into the building. Two minutes later at 10:39 p.m., the men exited the museum, taking with them four statues valued at nearly $100,000 — including Frederic Remington's The Bronco Buster, valued at nearly $40,000.

Three weeks later — on Monday, February 20 — thieves once again broke into the museum. This time they smashed through the glass door to the museum's east wing at approximately 8:24 p.m. The burglars went up the east stairway and made off with three bronze sculptures by famed French sculptor Auguste Rodin, best known for his iconic piece The Thinker. By the time the museum guards arrived minutes later, the thieves and the Rodin sculptures — valued at $45,000 — were nowhere to be found.

Eight days after the second museum heist, St. Louis detectives picked up John A. Crenshaw on federal charges of robbing a jewelry store in Illinois. They were interrogating the 25-year-old suspect at police headquarters when Crenshaw shocked police by implicating himself in the museum break-ins.

Crenshaw told the detectives that Russell Byers had taken him to the museum prior to the January 29 robbery and shown him which statues he wanted him to steal. He said Byers paid him and his accomplices $700 for the first museum burglary. Crenshaw burglarized the museum a second time because the first theft had been "so easy." Shortly after both robberies Crenshaw allegedly handed over the stolen art to Byers in a street exchange in the 5500 block of Cabanne Avenue in north city.

Crenshaw suggested that at least six of the seven stolen statues could be found with Byers. The seventh statue, a wood carving of St. Sebastian appraised at $4,500, was hidden away in Crenshaw's garage in north St. Louis. At 11 a.m. some 20 law enforcement officials — including the FBI — descended on Byers' home in Rock Hill. They carried with them a search warrant. When Byers' wife refused them entry, they broke through a door pane and entered the home.

The statues weren't there, but police found plenty of other loot. As Byers' wife and two teenage children stood outside on the lawn, police removed an estimated $300,000 worth of stolen artwork — including two paintings signed by Rembrandt, six oriental rugs, more than 100 silver candelabras, jade dishes and the seven Norman Rockwell lithographs stolen from Arts International in the 1976 burglary.

It would take another several weeks before the police recovered the six missing statues from the museum. Remington's The Bronco Buster turned up in a Goodwill drop box on Forest Park Avenue. Two other statues were found at a hotel on Oakland Avenue. Other statues were found in the back lot of a metal company on Manchester Road.

A few hours after police stormed his home, Byers turned himself into city police. The 46-year-old Byers gave his occupation as a vending-machine dealer. He was released on a $5,000 bond. At the time the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Byers had been arrested in St. Louis City and St. Louis County on several occasions in the 1960s.

In 1965 he had been convicted in U.S. District Court in St. Louis of conspiracy to commit auto theft and was placed on probation. Records show Byers faced two criminal charges in St. Louis County in the 1970s. Both cases remain sealed.

In the weeks and months following the first museum burglary in 1978, two of Byers' and Crenshaw's associates met violent deaths. Twenty-nine-year-old Charles Gunn, who assisted Crenshaw in the first break-in, was found shot in the head February 17 in a north St. Louis alley. On June 11 police discovered the disfigured body of 42-year-old Sam White in a field in Madison County, Illinois. Described by police as "Byers' right-hand man" White had been shot three times and his body so badly burned it took several days to identify him.

After initially implicating Byers in the museum thefts, Crenshaw refused to testify against him in court. Crenshaw was sentenced to four years in prison. Byers got off scot-free.

In July 1978 St. Louis Circuit Attorney George Peach told the Post-Dispatch that without Crenshaw's testimony, the case against Byers was "too weak" to pursue. In St. Louis County, the prosecutor's office gave the newspaper a similar account. They would not file charges against Byers for possessing the Rockwell lithographs stolen from Arts International.

It wasn't just local prosecutors who were dropping charges against Byers. On May 9, 1978, the U.S. House of Representatives granted Byers immunity under the Organized Crime Control Act for any possible prosecution involving his association with a St. Louis-based plot to assassinate Martin Luther King.

Today, those entangled in the legal battle with Steven Spielberg wonder if Byers didn't cut a similar deal to avoid prosecution in the disappearance of Russian Schoolroom. They say given Byers' taste for illicit art, it's likely he's the person who contracted the painting's heist in 1973.

Byers' involvement might also explain why no one has been charged with the theft — and why the FBI failed to close in on the painting in 1988 and 1989 when its agents claim the police report went missing.

Sound far-fetched? Perhaps, but Byers himself does not entirely rule it out.

Russell Byers' modest brick home sits at the end of a cul-de-sac in the quiet suburb of Rock Hill. It's the same house police raided back in 1978. A picture window with a blue awning faces out into the front lawn. Two yapping Yorkshire terriers announce the arrival of anyone who steps near the property.

On a recent weekday afternoon the silhouette of a man appears behind a screened door. Before I can even reach the driveway, the man calls out: "Who are you? What do you want?"

I explain that I'm looking for Russell Byers. I want to talk to him about some art thefts back in the 1970s. The man responds that Byers is not home, and even if he were, why would he want to talk? "What's in it for him?"

I'm curious if he knows anything about a famous Norman Rockwell painting stolen in 1973. The painting, I explain, is now in the possession of filmmaker Steven Spielberg.

"It's a hell of a story, isn't it?" the man responds. "Maybe there's a lot more to it than you know." After a few minutes the man steps outside and walks over to where I'm standing in the driveway. A wrought-iron fence separates us.

At 76 years old, Byers no longer appears like the underworld thug newspaper articles once made him out to be. In fact, he looks downright grandfatherly. His white hair is parted neatly down the side. He wears slip-on loafers with blue socks, a pair of stone-colored khakis and a short-sleeve Oxford cloth shirt. A silver Rolex dangles from his left arm.

Byers' cheeks are a ruddy pink. He blinks his blue eyes constantly — the result, he says, of surgery to relieve a problem with his tear ducts. "Don't think I'm retarded," he says of the blinking. "I still have all my marbles."

Byers then returns to the matter at hand: his possible connection to stolen Rockwell painting. "Why would I want to tell you anything about that? Why would I want the aggravation and the humiliation?"

I tell him that the statute of limitations for the theft has long since expired. I ask him if anyone else has contacted him about Russian Schoolroom. The FBI, he confirms, has asked him about the painting. Any more information, says Byers, will cost me. He wants money to talk.

I tell him that it's against the policy of the RFT to pay sources, adding that I doubted the New York Times paid him when it interviewed him for a front-page story on July 26, 1978, which revealed for the first time Byers' role in a St. Louis plot to assassinate King.

"I was in Newsweek and Time magazine, too," boasts Byers. "But none of them got the whole story."

The article published in the New York Times in 1978 described Byers' testimony before the House committee as an "embarrassment" to the FBI. According to the Times article — and backed by congressional reports — an informant first told the FBI in 1973 that Byers knew of a conspiracy hatched in St. Louis in the 1960s to kill the civil rights leader. But the FBI misfiled the information and it did not come to light until 1978 — long after several of the key players in the scheme were dead and gone.

When contacted by the House committee in 1978, Byers first denied any knowledge that he'd been offered money to kill King. Later he agreed to testify in exchange for immunity. Byers, according to congressional reports, told the committee that he was approached in late 1966 or '67 by John Kauffmann, a former St. Louis stockbroker and owner of a motel and drug company in Imperial.

The two men had a business relationship of sorts, with Kauffmann accepting payment from Byers in exchange for allowing him to squirrel away stolen merchandise at Kauffmann's Jefferson County motel. Byers told the committee that in '66 or '67 Kauffmann asked him if he would like to make $50,000.

The following comes directly from the committee report: "Kauffmann told him to meet him at 6:30 that evening, which Byers did, and together they drove to the home in Imperial of John Sutherland, a St. Louis patent attorney. The three men met in a study that Byers described as decorated with Confederate flags and Civil War memorabilia. There was a rug replica of a Confederate flag as well, and Sutherland was wearing what appeared to Byers to be a Confederate colonel's hat.

"After some social conversation, Byers asked Sutherland what he would have to do for the $50,000. Sutherland said he would have to kill, or arrange to have killed, Dr. Martin Luther King. Byers, who told the committee he did not know at the time who Dr. King was, asked where that amount of money would come from.

"Sutherland told him he belonged to a secret southern organization that had plenty of money. According to Byers, no names were mentioned. Byers said he neither accepted nor rejected the offer, indicating he would think it over. Outside the door of Sutherland's home, however, he told Kauffmann he was not interested."

Based on Byers' testimony, the House committee launched what it described as a "full-scale investigation" of Byers, Kauffmann and Sutherland. The committee discovered that Byers had told two St. Louis attorneys the same story in 1968 and again in 1974. Both attorneys corroborated Byers' story under questioning.

Further, an unpaid informant for the Jefferson County sheriff's office in the 1960s testified to hearing the same "standing offer to murder Dr. King" among guests who frequented Kauffmann's Buff Acres motel, which at the time was a known haven for prostitutes, drug dealers and petty criminals.

Kauffmann died in April 1974. John Sutherland had passed away four years earlier. But in 1968 both men were active in the American Independent Party, which backed segregationist Alabama governor George Wallace for president. Also heavily involved in local efforts to elect Wallace was James Earl Ray's brother, John Larry Ray.

The House committee described John Ray's now-shuttered Grapevine Tavern across from Benton Park in south St. Louis as a "distribution point for American Party campaign literature." John Ray was even known to drive voters to the election office to register with the party.

Also active in the American Independent Party was James Earl Ray, who was serving a twenty-year sentence for armed robbery when he broke out of the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City in April 1967. While on the lam, Ray worked briefly for the Wallace campaign in California.

The committee believed Ray's brothers, John and Jerry Ray, assisted him during his flight from justice. And while the congressional investigators could find no "direct link" between the principals of the St. Louis conspiracy and King's killer, they believed there was a likelihood that word of the standing offer on Dr. King's life reached James Earl prior to the assassination.

"James Earl Ray may simply have been aware of the offer and acted with a general expectation of payment after the assassination," the House committee reported. "Or he may have acted, not only with an awareness of the offer, but also after reaching a specific agreement, either directly or through one or both brothers, with Kauffmann or Sutherland."

The committee concluded its investigation into Byers' claims of a St. Louis conspiracy by opining: "It is unfortunate that this information was not developed in 1968, when it could have been pursued by law enforcement agencies. It is a matter on which reasonable people may legitimately differ, but the committee believes that the conspiracy that eventuated in Dr. King's death in 1968 could have been brought to justice in 1968."

Today Byers shies away from discussing what he told the congressional committee in 1978. He says journalists and conspiracy theorists still knock on his door, trying to get him to share his story. None, apparently, have forked over enough cash to hear his tale.

Byers, meanwhile, says he remains confused by the testimony of at least one individual from the congressional hearings. Murray Randall was one of the St. Louis lawyers who testified to hearing Byers discuss the offer to assassinate King in 1968 and again in 1974. Later Randall went on to become a judge in St. Louis.

"The judge told the FBI that I was the most notoriously dangerous criminal in St. Louis," says Byers. "I don't know where that came from. We were friends."

Byers says he never cut a deal with the feds to avoid prosecution for the Saint Louis Art Museum burglaries in 1978 and takes issue with allegations that he killed or arranged for the murder of accomplices Charlie Gunn and Sam White. "I didn't have anything to do with it," says Byers. "Black guys were always killing each other back then. What can I say?

"Don't make me out to be a bad guy," Byers tells me. "The media always makes me out to be a bad guy. I'm no murderer. I've never killed anyone."

I'm not saying you killed anyone, I tell him. I simply want to discuss what — if anything — he knows about the Russian Schoolroom painting. When he again brings up the subject of money, I suggest I might have the wrong person — that someone else probably stole the painting.

As I walk down the driveway to my car, Byers coyly responds, "You know, you're right. I'm sure art thieves all over the world were targeting that little gallery in Clayton. Come back later," he adds, "when you have your pocketbook."

Art Hostage comments:

A careful analasis of this story leads one to believe that the FBI could have recovered the Gardner Art in a heartbeat, if so minded.

Make no mistake, when the truth comes out about the investigation of the Gardner Heist there will be a scandal that befits the corrupting influences that have dogged Boston politics and law enforcement for decades.

Over the years there have been numerous occasions where the Gardner art could, and should have been recovered, but for politics to get in the way.

There is currently a deal on the table that will see the Vermeer and possibly the rest of the Gardner art surface, yes, via a confession box for the symbolism of absolution.

Unfortunetly, the authorities are refusing to allow any recovery of the Gardner art, not just because of any reward payments that may or may not be paid, but the political fallout that will occur by the any Gardner artwork surfacing.

In short, the FBI and others will not take "Yes" for an answer.

Now, read again the article above, analize, and think about the circumstances of the Gardner Heist, Whitey Bulger, corrupt FBI Agents John Zip Connolly, serving ten years, indicted for murder, the 27 e-mails sent to FBI Headquarters over many years concerning the actions of Whitey Bulger.

The fact Current FBI Director Robert Mueller was an District Attorney in Boston throughout all of the Whitey Bulger and Gardner affairs speaks volumes and is just one reason why the FBI have been so dilatory in their investigations of Whitey Bulger and the Gardner Heist.

Now, do you still think the FBI are acting honestly with regards Whitey Bulger and the Gardner Heist????

Time for the FBI to come clean with the public and declare they have been offered the Gardner Art but will not make any deals, they are quite within their rights to do so, the public may even applaud them for this rigid stance.

Enough already with the false promises of immunity, rewards, and credit given.

Coming soon, the FBI Sting operation gone wrong that so nearly ended in a gun battle !!!!!!!!!!!!!