GAVEL TO GAVEL • Brooklyn Paper


Left with Basquiat

One Brooklyn art lover is suing another over a pilfered drawing by renowned artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

According to papers filed in the Kings County Clerk’s Office on June 3, the plaintiff, a resident of Greenpoint, claims that he co-signed a would-be art dealer the Basquiat drawing back in 2004, with the understanding that the Red Hook resident was going to sell it.

The dealer gave him a receipt and said that he was going to call him with an offer, but never did so, the papers claim.

The drawing remained with the Red Hook dealer without any buyers for two years until the plaintiff demanded that it be returned to him.

Then, in March, 2006, the Red Hook man “took it to his own use by wrongfully appropriating it” and refused to fork it over, according to court documents.

The Greenpoint resident is now suing the Red Hook art seller for $75,000, which is the estimated value of the Basquiat.

Kicked in the wallet

The family of a young girl is suing the Department of Education after their daughter was seriously injured during a friendly game of kick-ball.

The Brooklyn family claims that their little girl was playing kickball with her classmates at P.S. 206, the Jose Celso Barbosa School in Manhattan back in 2007 when “her right foot landed in a cracked and uneven area of the cement.”

The girl tripped and fell and “sustained severe and permanent personal injuries,” according to a lawsuit filed at the Kings County Clerk’s office this week.

These injuries, the family attorney claims, “were due solely as a result of the negligence, carelessness and lack of supervision of the employees agents and or servants of the New York City Board of Education,” attorney Thomas Russo said in court papers.

Russo did not indicate exactly how much the girl’s family is seeking in restitution for the injuries she suffered and the medical bills that the family has accrued.

As a policy, city officials do not comment on pending litigation.

Lost in translation

A still unidentified U.S. Army contract translator was sentenced to 121 months in prison recently for illegally possessing national defense documents and for using a false identity to procure his United States citizenship and to get his hands on the classified materials.

Officials at Brooklyn Federal Court said that translator, who went by at least five aliases including Abu Hakim, Almalik Nour Eddin and Almaliki Nour, pleaded guilty to unauthorized possession of classified documents and false identity back in 2005, following an investigation by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Brooklyn federal prosecutors charged that “john Doe” “used a false identity to apply for and gain a position as an Arabic translator for the L-3 Titan Corp., which provides translation services in Iraq for U.S. military personnel,” according to officials.

Once with L-3 Titan Corp., the translator, who lived in Brooklyn when he wasn’t serving with the military in the Middle East, was allowed to obtain secret and top secret security clearances which gave him access to private documents.

Officials charge that while he served at a U.S. Army at Al Taqqadam Air Base he downloaded classified documents, which included insurgent activity and insurgent locations that the U.S. was planning to bombard. He also downloaded military plans to protect Sunni Iraqis traveling on their pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia back in 2004. Prosecutors also allege that he took photos of battle maps identifying U.S. travel routes during the battle of Najaf, where the U.S. and Iraqi security forces sustained serious casualties.

All of these documents were recovered in the translator’s Brooklyn apartment back in 2005, officials said.

It was unclear if he had sold any of the information he collected.

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