Felix Salmon

Art Capital made at least $16 million off Annie Leibovitz

By Felix Salmon
April 6, 2010

What kind of interest rate do rich people pay when they borrow money? In the case of Annie Leibovitz, the answer is something over 44%. That’s the most interesting revelation from the latest court case to embroil the celebrity photographer, wherein a company called Brunswick Capital Partners says that it helped Leibovitz refinance her Art Capital Group debt with a $40 million loan from Colony Capital.

The refinancing happened in March of this year; the original loan from Art Capital, for $24 million, took place in September 2008. Which means that Leibovitz racked up at least $16 million in fees and interest payments over the course of 18 months — and that’s not including any payments that she did manage to make to Art Capital along the way. That’s a rate of something over $10 million per year on the initial loan, or 44%.

The depth of Leibovitz’s financial woes is evidenced by the fact that she paid Brunswick a $50,000 retainer plus $10,000 a month just to look for new lenders. And that’s before their $800,000 “success fee”. But obviously lending to somebody in such deep financial trouble can be highly profitable: just look at Art Capital’s profits on the deal. I wonder if the Center for Responsible Lending feels like getting involved here.

(I asked Art Capital if they had any comment about this; they said they didn’t, “because we’re bound by confidentiality provisions”.)

One comment so far | RSS Comments RSS

Annie Leibovitz will be remembered by generation after generation for her work. Those who would purposefully take advantage of such an individual to that extent, shall only deserve a legacy the length and breadth of their character!

Posted by famebook | Report as abusive

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