Bitter feud at venerable New York arts club settled

Aldon James of the  National Arts Club. Credit: Reuters
Aldon James of the National Arts Club. Credit: Reuters

The former president of New York City’s National Arts Club, whose membership roster has included luminaries such as Theodore Roosevelt and Martin Scorsese, will pay $950,000 to settle claims that he misused club funds to lead a lavish lifestyle.

Aldon James was the subject of a lawsuit filed last September by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who alleged that James, his twin brother John and another club member, Steven Leitner, had taken possession of several apartments at the club and filled them with heaps of antiques and clothes, rendering them uninhabitable.

As part of the settlement, the James brothers were permanently barred from serving as an officer, director or fiduciary of any nonprofit in New York state, the attorney general’s office said on Wednesday.

The lawsuit accused Aldon James, who served as club president for 25 years, of misusing club funds to pay for travel, expensive meals and numerous purchases at flea markets.

Aside from Aldon agreeing to pay $900,000 to the club and $50,000 to the attorney general’s office to cover investigative costs, the James brothers and Leitner will have to vacate the club premises by the end of the month.

The three were expelled from the club last year.

The settlement resolves both the attorney general’s action and numerous lawsuits still pending between Aldon James and the club.

The legal wrangling had cast a shadow over the prestigious private club, which overlooks exclusive Gramercy Park in Manhattan.

“Today’s settlement allows the club to close the door on years of bitter discord and start to recover from the havoc that Aldon James and his cohorts wrought,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

Last year, an appeals court ruled that the club had been within its rights to expel Aldon James based on allegations that his mismanagement had cost the club more than $1.7 million.

Gerald Shargel, an attorney for the three men, said the settlement did not reflect any admission on their part.

“Like any other lawsuit, there may come a time when it makes sense to settle,” he said. “There was no admission of wrongdoing of any kind.”

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Phil Berlowitz)



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Movies

From 'La Femme Nikita' to 'Lucy,' a list…

French filmmaker Luc Besson has created a cottage industry of junk cinema. Here are his many unique action heroes, including Liam Neeson and "Lucy"'s Lucy.

Movies

Review: 'Lucy,' with Scarlett Johansson, is smart, stupid…

Luc Besson's "Lucy," in which Scarlett Johansson gains increased control over her brain, is a film about smart and stupid but always enjoyable.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 7,…

Drunk girls and ghost brownies: here’s your weekly ‘Pretty Little Liars’ recap by way of Q&A. Q: do they really not check for feet under…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.