Deadbeat celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz has a new debt collector to hide from: Art Capital Group, the artsharking operation to which Leibovitz had mortgaged her homes and photographs, has sold the debt to Colony Capital.
Leibovitz's saga of insolvency began in the fall of 2008, when she borrowed a total of $15 million from Art Capital Group, which specializes in loaning money to artists. In exchange for the loan, Leibovitz put up her homes in Greenwich Village and Rhinebeck, N.Y.—and the rights to every photograph she'd ever taken—as collateral. By last summer, she was in hock to Art Capital for a total of $24 million. She refinanced the debt last September after Art Capital sued her for failing to live up to her end of their deal, at which point it totaled $30 million, according to the New York Times.
In other words, Leibovitz doubled her already colossal debt in the course of one year, all while pulling down a reported $2 million annual salary from Vanity Fair and who knows how much from commercial work. So she seems like a good bet for a loan, right?
Now Colony Capital, a private equity firm that usually invests in real estate, has taken Leibovitz off of Art Capital's hands. According to the Financial Times, Colony—which also recently purchased the mortgage on Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch—will help Leibovitz wring money out of her library of photographs by selling signed prints and mounting touring exhibitions. That's precisely the same plan that Art Capital had, which—after nearly two years of trying—they failed to pull off. We can't figure out why Colony thinks they'll have better luck.