A Brooklyn-based art storage warehouse, NYC Art Handlers, is suing the Chelsea art dealer Fergus McCaffrey in New York State Supreme Court for allegedly failing to pay at least $145,583 in storage fees.
The company says in its court claim, filed on July 31, that it has stored artworks for the gallery at its warehouse on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn since 2016. Then, despite issuing several invoices and demanding payment, the gallery failed to pay for services rendered, the papers allege.
Now, NYC Art Handlers, which is owned by Jamil Hoskins, is requesting that the court order McCaffrey to transfer the title of the artworks currently in storage to the company so it can auction off the property and satisfy the debt, the papers state.
“My client Jamil Hoskins worked hard as an art handler and, at 33, opened his own fine art warehouse,” the company’s attorney, Wendy Lindstrom, says. “He should not have to finance Fergus McCaffrey’s art storage or chase him to pay his invoices.”
Gallery owner Fergus McCaffrey told a different story. He claims that, late last year, the gallery decided to move its storage in-house. “That’s when things went downhill,” he tells Artnet News. When the gallery told the storage company of its decision, it “repeatedly ignored our requests to move our work, has sought to add meritless additional charges to our account, and has tried to use our works as leverage against us,” McCaffrey says.
McCaffrey adds that the gallery and the storage company had previously had a positive working relationship for seven years. “While we would prefer to address this matter amicably after our long relationship, we will, if necessary, seek the assistance of the court to release our artwork and reconcile what we actually owe.”