Former Lehman President Gregory puts antiques on auction block

Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:15am EDT
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By Lauren Tara LaCapra

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former Lehman Brothers President Joseph Gregory, who often commuted by helicopter to work before his bank went bust, is auctioning off a collection of centuries old furniture and artwork from his Long Island mansion which sold in June.

Auction house Sotheby's said on Tuesday that "important English furniture from some of the most notable cabinet makers, along with European porcelain and decorations" would be auctioned next month in a sale devoted to the collection of Gregory and his wife, Niki.

Among the items listed for auction are two commodes - chests of drawers - made in the 1700s, estimated to be worth up to $120,000 and $400,000, and a painting by the Dutch artist Bartholomeus Assteyn titled "A Still Life of Grapes, Cherries, Peaches and Other Fruit in a Basket, with a Rose and a Dragonfly on a Stone Ledge," listed for $60,000 to $80,000.

Before Lehman collapsed five years ago, Gregory boasted he had a personal spending budget of more than $15 million a year, Vicky Ward wrote in "The Devil's Casino: Friendship, Betrayal, and the High Stakes Games Played Inside Lehman Brothers," a book about how key personalities at the firm led it to ruin.

Joe often flew from Long Island to his midtown Manhattan office in a seaplane or helicopter. And Niki, who had a taste for expensive shoes, took trips to Los Angeles just to go shopping, according to author Ward.

In 2009, Joseph Gregory filed a $233 million claim against Lehman's estate to recover deferred stock compensation, which is still outstanding.

The auction follows the sale of the Gregorys' home in Lloyd Harbor, New York, which was listed in July 2012 with an asking price of $22 million, Sotheby's said. Details of the sale were not immediately available from the auction house.

But real estate website shows that the house sold in June for $17.5 million.   Continued...

Sotheby's New York handout picture shows an important Queen Anne brass-inlaid stained burr maple and yewwood desk-and-bookcase attributed to Coxed and Woster circa 1715 from The Collection of Niki & Joe Gregory in this image released to Reuters on September 17, 2013. REUTERS/Sotheby's New York/Handout via Reuters