Friday, August 8, 2014

Greece Gets a Windfall While the Long Suffering New York Taxpayer Gets the Shaft?

It's looking ever more clear that there is no reason to believe that the Greek coins that were taken from Dr. Peter Weiss' possession when he was arrested on unrelated charges were "stolen" or illegally imported.  Indeed, it appears that at least some may have long collecting histories dating back to the 1920's, if not earlier.

If so, the only rational basis for them to be forfeited to NY State authorities would be as some sort of restitution for the costs of the prosecution.  New York residents are among the most heavily taxed in our nation.  So why apparently did DA Matthew Bagdanos' office arrange for such valuable coins to be given to the Greek Government rather than instead being sold for the benefit of the New York Taxpayer?

Is it possible this proud Greek American and ardent supporter of the AIA's repatriationist agenda's judgment was clouded by his personal interests?

Let's hope not.

The NY District Attorney office should certainly provide more information about this issue than found in its self-serving press release.

It's also important to learn about the disposition of the other coins taken from Dr. Weiss' possession. The DA's Press release only states, "Two of the other coins have been returned to a previous owner, and the remainder are expected to be given to cultural and academic institutions for display, research, and study."

Hopefully, these will at least be New York institutions and not ones chosen based on their fealty to the AIA's repatriationist agenda.  If so, they may be "repatriated" too in short order to where they were made millenia ago.


kyri said...

hi peter ,there i was ,praising you for not going down the road of other numismatics the "lets string them up along constitution avenue" brigade and than you have to go and shoot yourself in the foot by playing the race card.bagdanos is only the assistant da but no mention of cyrus vance his boss or the HSI agent brent easter. bagdanos is a decorated war veteran who has put his life on the line for his country,the USA not greece,suggesting his "judgment was clouded by his personal interests" is a disgraceful innuendo and slur on the mans character.what personal interests??? the guy is just doing his job.bringing his integrity into play,!just because his parents are greek.he was born in new york,he is as american as you sorry peter that was uncalled for.
ps as for "new-york tax payers getting their moneys worth" i remember reading a piece in the ft few years back where cyrus vance made about $200 million in fines for the state from corporations dealing with iran illegaly so the new york taxpayer should be very happy with them,if they are not there is allways the ballot box.

Cultural Property Observer said...

Kyri, all you need to do is to read Bagdanos' book. Its obvious he loves publicity, is very proud of his Greek background, and very supportive of the AIA's view of the world. I think the questions asked are quite reasonable under the circumstances. How about some transparency as to why the DA's office to whom the coins were forfeited gave them to the Greek government? That's the real issue.

Ed Snible said...

Video here.