L. Dennis Kozlowski, Tyco International Ltd.'s former chief executive, and his wife, Karen, bought millions of dollars of artwork for a Manhattan apartment in 2001, some after less than an hour's consideration, an art dealer testified Monday.
Under questioning from prosecutors, Christine A. Berry, a one-time art dealer at Fine Collections Management in New York, said Dennis Kozlowski bought paintings valued at more than $14 million with her assistance on three separate occasions in 2001, including oil paintings by Impressionist masters Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet.
In each case, the invoices for the paintings were sent to Tyco's offices in New Hampshire, she said.
Prosecutors have argued that Kozlowski and Mark H. Swartz, the Bermuda conglomerate's former chief financial officer, improperly used the company's so-called Key Employee Loan Program as a personal line of credit, including loans by Kozlowski to buy artwork. The program's original purpose was to lend money to executives to cover taxes on the vesting of restricted shares.
"Karen didn't really care about big names," said Berry, who now works at an art gallery in Manhattan. "Dennis was interested in some high-end names."
Kozlowski, 58 years old, and Swartz, 44, are on trial in New York State Supreme Court, facing charges of grand larceny, securities fraud and other crimes in connection with giant bonuses and other compensation they received while working as Tyco's top executives.
They each face up to 25 years in prison on the most serious charge of grand larceny. They have denied wrongdoing. Their first trial ended in a mistrial last year.
Berry said she attended a viewing of paintings at Kozlowski's home in Boca Raton, Fla., in December 2001. After about an hour, Kozlowski agreed to purchase four pieces for $8.8 million, including paintings by Renoir, Munnings and Gustave Caillebotte, she said.
On Monday, the jury saw a photograph of each painting as it was hung in Kozlowski's apartment on 5th Avenue in New York.