Friday, April 8, 2005
State no longer pursuing Haley & Steele
Many people in town who knew Julien Tavener of Wildwood Drive were dismayed to read in the Boston Globe last week that he and his family had left the country, "setting off a criminal investigation into whether he absconded with hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sale of artwork left on consignment at his shop." ("Larceny Probe Eyes Missing Art Dealer" 3/29/05). Tavener's gallery, the highly-respected Haley & Steele of Newbury Street, Boston, and One River Road, Carlisle, had recently closed abruptly. Subsequent Globe articles on 3/30, 3/31, and 4/1 have presented a confusing picture, indicating Tavener, while still apparently sought by police, has been in touch with officials of his bank, Century Bank in Medford, and has spoken with a Boston Globe reporter at a pub in Bristol, England, the city where he and his family are now staying.
The Globe articles noted that the Boston Police and FBI are investigating the gallery regarding the proceeds from the sale of prints of three rare state-owned Paul Revere engravings which were to benefit the Friends of the Commonwealth Museum. However, a spokesman from the office of Secretary of State William Galvin, contacted by the Mosquito, said on Tuesday that the office had dropped the matter. "The plates are in the (state) archives, and most of the prints are in the archives as well." The attorney general's office said there is no ongoing state investigation. A representative of the FBI would not reveal the status of their investigation. Representatives of Century Bank did not return calls.
The articles presented the possibility other clients may have lost money or valuable items in the closure. However, in an interview with the Globe ("After Abandoning Gallery Art Dealer Cites Money Woes" 3/31/05) Tavener "emphasized that he had taken no assets of the business, which he had operated for fifteen years, with him. 'We left the US with the clothes on our backs and some personal items.'" He noted he left the U.S. because the gallery had been in financial difficulty for some time and "I realized I and my family were about to lose our home in the imploding of Haley & Steele." But a representative of Century Bank was "puzzled by the reference in his statement to his fear of losing his home" as Tavener was not in default of his mortgage payments.
In the interview from Bristol England ("Gallery Owner: 'I was Desperate' — Saw No Way Out of Financial Hole" 4/1/05) the Globe reported Tavener had not left the country to flee an investigation. He reportedly said, "As it became clear to me the whole series of problems that were there, and just the pit I had dug seemed incredibly black, I wanted to be with my family. In that situation, I was desperate. Unfortunately, my family lives in England. They don't live in America, so I wanted to be with them."
Stephan Kurkjian, who authored the Globe articles, e-mailed the Mosquito on Wednesday, "There's nothing new since our interview with him last week." He provided e-mail addresses for Tavener and his lawyer, but noted, "They've not been so good in answering questions so far."
© 2005 The