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Man Behind $900 Million Appraisal Of Michael Jackson's Art Might Not Be Credible

07/11/2011 07:43 pm ET | Updated Sep 10, 2011

Earlier , we rounded up the 10 craziest things about the $900 million Michael Jackson art feud. Now, we've got number 11: the "certified art appraiser" quoted about the trove's $900 million valuation is, in fact, not a member of the International Society of Art Appraisers, as Star Magazine reported. "He is not and has never been a member," Sara Porter, ISA's membership and operations coordinator, told ARTINFO.

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Michael Jackson / Patrick McMullan

According to Star, Jackson family lawyers are attempting to block the $87.7 million sale of a collection of Michael Jackson's artwork, which includes sculptures and sketches by the King of Pop himself. The sale is being pushed forward by Brett-Livingston Strong, a friend and artistic mentor to Jackson. While Strong has a letter from Jackson's manager gifting the artwork to the artist, Star reports that legal experts are concerned the document may be a fake.

But now, it's not only the letter that may be fraudulent. The tabloid reported that in "an astonishing appraisal of the 182-pieces, obtained exclusively by Star, the 'rare intact major collection' was valued at a whopping $902.52 million." It then quotes Eric Finzi, "a certified member of the International Society of Appraisers": "I do not think we have begun to see the true value of this fine art yet."

The later quote also comes from "a document obtained by the magazine." Reading closely, the Star does not explicitly state that this is the same mysterious document containing the $900 million value, though it is heavily implied. There is no ambiguity, however, with regard to Finzi's membership in the ISA: "He is not a member," Porter repeated.

What are the consequences for posing as a member of the ISA? According to Porter, as a first step the organization will send a letter from a lawyer demanding the offender cease posing as a certified appraiser. "We will be contacting him," she said of Finzi.

-Julia Halperin, ARTINFO

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