BIRMINGHAM, Mich. (AP) — A dispute has been settled between Dr. Jack Kevorkian's estate and a suburban Boston museum over the ownership of 17 of the assisted-suicide advocate's paintings, and some of them could end up being sold, a lawyer said.
The executor of Kevorkian's estate, Michigan-based attorney Mayer Morganroth, said that under the agreement the Armenian Library and Museum of America in Watertown, Mass., will keep four paintings and 13 will be returned to Kevorkian's estate to benefit Kevorkian's niece, Ava Janus of Troy, Mich.
"Of course we are happy it's resolved," Morganroth told The Detroit News (http://bit.ly/QWGCAM ) for a story published Friday. "The settlement recognizes the need for his art to be preserved ... while returning artwork to his heir."
Arrangements are being made for the return of the 13 paintings, which Morganroth said he expects will be offered for sale at art galleries.
The museum sued in federal court in Massachusetts last year ahead of a New York auction. It claimed Kevorkian donated the art in 1999. His estate said he loaned it to the museum for an exhibit and subsequent storage. According to federal court records, an order dismissing the lawsuit was entered last month.
The Associated Press sent a message seeking comment museum lawyers Friday.
Kevorkian died in 2011 at age 83. His estate had estimated the value of the 17 paintings at $2.5 million to $3.5 million, but the New York auction was dampened by the legal battle. Images of the paintings were displayed at the auction instead of the actual works because the museum wouldn't send them.
"We had opening bids of $100,000 for some," Morganroth said. "But when we told interested persons we couldn't guarantee delivery because of the pending litigation, the bids dropped off."
Kevorkian sparked the national right-to-die debate with a homemade suicide machine that helped end the lives of about 130 ailing people. He was convicted of second-degree murder in 1999 for assisting in the 1998 death of a Michigan man with Lou Gehrig's disease. He was released from prison in 2007.
Information from: The Detroit News, http://detnews.com/