According to a recent New York Times article, Justice Department investigators reportedly now have evidence that A. Alfred Taubman of Sotheby's and Sir Anthony Tennant of Christie's discussed setting commissions for buyers and sellers in person and then instructed their CEOs to follow up and implement their plan.
Taubman, who still controls about 63% of the voting stock of Sotheby's, continues to deny complicity, referring all calls to his attorney. Reportedly Taubman has recently suggested his own son as the new chairman for Sotheby's. An interesting choice, don't you think?
Sotheby's paper has also been downgraded by several sources, and the stock has been drifting back down to just above 16, near it's all-time low.
Meanwhile Butterfield was also subpoenaed in the case. The Justice Department's antitrust division was seeking information about "seller's commissions and buyer's premiums and discussions, agreements or understandings with other auction houses in each case since 1992", according to eBay's most recent annual report issued March 30.
This is a story that just won't go away.