ART ARCHIVES

Dead Again: Who Is Killing Andy Warhol’s Legacy?

“While the name Warhol has come to stand for many things — a masterful artist, a cutting-edge filmmaker, a perceptive social crit­ic — these days in the legal business, it’s come to stand for an estate that’s rife with conflict, confusion, and outright animosity.”

by

Dead Again: Will Lawyers Destroy Warhol’s Legacy?
July 20, 1993

IF THE SITUATION WEREN’T SO PATHETIC, it’d be funny. It is, at any rate, a joke within the art world and the New York legal communi­ty. So on May 14, 1993, at just past 10 in the morning in the courtroom of Judge Eve Preminger, Otto’s niece, when the bailiff calls out the name of the next case — “Andy Warhol” — the specta­tors in the elegant, rosewood-paneled room, mostly lawyers waiting for their cases to come up, moan audibly. One even laughs. For while the name Warhol has come to stand for many things — a masterful artist, a cutting-edge filmmaker, a perceptive social crit­ic — these days in the legal business, or at least in Surrogate’s Court, it’s come to stand for an estate that’s rife with conflict, confusion, and outright animosity.

To make matters worse, it looks like the drama may have begun to affect the Warhol art market. At the spring auctions at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, Frederick Hughes, Warhol’s business manager for 27 years, put up 10 of his Warhols. When only two sold, the art world was stunned. Was this the beginning of the end of the Warhol name? Was Warhol not as important as art historians have claimed? Was Warhol the victim of the infighting between his estate and the foundation that bears his name, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts? “I think the end result of all of this could be the destruction of everything Andy devoted his life to,” says Edward Hayes, the estate’s attorney. Paige Powell, a Warhol friend, is just as pessimistic about the future of the foundation, now the centerpiece of Warhol’s world. “I don’t know if it’s salvage­able,” she says. “A lot of people who had a passion for it have gone on with their lives.”

Not the attorneys. Even though Warhol did his best to avoid lawyers — “Andy never sued people,” Powell says — today an army of them is running up bills against his estate and foundation. On May 14 in Surrogate’s Court, nine showed up. They were Ed Hayes and his personal attorney; three attorneys representing Fred Hughes, the estate’s executor; three representing the foundation; and one from the attorney general’s office. For this court appear­ance, which lasted 15 minutes, the total legal bill, since trust lawyers charge “door-to-door,” was probably $10,000. The legal bills are rising because the parties involved — the estate, the founda­tion, and Hayes — are locked in a bitter battle over exactly how much Andy Warhol was worth when he died. At this court date, they were arguing about whether the accounting of the estate, which will contain a list of all of Warhol’s artworks and the amount each piece is said to be worth, will be made available to the public through papers that may soon be filed in Surrogate’s Court. Because much of the business of the art world is done in secrecy, there’s fear that a public disclosure of this nature could destroy the Warhol art market for years. What’s more, since the art world is such a close­-knit society, insiders know about the feud between the foundation and the estate. Like the stock market, the art market is directly affected by these kinds of extraneous influences. That’s why almost no one was willing to buy Warhol at the spring sales. If the accounting becomes public information — and there’s a chance it will since the Warhol Foundation is a tax-free, not-for-profit organi­zation — the value of Warhol paintings would plummet. Smart buy­ers could pick up Warhols at bargain-basement prices. “This is a long, well-planned-out act of destruction,” says Hayes. “From day one, this has been a struggle for the assets of the foundation, which are enormous. By the time the struggle is over, there won’t be a foundation left.”

At the May court appearance, the lawyers were also arguing about, appropriately enough, legal bills. Donovan Leisure, a firm hired by Hughes to do some work for the estate, was petitioning the court to release the payment of, according to court papers, the “reasonable amount” of $148,646.31 and an additional $5537.18 for legal services and “to approve the prior payments to Donovan Leisure of $403,382.93 for legal services rendered to the Estate.” That’s a total of $557,566.42 for work that the firm did between May 2, 1991, and April 1, 1993. One attorney alone, Thomas Melfe, logged 472.75 hours of work he claimed to have done. To the horror of the Donovan Leisure lawyers in court that day, Judge Preminger, a woman as stern and authoritative as her uncle, denied their petition, preferring to deal with all claims for legal fees against the estate at a later date. Hayes, after all, is the attorney of record for the estate, not Donovan Leisure. Should they continue to work for Hughes? the Donovan Leisure lawyers wanted to know. “Do whatever you think is appropriate,” Judge Preminger said. From the tone of her voice, you could tell she’s fed up with the case, which should have been settled months ago.

To understand this “sick family drama,” as Powell calls it — to figure out why Hughes and Hayes have had a falling out and why each is fighting with the foundation — you have to go back to the day Warhol died, February 22, 1987. He had gone into New York Hospital for routine gallbladder surgery, and, following the opera­tion, he was allegedly not properly attended; his body retained liquid while he was unconscious, and he, in effect, drowned in his own body fluids. (A malpractice lawsuit against the hospital was settled out-of-court for, reportedly, several million dollars in 1991; the money went to Warhol’s two surviving brothers.) In his will, Warhol designated as his executor Fred Hughes, a man who was much more than Warhol’s business manag­er. In 1968, when Valerie Solanas shot Warhol five times in the chest at point­blank range in the Factory, it was Hughes who gave Warhol mouth-to-mouth resusci­tation, saving his life. As soon as he got the call about Warhol’s death (Warhol had listed him as his next-of-kin on hospital rec­ords), Hughes telephoned Ed Hayes, an ac­quaintance of Warhol who would soon become famous for being the inspiration behind Tommy Killian, the ingenious law­yer in Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities. Within days, Hughes had formally hired Hayes as attorney for the estate. For his fee Hayes eventually agreed to be paid a flat 2 per cent of the value of the estate at closing, an unusual arrangement but not totally un­common with estates that may be large or difficult to settle. Soon the two men went about carrying out the wishes Warhol had put forth in his will. Warhol left a quarter-­million dollars each to Hughes and to War­hol’s brothers (John and Paul Warhola, who had kept the family name’s original spell­ing), but the bulk of the estate was supposed to be used to establish “a foundation for the advancement of the visual arts… in accordance with and under the provi­sions of the New York Not-For-Profit Law.”

Over the next 20 months, working out of the Factory at 22 East 33rd Street, the old Con Ed building where Warhol ran his art business and other enterprises — like Interview magazine — Hughes and Hayes began liquidating Warhol’s estate. At first, Hayes estimated the estate to be worth as little as $10 million to $15 million. Before long, it became apparent it was worth much more. There were stocks, bonds, and other finan­cial investments; property in Manhattan and near Aspen; an estate in Montauk; a townhouse on the Upper East Side; a Rolls-Royce; an extensive jewelry and furniture collection; a vast array of collectibles; artwork by other artists; Interview, and, the single biggest asset, Warhol’s own artwork — paintings, sculptures, drawings, silk screens, films, videos, photographs, prints, and on and on. The main goal of Hughes and Hayes became clear enough: they had to maximize the liquidation of the various parts of the estate and set up what Hughes decided to call the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

In those two and a half years, Hughes and Hayes went about divesting the estate. They sold off property. They sold The Andy Warhol Diaries for $1.2 million. (Hughes now says much of that money went to Pat Hackett, to whom Warhol had dictated the diaries each morning on the telephone for years.) They sold Interview to Peter Brant for $12 million; he paid $5 million down, with the rest to come later. (In a separate piece of litigation, the estate is suing Brant for the remaining $7 million. Because the sale of the magazine was handled through a company that the estate eventually closed out, Brant contends he no longer owes the money.) Then in April 1988, in a sale that attracted unparalleled media attention, Hughes and Hayes sold off much of War­hol’s personal effects in an auction at Soth­eby’s that generated $25.3 million. This money was used to fund the Warhol Foun­dation, which had been incorporated on May 26, 1987, but did not start to function until after the estate began to transfer mon­ey into it.

At the same time Hughes and Hayes were selling Warhol’s actual property, they were working to establish his reputation as one of the major artists of the 20th century. By doing this, they would solidify the value of the estate’s main asset: Warhol’s artwork. Hughes and Hayes took two actions. They paved the way for the Museum of Modern Art in New York to put on a retrospective of Warhol’s work, which played to overflow crowds between February and May in 1989. Then in September 1989 they finalized plans for their most ambitious venture, the Andy Warhol Museum. Envisioned as a joint project of the Warhol Foundation, the Dia Foundation, and the Carnegie Institute, the museum, to be located in Warhol’s hometown of Pittsburgh, is set to open in May 1994. When it does — and it’s on schedule — it will be one of the few — and without question the largest — single artist museums in the United States.

As these events transpired, a different drama was unfolding. Specifically, it in­volved the Warhol Foundation. According to Warhol’s will, the foundation was to be overseen by a board of directors consisting of Fred Hughes, John Warhola, and Vin­cent Fremont, a Factory regular who worked for Warhol for years. But to run the foundation on a day-to-day basis, Hughes decided to hire a managing officer, a posi­tion that, after some thought, he called president. While he looked at candidates, Hughes interviewed, at Paige Powell’s sug­gestion, Archibald “Arch” Gillies, a man who had worked for several foundations, including the John Hay Whitney Founda­tion. In the summer of 1988, Hughes hired Gillies as a consultant. By November 1989, Hughes had offered Gillies the president position, a job he assumed in March 1990. But within months, Hughes, a flashy, stylish entrepreneur who played a key role in the creation of Warhol’s empire, and Gillies, a conservative foundation administra­tor who had little experience in the art world, began to disagree violently. At this time, the board decided to expand from three to five directors, so Agnes Gund, now president of MOMA, and Brendan Gill, the New Yorker writer, were added in October 1990. Meanwhile, Hughes had become so fed up with Gillies that he was ready to fire him. Before he could, a turn of events took place that left Hughes much less powerful on the board. In December 1990, Vincent Fremont resigned from the board to be­come the exclusive agent for Warhol’s art, a move that would bring him 10 per cent of all Warhol artwork sold by the foundation. That same month, Gillies asked to join the board, and over Hughes’s ardent objections three of the four board members — Gund, Gill, and Warhola — voted to make Gillies a director.

With Gillies’s position at the foundation shored up, Hughes couldn’t fire him. Hughes now claims Gillies had in effect bought Fremont off. Hughes was so livid that in a New York magazine article I reported in January 1992 he described Fre­mont, who’d been a longtime friend, as Benedict Arnold. If Fremont had not re­signed, there would have been no place for Gillies on the board. Warhol insiders be­sides Hughes would speculate that it was no accident that, after resigning from the board, Fremont ended up in the lucrative position of agent for Warhol’s art. “Arch was desperate to get on the board,” says Hayes. Critical of the process by which Fremont was selected, Hayes says, “There’s a serious question as to whether Gillies followed prudent business procedures in awarding Fremont this contract.” Gillies says, “Everything was fully discussed with Vincent, Fred, and myself — and then with the board. Everything was out in the open. We’re dealing with tax-exempt dollars, so everyone has the right to know about our operation and about all the major decisions we make.”

Once Gillies assumed power, the whole tone of the Warhol operation changed. In the beginning the foundation supported a wide variety of organizations, among them the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Cen­ter for African Art, the Cunningham Dance-Foundation, the Duke Ellington Memorial Fund, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (for an “arts for transit” program), the Pub­lic Art Fund, and the Raindance Founda­tion. A major beneficiary was the New York Academy of Art, one of the few insti­tutions Warhol supported while he was alive. He actually sat on the academy’s board. But under Gillies, the foundation has cut back drastically. This year it will give out the smallest number of grants ever. Also, it has stopped funding groups Warhol himself would have been sympathetic to, for example, the foundation no longer supports the New York Academy. “Andy had all kinds of spectacular plans for things to do,” says Stuart Pivar, Warhol’s close friend who is also on the academy’s board. “It’s a shame his foundation doesn’t seek to fulfill them.”

“It should have been more like Grace­land, but tastefully done,” Powell says. “The way the foundation is now, it’s the antithesis of Andy’s spirit. It’s so dark and secretive over there.” While the foundation was becoming more insular, it was soon obvious what much of the secrecy was about: money. The estate was in the process of placing a value on Warhol’s holdings, a sum that would establish what Hayes would receive as attorney, Hughes as executor. Under New York state law, Hughes is entitled to 2 per cent of the estate at closing. There was just one problem. The figure the estate had come up with differed radically with the value the foundation believed Warhol’s belongings were worth. Based on a “blockage discount” estimate provided by Christie’s in 1991, the foundation contend­ed that Warhol’s artwork was worth about $120 million. The estate’s estimate, based on an appraisal by art expert and private dealer Jeffrey Hoffeld, was more like $500 million to $550 million. When additional monies raised through selling non-artwork assets were added, Hughes and Hayes ar­gued that the estate of Andy Warhol was worth about $ 700 million. The foundation countered that it was worth a lot less, only about $220 million.

Why are these sums important? Precisely because they will determine the fees paid to Hughes and Hayes. If, for example, the estate is worth $600 million, Hughes and Hayes are each due $12 million. Hughes has already collected an advance against fees of $2 million. Hayes $4.85 million. This would mean that when the estate is closed out, Hughes would be owed another $10 million, Hayes another $7.15 million­ — for a total of $17.15 million. Since Gillies took over, the foundation has been steadily spending its cash reserve. Starting with some $26 million, the foundation now has, according to Gillies, “$10 to $12 million.” Even with $7 million in cash that is still in the estate, should the value of the estate be established at $600 million, the court could look to the estate’s beneficiary, the founda­tion, to pay off Hayes and Hughes’s contracts. “It was one of the richest, most promising arts foundations in the world,” Powell says. “Now it seems to be heading toward going under.”

Why is the foundation in financial trou­ble? There are many reasons. First, over the last two years, as the feud between Hughes and Gillies has become a distraction for the board, the Warhol operation has lost its focus on raising money, which it could have done by licensing Warhol’s image or selling off’ selected pieces of Warhol’s artwork. It did not help that in 1989 Hughes, who had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1988, became extremely sick. Sometimes temperamental because of, some suggested, the medicine he has to take for his illness, he could be abrupt with colleagues. In fact, one person with whom he had a falling-out was Ed Hayes. Though they had formed a relationship so close that Hayes made Hughes his daughter’s godfather, the two men began to disagree on how best to pro­ceed with the estate. Their conflict came to a head in November 1989. Since then, Hayes has continued to serve as the attor­ney for the estate, but the men barely speak.

As Hughes distanced himself from the operation of the board and the foundation, Gillies began to play a more vital role: the focus of the organization shifted from plan­ning for the future to maintaining the status quo. Between the time the foundation was founded on May 26, 1987, until April 30, 1990, the estate generated and contributed $32 million, of which $26 million was in cash, to the foundation. For the fiscal year 1991, the foundation generated no receipts on its own, only $1.9 million in interest on investments. In fiscal 1992, the foundation produced a mere $175,000, plus $1.5 mil­lion in interest. During the year 1991, the foundation did receive Warhol’s artwork from the estate. It was given an estimated $78 million in paintings, sculptures, and collaborative works in February, another $21.5 million in films, videotapes, audio­tapes, photographs, drawings, and prints in May. (These are the numbers with which Hughes and Hayes disagree, arguing their total is less than a fourth of what the art is really worth.) Between April 1990 and April 1992, besides accepting these transfers of art, the foundation generation little income. It did not, however, stop spending money.

From May 1987 to April 1990, the foun­dation spent $1.3 million in administrative expenses while it gave out $6.8 million in grants, more than fulfilling its requirements to donate 5 per cent of its worth annually to maintain its status as a not-for-profit organization. But between April 1990 and April 1991, with Gillies in charge, expenses increased enormously. In that 12-month peri­od, the foundation spent $2.2 million in administrative expenses, almost double what the foundation had spent in the previ­ous three years. “When people say ‘ex­penses’ I don’t know what they’re talking about,” replies Gilles. “All the expenses were approved by the board.” One expense, payroll, jumped from $619,555 for the peri­od between May 1987 and April 1990 to $937,832 for fiscal 1991. Included in that amount was $136,697 for a retirement plan for select employees. (Gillies, now 59, qual­ified to have an amount equal to 20 per cent of his $189,000 annual salary put into this account; he can collect that money when he retires or when his contract expires in 1997.) While the foundation’s expenses skyrocketed during fiscal 1991, the organi­zation also continued to give away huge sums in grant money. In that one year, it issued $6.8 million in grants, just over the same amount it had given away in the previous 36 months. Fiscal year 1992 saw no letup. Administrative expenses reached $4.65 million — more than doubling the 1991 expenses. By now, payroll hit $1.7 million (of which $221,093 went into a retirement account). In addition, the foun­dation paid over $600,000 in professional bills, mostly to Carter, Ledyard, the law firm that had represented Gillies personally before he was hired by the foundation and now represents the foundation itself. In fis­cal 1992, the grant allocation dropped to $2.5 million. Of that amount $1,103,378 went to the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh for its effort to establish the Andy Warhol Museum. “The fact,” says Pivar, “that the foundation spent almost $5 million one year to give away $2.5 million is something I can’t even begin to understand.” Gillies has a different view. “I could have had a great balance sheet by not giving out grants and leaving all of Andy’s art down in the basement.”

In the 24-month period between April 1990 and April 1992, the foundation spent some $7 million in administrative expenses and gave out some $9 million dollars in grants. That would have been fine if the foundation had produced revenue. But while the Warhol organization spent over $16 million in those two years, it generated relatively little cash. The foundation had been given Warhol’s art, yet it was not in a strong position to sell it. First, the foundation had committed a large portion of the art to the Warhol Museum. (Ironically, that one donation took care of the foundation’s requirement to give away 5 per cent of its worth annually for upward of a decade, so, technically, the foundation could have avoided giving away that $9 million in grants.) Second, what was to become a significant roadblock had, by then, been set up by Ed Hayes. In May, 1992, after he had decided that Gillies was, in his words, “go­ing to run the foundation into the ground,” Hayes took an action that would affect fun­damentally how the foundation could do business. At that time, he filed a SCPA 2110 petition in Surrogate’s Court to fix his legal fees. It may have appeared on the surface as if Hayes were trying to look out for himself, and no doubt he was, but his move also called into question the very way the foundation under Gillies was doing business.

Hayes filed a SCPA 2110 — technically not a lawsuit but a request for a payment of fees — not only because he disagreed with the 1991 Christie’s estimate of the value of Warhol’s artwork, because he could tell that the foundation was unwilling to accept the Hoffeld estimate, but mostly because he saw the foundation making moves that, he says, would end up delaying the estate being closed out — and him getting paid — for years. “It became clear to me,” Hayes says, “that Arch was going to drag this out until Fred died or became incapacitated. I told Fred. ‘This guy is going to drag this out forever so that you’re silent.’ ”

Hughes’s response to Hayes’s action was wishy-washy. The foundation’s was not. Carter, Ledyard, the foundation’s counsel, argued in court that Hayes’s percentage contract with Hughes was not valid and that the value of the estate should not be considered when determining Hayes’s fee. The attorney general’s office, which has consistently sided with the foundation, went so far as to allege that Hayes commit­ted fraud. According to papers filed in court by David Samuels of the attorney general’s office, Hayes “engaged in fraud and overreaching in inducing the Executor to enter into the Retainer Agreement by falsely representing to the Executor that an executor’s commission is the customary fee in the State of New York for legal services rendered in the administration of a sub­stantial estate.” Samuels took this tack even though Hughes himself hasn’t charged Hayes with fraud. Says Hayes, “I would describe the attorney general’s position as a courtroom tactic that has probably backfired on them.” Significantly, in the sum­mer of 1992 Judge Preminger said that percentage contracts may as well be used dur­ing the liquidation of an estate since most trust law firms end up billing out a number of hours equal to a percentage of the estate anyway and that of course the value of an estate has to be considered when determin­ing fees.

At one particular hearing last summer, Preminger did something else. She told all sides that she wanted the conflict resolved within a week. This would have forced the foundation to pay off Hughes and Hayes. Since the foundation didn’t have the mon­ey, Carter, Ledyard came back into court after a week and, instead of offering to negotiate, demanded a full accounting of the estate, which the foundation is entitled to under the law. A year later, that account­ing, based on Hoffeld’s estimate, is ready. Now, the foundation, a tax-free, not-for­-profit organization, is arguing that the ac­counting should not be made public. Re­gardless of Preminger’s decision on this issue, should the foundation not agree with the accounting, Carter, Ledyard can ask for a full trial. That would drag the ordeal out another year or more and cost millions in legal bills and expert witness fees.

Had the foundation settled with Hughes and Hayes last summer, as Preminger sug­gested, it could have ended the conflict and gotten on with the business of funding the foundation for the future. This way, if pay­ing off Hughes and Hayes doesn’t bankrupt the foundation, the litigation to prevent that payoff probably will. The foundation’s one salvation is the Warhol artwork it owns. Selling some paintings could raise money. But buyers, aware of the feud be­tween the estate and the foundation, are not willing to pay top dollar for Warhol. At the spring auctions, most were not willing to buy Warhol at all. They seem to be waiting for the foundation to go under so they can pick up Warhols for a fraction of what they’re really worth.

Meanwhile, the lawyers will appear again in Surrogate’s Court in July — and the legal bills are mounting. “Can you imagine what Andy would think if he came back?” Hayes asks. “He’d vomit his guts out. No, I think he would cry, especially over what this is doing to Fred. If Andy had to do it all over again, I think he’d say, ‘Just forget the whole thing.’ ”

It’s an early afternoon in mid May and I’m having lunch with Fred Hughes in a sitting room of his brownstone. A year and a half has passed since I last saw him and in that time his multiple sclerosis has pro­gressed considerably. MS is known for be­coming worse if the patient is under stress. The stress of the past few years has obvi­ously taken a toll on Hughes. He has much less control over his body’s muscles, which harden, and become weaker, as the disease progresses. Hughes’s speech is slower than I remember it, his diction more slurred. As we talk, I find myself lighting one cigarette after another for him. “Light me up a fag, butch,” he’ll say. I can’t help but notice the contrast between how he appears now com­pared to the very first time I saw him years ago. Dark, handsome, immaculately groomed, he looked like a European aristocrat as he walked across the auction floor at Sotheby’s. Today, confined to a wheelchair, he needs the help of an assistant just to move from his wheelchair to bed. But de­spite his physical deterioration, he has not lost any of his mental faculties. In many ways the architect of the Warhol empire, he is still as cunning, clear-thinking, and busi­ness-wise as ever. Many art-world insiders have blamed Hughes for the recent Warhol debacle at the spring sales. Gillies believes that Hughes made a mistake by flooding the market with Warhols. The Warhols didn’t sell, Gillies claims, because there were too many of them to buy. “It’s a collector’s market,” he says. “When 10 or 12 paintings are put up at once, it’s not hospitable to the serious collector. They get nervous.”

I ask Hughes about the spring sales. “Of course,” he says slowly, his tone thick with irony, “it was a big flop. I was selling my favorite paintings so that I could make ends meet. I needed money. But they didn’t sell. It was worth it, though. I let people know I’m still out there.” He pauses as he drinks his coffee. “So,” he then adds wryly, “do you want to buy a Warhol wholesale? You’ve come to the right place.”

“How much of a discount?” I ask.

“Well, quite a lot,” he says. “It depends on what you want. Seriously, they’re avail­able, but as soon as the auction was over I got lots of offers. I certainly don’t want to give the impression that I’m stuck with a Macy’s basement fire-sale thing. No way, Joseé. If necessary, I’ll get out and sell my body on the street. Do we hear any comers for that? You’re gonna have to pay for it.” Finally, he gets serious. “It was my gam­ble,” he says. “The fact is, yes, I was sur­prised they didn’t sell. Then again, so was Sotheby’s and Christie’s.”

Why didn’t they sell? “Because,” he says, raising his voice in mock anger, “people didn’t bid on them.” He waits. “There’s an enormous amount of speculation as to why. People are looking for a discreditation. A lot of your average millionaires — and some below average — who didn’t buy Warhol are happy to see that they were right after all.”

Because he needs money, couldn’t he use his executor’s fee, which he’ll receive when the estate is closed out? “Well, every little bit helps,” he says. “I’ve got to somehow pay my creditors. Laundry is not what it used to be here on the fashionable Upper East Side. So, yes, if you want to do me any favors you’ll say that Frederick W. Hughes certainly wants this estate to be closed.”

What’s his opinion of Gillies, the person he hired to run the foundation he set up? “Surely the man must have some idea of something else to do for a living.” Then he goes on. “Well, he married well. She’s [Lin­da Gillies] the president of the Vincent Astor Foundation. You know, just about the time I was going to dismiss him he engineered a strategy — he convinced Fre­mont to retire from the board — to become a trustee over my very calm objections to the other trustees. I don’t know what hold he had over the trustees at the time. I know what he was trying with most people. I was the only person with an objection.”

Do you ever feel like you’ve built a foun­dation that other people are now living off of? “Y for Yosemite, E for Ecuador, and S for — in this case — it starts with S and ends in T. Okay?”

Do you ever think about Warhol? “Yes, and I’ll tell you this,” he says, his voice becoming softer. “I really miss the old bug­ger. Dominique de Menil told me once that there are certain people in life, they never leave. They’re there. I feel that way about Andy. He’s still here in a million ways. I’ll be at the office and I’ll say, ‘Wait till that sonuvabitch comes in here. Am I going to give him hell.’ Then I’ll realize he’s not going to come in.” Hughes stops. “Our lives are financially, spiritually, and men­tally intertwined. What can I say?” ■

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 23, 2020

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