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Leibovitz May Have Better Luck in Bankruptcy Court

by Katya Kazakina,  Bloomberg,  Aug 5, 2009
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Celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz may be better off declaring bankruptcy than battling a creditor suing her for breaching a contract related to a $24 million loan, bankruptcy experts said.

Art Capital Group, a New York-based company that makes loans using art as collateral, extended Leibovitz $22 million in September 2008 backed by the rights to her photographs and real estate in Manhattan and Rhinebeck, New York, court papers said. Three months later, she got $2 million more, according to a suit filed last week in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

Personal issues may have increased Leibovitz’s debt load. Eight years ago, Leibovitz gave birth to her first child, Sarah. She also has twins, Susan and Samuelle, who were born to a surrogate in 2005, according to a biography of Leibovitz on PBS’s Web site for its American Masters program.

The entire surrogacy process, including medical procedures, insurance and legal fees, can total $100,000 to $125,000, according to Sanford Benardo, president of the Northeast Assisted Fertility Group, a surrogacy and egg-donation program. A surrogate mother’s fee of $25,000 to $30,000 is part of that sum, he said.

Prices for an egg donor cycle that includes in vitro fertilization range from $20,000 to $30,000, said Barbara Collura, executive director of Resolve, the national infertility association.

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