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London Evening Standard - March 13 1998

Geller bent the truth in 30,000 sculpture deal

Mark Nichol

 Uri Geller has been accused of unlawfully hanging on to a 5000 crystal figurine after a partnership with a sculptor to sell futuristic artwork collapsed in acrimony.
 Sculptor Chris Hobby has served a court summons alleging Geller has kept his sculpture, Femalien, made of crystals, emeralds, sapphires and gold, and has also tried to sell some of his other works to London jewellers Asprey as his own.
 A courtroom showdown now looms as Geller denies breach of contract and claims he is keeping Femailien in lieu of an unpaid 2,300 loan to Mr. Hobby.
 Mr. Hobby claimed: "I thought I was made for life when Geller said he could sell some of my work for 30,000. We agreed to split the profits half each and he lent me 2,300 to cover my costs, redeemable from the first sale.
 "But I never agreed to Geller offering the pieces to Aprey as his own. He also they were his on his website, saying we had 'teamed up to create unique works of art from natural treasures'. Geller ended our deal after getting knocked back by Asprey. As there were no sales I don't have to pay the money back. He cannot justify keeping Femalien in lieu of repayment.
 "This dispute has made me angry and depressed. But I am determined to get Femalien back and some damages."
 Mr. Hobby, from Westbourne, Dorset, recorded his conversation with Asprey's marketing director Susan Wolff when he asked if Geller claimed to her that he made them.
 On the tape, Mrs. Wolff says: "He came in out of the blue and said he had some pieces to show me.
 "He said he was a sculptor and this was his sideline, as well as all the things, the entertainment stuff he does, and yes, as far as I can remember, he said he did.
 "He brought them in as his pieces. We looked at the pieces, he showed me a photograph of his house and his studio where they reportedly came from and I said, 'Leave them with us,' because I had only been with the company for a month or two at the time, and I would get a couple of points of view to see what we think.
 "The I phoned him two weeks later and said, 'We don't want them, take them away.' "
 Mr. Geller, who shot to fame in the Seventies for his spoon-bending abilities, contacted Mr. Hobby in 1995. Their deal broke down in 1996.
 The psychic, who lives in Sonning-on-Thames, is claiming 2,305 plus interest from Mr. Hobby. He was unavailable for comment.
 Asprey also declined to comment as the matter was in the courts.

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