Art scandle reflects poorly on City Council Deputy Lord Mayor must distance himslef from controversy and his appointment of his personal mates

The Herald Sun reports on issues of concern about conflict of interests when appointing personal friends to positions of public office mixing love art and politics. We contiue to express out ongoing concern ofver teh appointment of Deputy Lord Mayors personal partner to overseas Melbourne Art development. Melbourne City Council and the deputy Lord Mayor Garry Singer continues to be btrought into disrepute. Garry Singer should act decively and request his partner to stand resign from the Council postion. There is a question of conflict of interest one that does not serve the City well and only be distancing himeslf from teh controversy can this matter be resolved. Failing Mr Smith’ resignation Gary Singer should resign. Time to act in the pubics interest.

Officials to act on art wrangle
Karen Collier

THE National Gallery of Victoria has ordered an official investigation into a curator amid a conflict-of-interest storm.

The development follows an exclusive Herald Sun report revealing curator Geoffrey Smith’s court battle with his former lover, Robert Gould, over art treasures worth $7 million.
Some arts world insiders have concerns about Mr Smith’s close links with a commercial business during his relationship with Mr Gould, who runs a private gallery in South Yarra.

The Supreme Court has banned the sale of 23 paintings by famed artists such as Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Brett Whiteley and Charles Blackman until the dispute is settled.

In documents before the court, Mr Smith claims he used his special expertise and connections to lift the reputation and profits of Mr Gould’s gallery in South Yarra.

The NGV has seen copies of the affidavits and last night announced an investigation.

“The NGV has policies and procedures in place to ensure staff adhere to the highest standards of professional conduct and to investigate any alleged contravention of such standards,” the statement read.

“In light of the material contained in these documents, the NGV has now commenced an internal investigation.”

Mr Smith has been a curator at the taxpayer-funded gallery since 1991, and is understood to be on approved leave.

Mr Gould denies Mr Smith played a pivotal role in his business’s success, saying it was he who introduced Mr Smith to key figures in the arts world.

In the court documents, Mr Smith is accused of having a secret, long-running affair with his new partner, Deputy Lord Mayor Gary Singer.

Mr Smith’s appointment last year to a committee to advise Melbourne City Council on art prompted controversy.

The investigation comes just weeks before Mr Smith’s major retrospective on Charles Blackman at the NGV.