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Man sued by Honolulu museum sues back

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A San Francisco art collector who is being sued for allegedly selling possibly looted artifacts to the Honolulu Academy of Arts is suing back.

The Honolulu Museum of Art, formerly known as the Honolulu Academy of Arts, filed a lawsuit in state court in July against Joel Alexander Greene for failing to provide supporting documentation for five pieces of Southeast Asian art, as he had promised.

The museum said it agreed in 2004 to pay Greene $80,000 per year for the rest of his life for the five pieces, valued at $1.275 million.

The museum said it cut off the payments in June because Greene had failed to prove he acquired the pieces legally and had failed to provide valid export and import documentation.

However, by that time the museum had already paid Greene $890,000.

Greene filed papers in U.S. District Court last week to move the lawsuit out of state court, and on Tuesday filed a counterclaim against the museum.

In his counterclaim Greene says the Honolulu Academy of Arts reneged on the deal when it halted the payments even though he did all he was required to do, according to terms in the contract.

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