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Bahia Emerald Trial to Be Held in September

Jul 30, 2010 2:32 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... A Los Angeles Superior Court judge postponed ruling on an ownership claim pertaining to the Bahia Emerald and instead set a trial date of September 8, 2010 for the case.  Anthony Thomas originally filed an ownership claim on the rough gemstone, but several parties also claimed to own the 840-pound stone, which has been under lock and key with the Los Angeles Police Department since December.

Judge John A. Kronstadt will hear the Thomas ownership claim, as well as a separate claim filed by Mark Downie, on the morning of September 8 and is then expected to proceed with a bench trial and opening statements in the case. 

Respondents Kit Morrison, Todd Armstrong, Jerry Ferrara, FM Holdings Inc. and Market Link Inc. maintain that they should be recognized as the owners of the emerald and be granted possessory rights.

The Bahia Emerald is not a single, clean rough stone, but one described as emerald crystals embedded in a host rock. This emerald was reportedly recovered in Brazil in 2001 and found its way into the U.S. and then onto eBay in 2008, where it was priced at $75 million. It went missing from a vault outside of Los Angeles in South El Monte in September of that year. Los Angeles authorities recovered the emerald in Las Vegas three months later. Five people then claimed to own the emerald.

Thomas, described as a gem trader, reportedly purchased the rough emerald for $60,000. Morrison, Armstrong and Jerry Ferrara of FM Holdings, along with Market Link, petitioned the court, arguing that Thomas’ claim is not legally valid and that they were the rightful owners because the emerald was allegedly used as collateral for a diamond deal with Larry Biegler that did not transpire.

Tags: Jeff Miller
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