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Tate Galleries under fire for purchase

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LONDON, Nov 14, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- The director of London's Tate Galleries is in hot water over using charity funds to purchase a Chris Ofili painting, it was reported Monday.

Director Nicholas Serota has offered to repay the 75,000-pound ($130,128) donation from the National Art Collection Fund used to purchase the 600,000 pound (more than $1 million) artwork, the Times of London said.

Although Serota broke the fund's rules by seeking a grant to obtain "The Upper Room" after he had already committed to buying it, a spokesman said it would not accept the money back.

"Sir Nicholas contacted us to say a mistake had been made with the original application and that the gallery would be only too willing to repay the grant," a spokesman said. "The fund decided that the grant should stand."

The gallery could come under scrutiny, however, for making such a large purchase while claiming to be strapped for cash, the newspaper said.


Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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