TMZ

Our TV Shows

Got a Tip?

Call TMZ at (888) 847-9869 or Click Here

Ex 'SpongeBob' Artist

I Have PROOF

Gallery Owner Jacked My Art

8/31/2011 12:05 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0830_todd_hite_spongebob_exd
Todd White
-- a former lead artist for "SpongeBob SquarePants" -- claims a gallery owner made a fortune by copying his precious works ... and now White says he has hard proof of the rip-off. 

White filed a federal lawsuit against Margaret Howell last week accusing her of making "dozens of unauthorized copies" -- and selling them for, potentially, hundreds of thousands of dollars.

White's legal team provided the images below -- which they claim shows how Howell illegally copied one of Todd's pieces. They allege the "fake" was sold for several thousands of dollars.

0830_WHITEART_subasset

White is suing Howell and The Gallery HB -- in Huntington Beach, CA -- for more than $5 million in damages.

Howell actually fired the first shot in this legal war when she sued White ... claiming he sent thugs to force her to sign an agreement returning his artwork and copyrights. Howell's attorney has said she only signed "out of fear for her life."

White denies that accusation -- and his lawsuit specifically asks the court to declare the signed agreement valid.


16 COMMENTS

No Avatar

1.

Gloria Unread    

"[Howell] sued White... claiming he sent thugs to force her to sign an agreement returning his artwork and copyrights. Howell's attorney has said she only signed "out of fear for her life."
--------------------------------------------------------

Some people do consider lawyers to be thugs. (just kidding, Harvey! I love lawyers! ;-D )

Howell deserves to be sued, and should give back any money she made, as well as her incredibly awful forgeries.

She's a thief, plain and simple. The nerve of this woman to bring up a lawsuit first, when she's the one committing a crime! She should have to pay any legal fees White incurred from that.

1119 days ago
2.

God-Of-Lyf    

I thought that a kid had drawn Spongebob all these years. I wouldn't admit it if I was him. Some people make crazy amounts of money for little to no effort at all. Just Saying...

P.S. Draw a sponge that doesn't look like a sponge, now that would be a sight to behold!

1119 days ago
3.

lydia    

Draw a sponge that doesn't look like a sponge, now that would be a sight to behold!I am a 28 years old doctor, mature and beautiful.and now I am seeking a good man who can give me real love , so i got a username Lindasunny2002 on--a'ge'l'es's'da'te.c óm--.it is the first and best club for y'ounger women and old'er men, or older women and y'ounger men,to int'eract with each other. Maybe you wanna ch'eck 'it out or tell your friends!

1119 days ago
4.

Dave    

The fake looks like a crappy quickie doodle copy of the original, just less detail and looks more rushed. It looks pretty obvious she hired a crappy artist to copy it and looks like she tried to pass it off as the original. Kinda like those bootleg images you see of like donald duck on chinese knockoffs, except in this case trying to pass it off as the real thing. Don't buy the story of being forced to hand back the rights. More like he discovered the crap she was pulling and tried to talk to her about ceasing the crap

Ones the original and one looks like a poor knockoff passed as the real deal.She couldn't get the image more convincingly? Seriously did she just roughly sketch it herself? Probably thought she could get away with it in any case. This wasn't some small amounts this was thousands of dollars and being passed off as original. I suspect by rushing to sue him she thought she would throw him off guard and possibly deter him. Court will probably end up seeing the bad forgeries and make her pay.

1119 days ago
5.

Evad    

As a Todd White Collector, I have 5 fakes in my home. I cannot believe that someone like Howell, could do this to the Artist much less to the collectors. I hope the legal system will come through for Mr. White and Howell will never own a art gallery again.

1119 days ago
6.

Leader of the ignorant masses    

I would rather draw it myself and save the money. If i were to invest in art it would not be from a cartoonist. I prefer the works of great artists who's art have real impact. this just says thirsty slut to me. But to each his own.

1119 days ago
7.

spongebob    

LOL He brought hired thugs to come down on her??? He's a former cartoonist for Tiny Toons and Spongebob. Thats rich! Amazed he found a career afterwords as a respected artist though. It was probably more a argument and the gallery owner panicked and decided to do some misdirection by suing first. Its obvious that the fake doesn't resemble the original.

Hope the gallery owner pays,doubt they will shut down. Will probably argue misunderstanding or claim it was given a faked TW image. Anything to save their public face. Seriously doubt they will go down reputation wise for this one. Its not exactly Sothebys,etc trying to pass off a forged old world master. Small gallery sells forged cartoonist prints isn't front pages news; well at least on TMZ it is.

Couldn't they have at least gotten a better looking forgery? Its not exactly a picasso or anywhere near as complex. Looks like something exactly a cartoonist would doodle on a napkin. He gets paid how much for this?? damn i should be an artist

1119 days ago
8.

lookingoodat50    

Well I can tell you that Todd White's painting are awesome and there is a story behind each painting he does. I don't own any myself, but one day I hope too. Miss Peggy had NO right to copy his work. My god does she has no shame. That's the problem with some of these weathly people, they think they can do anything. I hope they put it to her, she needs to pay for what she did. Shame on you Miss Peggy.

1119 days ago
9.

spinner25    

Yet TMZ has said nothing about the guy who claims to be Joe Lieberman's nephew stealing art from hundreds of artists and passing most of it off as his own and selling prints for up to $800 a piece.

1118 days ago
10.

tylar    

the whole point is once again an artist is getting peeled by a gallery and the sad truth is no one gives a ****. this piggy was scanning, printing and signing as well as notes to clients on the back. This is a federal case and no doubt she will go to prison. Congrats to WHITE for standing up for artist and not folding like most would.

1113 days ago
11.

erik mason    

FYI, to those following the saga of the Sponge Bob artist and the robbery at the Gallery HB ... here is word from a reliable legal eagle that works for OC: HB police reports and recommends the case be tried by the OC DA as a CRIMINAL CASE with counts including robbery, assault and several FELONY counts against the suspects !!!!

1086 days ago
12.

Jones    

Thanks erik for pointing out the below. It appears their is enough evidence to support Ms Howell's claims according to the police. Such a shame when Mr White was having such success. Remember O.J.?

erik mason: 12 days ago

FYI, to those following the saga of the Sponge Bob artist and the robbery at the Gallery HB ... here is word from a reliable legal eagle that works for OC: HB police reports and recommends the case be tried by the OC DA as a CRIMINAL CASE with counts including robbery, assault and several FELONY counts against the suspects !!!!

1075 days ago
13.

ThugFan    

So much for your sources Legal Eagle. The police investigated and found no truth to the wild claims. Maybe your insider will have news of the false police report charge to be filed against this looney woman who also is aa admitted thief by the way

1061 days ago

Around The Web