A mum and dad are suing their son's school amid claims a charitable auction was rigged, leaving them with a bill for $50k for a children's finger painting.
Socialite Michelle Heinemann and her investment banker husband Jon are suing the New York Cathedral School of St John the Divine, which their son Hudson Cornelius attended until recently.
The Daily Mail claims that the couple took Hudson out of the school following the row over the auction – and that the $415,000 plus damages they are now pursuing will include the cost of his $20,000 tuition at a new school, the forfeited class fees for his sister, Hyacinth Cornelia, and the $60,000-a-year salary for his school-run chauffeur.
The New York Post reports that family had donated $6,000 worth of designer clothing items to the school auction, and 'renowned artist' Mrs Heinemann had worked with Hudson's kindergarten class to create a piece of art to sell at the event.
The class made a 30-by-30-inch finger painting from the traced and cut-out hands of Hudson and his 17 classmates, which they then painted and stuck on paper.
The family had allegedly agreed to bid $3,000 'tops' for the piece of art, but, according to their lawsuit, once at the auction, the school's director of advancement had a first-grade teacher drive the bid up to 'the outrageous sum of $50,000'.
"The Heinemanns tried to settle this matter without a lawsuit, but the cathedral had no interest in taking responsibility for their actions," said family spokesman R. Couri Hay.
The New York Post says that the school has not returned their calls in response to the story.