Former Kirkland man's Jimi Hendrix-Pat O'Day art, other pieces seized from Bellevue gallery
By CARRIE RODRIGUEZ
Kirkland Reporter Editor
March 8, 2012 · Updated 12:42 PM
After a long-time ongoing civil dispute with a former Kirkland jewelry store owner, customer Colleen Holden said it’s not about the money anymore.
The feud began when O’Day Gem Gallery owner Jerry O’Day was evicted from his Lake Street Kirkland store in 2003 and filed for bankruptcy. Many victims alleged that they consigned their jewelry to O’Day and he left without paying them or giving their jewelry back.
He was never charged with a crime, but Holden filed a civil claim that ended in a nearly $30,000 judgment against O’Day in 2009.
A dozen pieces of O’Days’ artwork were seized on Feb. 2 at Gunnar Nordstrom Gallery in Bellevue because O’Day failed to pay the judgment, according to court documents.
The artwork – which includes guitars signed by such musicians as Steve Miller and a sculpture of Jimi Hendrix and O’Day’s father, legendary Pat O’Day shaking hands – will be sold at a public auction on March 14 in Newcastle.
While all proceeds will go toward Holden’s judgment, she said to her this is not about restitution, but accountability.
“It’s important because he’s wronged so many people in this area,” said the long-time Kirkland resident. “I just had a desire to right a wrong and to hold him accountable.”
O’Day Gem Gallery
O’Day and his wife opened their gallery in 1993 at 115 Lake Street, where O’Day designed, manufactured and sold jewelry. He moved to a larger location in 1999 and partnered with Gunnar Nordstrom, renaming their store to On Bronze.
O’Day said his store, which focused on higher-end jewelry and art, did very well at first. But the dot-com bust affected his business.
“I personally made mistakes in running the business and ended up having to go bankrupt,” said O’Day, who now lives in Des Moines. “There were several people I had received consignments from that didn’t get paid … It was a very difficult time.”
Nordstrom's gallery remained opened in Kirkland until 2008, at which time he moved to Bellevue. Nordstrom did not have anything to do with the case.
Kirkland Police Detective Don Carroll said 15 customers filed police reports between 2003-2005, mostly alleging that O’Day stole their possessions or didn’t return money. Some also alleged that O’Day took stones out of some jewelry and replaced them with cheaper stones.
“People had stuff on consignment and they just couldn’t get it back,” said Carroll, noting that O’Day was cooperative throughout the process. “Obviously we thought we had a good case, but for one reason or another the (King County) Prosecutor’s Office wouldn’t file charges.”
On one occasion, a Kirkland woman gave O’Day an item of diamond jewelry to sell on consignment in 2000, according to a police report filed in 2003. After three years and several attempts to get her jewelry back, O’Day brought her several pieces of inferior grade jewelry as “collateral” for her stone, the documents continue.
O’Day said the stone from the woman’s ring was being certified, among other explanations for it being missing. The woman finally learned that O’Day had declared bankruptcy and she was listed as a creditor in the filing, along with more than 15 others.
Many, including Holden, filed judgements against O’Day to try and retrieve their money and jewelry that O’Day discharged through bankruptcy.
“There are so many people who have a bad taste in their mouth about Jerry O’Day,” said Holden, who met O’Day in the ‘90s and was his friend, customer and then investor. “He’s a slippery character.”
She said she invested in several projects with O’Day in 2001-2002, including a diamond project and the bronze mermaid Bella Serena statue. Holden said she took possession of the statue because O’Day “didn’t pay me any of the money he owed me.”
However, O’Day said Holden was “dishonest” and wouldn’t work with him to try and convert the jewelry.
The statue itself became another ordeal for Holden when she gave it back to O’Day because he said he had a buyer for it. When he didn’t return the $37,000 statue, Holden hired a private detective and learned that it was located on the beachfront property of his father’s Friday Harbor home. Pat O’Day is a well-known former disc jockey and radio host in Seattle.
Holden filed another lawsuit against O’Day and his wife, Lynn Bartholmey and Pat O’Day and wife, Stephanie O’Day in 2008. However, she eventually dropped the latter two from the lawsuit after the couple returned the statue a year later.
She eventually settled with O’Day for about $30,000, but said except for a small amount of O’Days’ wages that were successfully garnished, she has yet to see the rest of her money.
“It’s been so much stress for me and it’s been so hard on my health,” said Holden, who is 64. “I need it to be done with.”
O’Day said he’s paid the state more than $50,000 since he filed for bankruptcy and still has taxes to pay.
He said he is “devastated” that his art was seized.
“That’s sacred stuff, so to have it taken away was hurtful, but I also understood it,” said O’Day, who stressed that Nordstrom had nothing to do with the situation and that he helped O'Day out with some art projects. “I hope that they get good money (from the auction) and I hope this will help me further resolve the debt that I have.”
Both O'Day and Holden are still bitter towards each other, but both agreed on one thing - the entire process has been a nightmare.
"My whole business with Jerry has been nothing but a nightmare," said Holden.
O'Day said some people learn lessons harder than others.
“I had a very difficult 10 years, but I really wish no ill-will and I just want the nightmare to be over.”
About the auction
A dozen pieces of O’Days artwork, including paintings, pieces upon which signed guitars are mounted and a sculpture of Jimi Hendrix and Pat O’Day shaking hands will be sold during a sheriff’s auction at 10 a.m. on March 14 at 6860 Coal Creek Parkway S.E. in Newcastle.
The pieces collectively are worth about $30,000.
For more information, visit Hansen Bros. Moving & Storage at www.hansenbros.com/HB-Auctions.
Contact Kirkland Reporter Editor Carrie Rodriguez at email@example.com or 1-425-822-9166 (ext 5050).