Since publishing our second look at the rip-on boswell sale, with its mention of peter hoffmeister, we have received several anonymous emails questioning why we have written such "nasty" and "brutally unfriendly" comments about him.
We imagine these emails were from readers who never read our detailed recount of what happened between RK and hoffmeister.
So for the benefit of those readers, or any others, here are Parts One and Two, plus the URL where the rest of our look at hoffscheister and his thieving and cheating ways are documented and memorialized for all to read.
Contract RK signed with hoffmeister
Let’s begin at the beginning….
RK met hoffscheister after we were introduced to him by a German rug dealer who gave us a warning that unfortunately we did not heed.
This dealer, who knew hoffscheister quite well after having been acquainted with him and his family for many years gave us this admonition: “I would be very careful of hoffscheister” he said “I don’t ever trust him for much, he has a reputation of being not the most straight-forward or honest in his dealings.”
When we asked him how he know this he continued “There are a number of ‘stories’ floating around about how he has taken advantage of various people, both in the rug business and out, and a number of situations he had gotten into difficulties.”
When we then inquired about his personal experiences, rather than what he had just heard as gossip about hoffscheister, the dealer recounted a story where he had introduced a customer of his to hoffscheister with the proviso any business hoffscheister did with his customer, whether washing of his rugs or buying and selling with him would result in a commission, that they had agreed on, being paid to him.
”Well” the dealer continued “the first opportunity hoffscheister had to profit from the introduction resulted in my getting nothing. And when I told Hoffscheister we had made an agreement about me getting a 10 percent commission, hoffscheister replied with ‘I never agreed to pay you anything’.”
“So there I was” he said “with nothing to do and I just forgot about it. But I never did any more business with hoffscheister again. Neither did I introduce him to anyone”
After listening to his story we put it down as some type of miscommunication and didn’t think much about it as my “relationship” with hoffscheister was growing nicely and I trusted him rather than the another dealers “stories”.
In fact, our “relationship” eventually grew to the point of me spending weeks at a time living with hoffscheister, his wife Ursula and his younger child, his son.
During this period I introduced hoffscheister to many things, not the least of which were the benefits of healthy living, exercise and eating. Both he and his wife ended up over the next few years of our friendship changing almost completely their lives to reflect the logic of what they learned from me.
As far as rugs go, hoffscheister learned a lot from me and we don’t need to dwell on this other than the fact of the way he repaid all that he learned with greedy outrageous actions and personal and business dishonesty.
We met circa 1983 and became more friendly over the next years. During the summer of ’87 I was staying at their house, buying all the food for the family and “cooking” it, as my unasked for but gladly given contribution, to repay them for allowing me to live with them for weeks at a time.
At this point in history, circa 1986/7 I was writing the text for the Turkmen book I planned to do. This publishing effort, my first, was going to be a learning experience for the larger book and far more involved project on Ancient Anatolian Kelim and Archaeology I had already signed contracts to co-author, with Mellaart, Balpinar and Hirsch, and to produce.
The Turkmen book was going to reveal my studies concerning the Archaeological Pre-History of South-West Turkmenistan as well as illustrate some of the pieces from my Turkmen collection.
One afternoon that summer I was sitting in hoffscheister’s garden typing on a laptop computer and he came over and asked me what I was doing. I told hoffscheister about the Turkmen book I was going to do before tackling the larger Kelim and Archaeology project that he already knew I was working on.
He immediately said he’d like to do the Turkmen book with me and I should let him into the project.
We discussed his possible involvement at length over the next few weeks and reached agreement. We drew up a written contract, which is shown here, to detail and memorialize what each of us would do in relation to getting the book ready for publication and then publishing it:
Time is short for RK lately and that’s about all of it we have for today.
We will leave you all to read the agreement for yourselves, and with the following:
1. Not only did hoffscheister lie about the source of the money he put up for the book’s publication, but he
2. tried to cheap out on the pre-press and on press work,
3. did his little devious deals trying to avoid taxes,
4. never repaid the monies RK advanced and accounted for, as per the agreement, for art work and other pre-press work incorporated into the book
5. stole some of my photographs and, without asking my permission, photograph them and then present them in his "lectures", which by the way I wrote most of for him
6.and finally stole all the money from the proceeds of the book.
BUT then hoffscheister started to present my research and ideas as his own, without ever crediting me as the source.
What kind of duplicitous miserable excuse for a man would do this to a “friend” and colleague, you might ask?
No-one but a little mini-mind from Coburg, Germany named peter hoffscheister….any wonder now why RK calls him hoffscheister?
Soon after we signed the agreement I left to go back to the USA but over the next few months spent a considerable amount of time talking with hoffscheister on the phone.
Before leaving we had agreed on some designs and style ideas for the book but as soon as RK was out of sight, so was he out of hoffscheister’s pea-sized brain. And so were the ideas we had discussed.
Finding the situation difficult to manage, being in America and all the work being done in Germany, I decided to throw in the towel on insisting on what we had agreed and let hoffscheister have his way on the changes he demanded. Here is a letter he wrote:
One of the points I was firm on was that the photos be on a black background but as you can see in the letter hoffscheister made a unilateral decision to put them on white.
This was disturbing but being an ocean between us and more pressing matters at hand, I acquiesced and let hoffscheister go and do what he wanted.
It was around this time that I learned hoffscheister was not paying for the pre-press and printing expenses as he had stated in our agreement.
Seems he had a doctor rug “collector”, read customer, ‘friend’ of his put up the money for the book.
When I learned this I pretty much decided what I had heard about him from others, and had refused to believe, was 100% true: Hoffscheister was a double-dealing creep who could not be trusted to honor his word.
This realization was definitely a disappointment, especially since we were now co-authors in a project that was basically not his in any way.
Even worse, all the work I had done was now being shared with someone who had done nothing other than use the situation for his own benefit.
I never spoke to the doctor (whose was name was Baierly --might be misspelled -- who lived somewhere relatively near to hoffschiester’s town of Coburg), who was now paying for the book and would not be surprised if hoffscheister managed to cheat him as well.
Anyway as time went on our former exceedingly pleasant relationship began to turn and almost every time we spoke on the phone he insisted on changes in how the book would look, moaned about “all the work” he was doing for the printing and how much it was costing.
In one of those moaning and groaning phone calls the truth about the source of the money, that it was Baierly’s and not his, slipped out of hoffscheister’s mouth. I almost pulled the plug on the project but decided, since it was veritably finished to keep quiet and let it finish up.
Big mistake but as the saying goes “Hindsight is 20-20”.
That’s it for this episode of “the rest of the hoffscheister story”. Stay tuned for more…