PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Two men accused of stealing and selling more than $8 million worth of rare books and items from the Carnegie Library were in court on Friday.
A preliminary hearing was held for former Carnegie Library rare books manager Gregory Priore and bookstore owner John Schulman. Both are going to trial.
The prosecution presented emails today claiming Schulman, the owner of the Caliban Bookstore, sent Priore a shopping list of books and other items to be stolen from the Oliver Room at the Carnegie Library in Oakland.
“I think those emails are likely out of context,” said Albert Veverka, Schulman’s attorney. “I’m looking forward to giving some context to them. Mr. Schulman certainly would maintain he never asked or requested for any specific items to be removed from the Oliver Room.”
An audit in 2017 found that over a 20-year period more than 300 books were missing from the library’s Oliver Room at a loss of more than $8 million.
Authorities say 40 books worth $250,000 were recovered from the Caliban Bookstore warehouse, owned by Schulman.
Priore admitted he took books, maps and other items from the Oliver Room and walked out. The prosecution claims Schulman was the mastermind. But his attorney says that’s not true.
“That’s certainly not the case. Mr. Schulman is a well-respected member, or was a well-respected member of the ABAA (Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America). He continues to maintain that he received these items from Mr. Priore , that he did not know what was going on,” said Veverka.
Some books were sold on various websites like eBay, but many have been returned.
Schulman and Priore were held over for trial, but Schulman’s attorney hopes to talk to the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office once all of the evidence has been revealed.
“Once we get all that information, hopefully, we can sit down with the District Attorney’s Office, go through the books, and do what I would hope to accomplish today was to eliminate a large number of books that are claimed to be the responsibility of Mr. Schulman; and then, hopefully, we’ll have discussions about how we can about how we can resolve this case,” Veverka said.