Hill's estate paid DiMola about $4,500 in October 2004 to clean out the artist's Prince St. apartment, studio and basement storage.
The scuffed cardboard barrel was mistakenly considered trash and DiMola stuck it in a warehouse, where it collected dust for years.
He recently decided to peek inside just to see what treasure might await.
Even though no one intended to toss out the artifacts, Koegel said the foundation has no legal claim to recoup them from DiMola.
"If he is given a contract by the owner of property to remove and dispose of certain things, if the owner makes the mistake, that's the way it is," Koegel said.
Still, the attorney declined to congratulate DiMola on his find.
"I'm not happy for him," Koegel said. "I'm sorry that [barrel] slipped through the cracks."
The most valuable object that DiMola brought to upper East Side art dealer Howard Nowes for appraisal was a $1,000 stone ax god
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