At the beginning of Michael Cohen’s testimony in front of the House Oversight committee, he talked about the auction of a portrait of Donald Trump, for which he says he was asked to find a straw bidder to buy the piece of artwork at an elevated price. At the hearing, Cohen named pharmaceuticals billionaire Stewart Rahr as the “fake bidder” who purchased the painting by artist William Quigley with the expectation that Trump would reimburse him.
News Channel Five says that the heavy lifting behind the scenes fell to Cohen, according to his sworn testimony, as he had to approach Rahr and work out the details, making sure that the portrait of Trump sells for more than any other portrait at the auction.
“Mr. Trump directed me to find a straw bidder to purchase a portrait of him that was being auctioned at an Art Hamptons Event. The objective was to ensure that his portrait, which was going to be auctioned last, would go for the highest price of any portrait that afternoon.”
Right after the event, Trump tweeted that his portrait topped the list in sales of all of the art at the charity auction in the Hamptons. But Cohen says that it wasn’t Trump who personally reimbursed Rahr, but The Trump Foundation, the family’s nonprofit organization which was forced to be dissolved last year.
EXCLUSIVE: Billionaire Stewart Rahr banned from Nobu after throwing a hissy fit when he couldn't get a table http://t.co/qfsdd8A9
— New York Post (@nypost) November 11, 2012
But who is Steward Rahr? According to The Huffington Post, the billionaire is a controversial figure who was born and raised in New York, and despite the fact that he is 72, he is a partier who calls himself “Stewie Rah Rah Number One King of All Fun.”
He is a self-made billionaire who turned his family’s pharmacy into Kinray Pharmaceuticals which he sold to Cardinal Health in 2010 for $1.3 billion.
The longtime friend of Donald Trump and family has kept up his colorful persona, and around the time of the auction, he made headlines after a post-divorce celebration got out of hand. Rahr filmed a private party in the back of his limousine with three young women and then emailed it to his full list of personal and media contacts.
His lawyer tried to do damage control after the fact and released a statement to clarify that though the women looked young, none of them were underage.
“However inappropriate or offensive the footage might appear to some, all the women are consenting adults who were engaged in friendly, voluntary and lawful behavior.”