Cosmetics kingpin Ron Lauder has hired American Continental Group to bolster his campaign to pressure museums to return Nazi era-confiscated art to the children/heirs of their owners.
The son of Estee and Joseph Lauder, who is worth $3.9B to rank No. 435 on Forbes' world billionaire list, is an avid art collector who is active in Jewish affairs.
The president of the World Jewish Congress has amassed an art collection of 4,000 pieces worth $1B, reported Forbes.
Active in American politics, Lauder served as US ambassador to Austria and deputy secretary of defense for European and NATO affairs.
Lauder told the New York Observer in April that Germany, Switzerland, UK and the US are key targets in the effort to recover looted art.
The Norton Simon Museum (Pasadena) has been waging an eight-year battle to retain its pair of "Adam" and "Eve" paintings that were stolen from a Dutch-Jewish art dealer by Hermann Goering, Hitler confidante & Gestapo founder.
The Nuremberg tribunal convicted Goering of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to hang. He avoided his fate, committing suicide by swallowing cyanide tablets.
The museum does not dispute the theft by Goering but maintains it has legal claims to the artworks via property law and constitutional principles. A US District Court will open a new trial on that art dispute in March.
Shawn Smeallie, special-assistant-legislative affairs for President Bush I, and Manus Cooney, former chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee, handle Lauder's work at ACG.