The art world is full of wonder, beauty, interesting personalities and intrigue. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of my art career has been my association with Robert Preiss, my former boss. As with most jobs it all started out so wonderfully, fine art, fast cars, interesting people and luxury. The area of my focus in the business was the technical side, gathering historical facts, verifying paperwork and checking authenticity, putting together presentation packages for large art deals, etc. Over the years I’ve known Robert Preiss I have heard and uncovered some of the most unbelievable things. Promises made and broken, shattered trust, vicious attacks, half-truths and malicious lies. If these had only been directed at me personally I’d simply let it go and chalk it up to some of life’s more painful lessons. However this is not the case. I’m not a therapist yet I can’t help but wonder what must have happened to this man, which allows him to behave the way he has toward myself and so many others, seemingly without remorse.
I left employment with Robert Preiss when it became undeniably clear that he had no intention to make good on promises he’d made to me and to many others. I moved on to open Robin Rile Fine Art with my wife Kat in 2008. Though we started our business under the harshest of conditions during the recessionary years, our commitment to excellence and transparency has paid off with numerous delighted clients giving us referrals and continuing to do business with us over the years. In fact, we have a 100% satisfaction rate.
As a broker between buyers and sellers of fine art, I keep copious notes on everything that comes through my desk. This attribute allows me to service my clients in a thorough and professional manner. As what seemed like the glamorous life of Robert Preiss began to unravel before my eyes, I began to keep notes on incidents of significance in case I’d ever need them. While I could recount story after story and refute much of what Robert has said, let me just say this, the only safe place to stand is the truth and facts don’t lie. One thing that has been personally satisfying to me has been the ability to provide victims of Robert’s art galleries (who trusted him by placing pieces of their artwork there on consignment) get to the truth about the status of their property. In a few cases, we have even helped return it to their possession.
The thing that’s still bothering me is, even though Robert is a convicted felon who was sentenced to two years in prison for theft and owes over a half a million in remunerative damages to his victims, he opened another gallery Hermes Arte Roma in Palm Beach County upon his release from prison in 2013. He refers to himself an investment adviser while claiming to the court that he’s penniless. Preiss has been before several courts asserting outrageous claims of conspiracy against him (many of which have been thrown out by the court). Judges have denied Preiss’ pleas of poverty, upheld his conviction and confirm his responsibility to repay the money owed to his victims.
All I can do is hope that those who consider doing business with Robert Preiss do their due diligence and are able to avoid the harsh lessons his other victims have had to go through.