The Shah Was a Sham

A fake Irani prince leaves Denver victims feeling royally screwed.

Still, that's very little on which to hang one's financial future. Broemmel's friends say he is a caring guy who just wanted to help. Nevertheless, another acquaintance believes he has another explanation for the innkeeper's naiveté: "I think he was blinded by the thought of too many zeros behind a one."

Patrik stayed at the inn the night of September 29 and then left, supposedly continuing on the last leg of his interrupted journey. When he turned up again two days later, he had a business proposal for Broemmel. Patrik said that his company, Eagle Spirit Investments, would be building a twenty-story, 500-room hotel in downtown Denver. Would Broemmel be interested in investing?

Dixons became the unofficial office for the Shah wannabe.
Brett Amole
Dixons became the unofficial office for the Shah wannabe.

He told Broemmel that the money for the project would be coming "soon." Until it arrived, however, he would need a place to stay.

Broemmel agreed to put Patrik up for an indefinite period, although he asked for a contract guaranteeing payment for the accommodations. Patrik signed the chit and moved in. He began charging all his meals to the hotel (the inn has a room-service agreement with Dixons Downtown Grill, a restaurant that sits across the street from the LoDo Inn), and he "bought" $8,000 worth of designer clothing from Lani Lee's Cherry Creek boutique, an amount that was added to his hotel tab.

But it was okay, Patrik said. He was good for the money.

Broemmel and Patrik quickly struck up a friendship. Broemmel introduced his new buddy to other friends and business associates, and they frequented Dixons restaurant day and night. Dixons eventually became Patrik's unofficial business office, a place where he could meet with lawyers, realtors, financial advisors and potential investors.

Lee Goodfriend, who owns Dixons along with two partners, remembers being impressed with the fact that, for a rich guy, Patrik seemed very "down to earth."

"I didn't get to know him that well," says Goodfriend. "One reason I didn't engage myself with him too much is because he was always in business meetings, and I didn't want to intrude.

"But he was friendly, nice. Warm and charming. Kind of courtly."

Although Goodfriend says some of her staff said Patrik was rude to them, he was gracious to others.

Restaurant manager Kim Knowles was one of those who seemed to appeal to Patrik's generous side. Generous, that is, despite the fact that he had no money of his own.

"He was pretty charming and had good talk," Knowles says. "I and the other night manager, Jackie, would sit and talk with him a lot. [Broemmel and Patrik] would come in sometimes two or three times a night."

Patrik told Knowles he was raised in Switzerland by his mother; he said his father died when he was twelve. He said he was exiled from Iran in 1978 and that since then he'd spent time in the United States and France, she recalls.

"He talked about growing up wealthy, about the restaurants he used to go to in Paris. He seemed worldly. He seemed to know a lot of things about things we wouldn't -- royalty, funerals, being in exile. He spoke like five different languages. He had the whole thing down."

Patrik also had a business proposal for Knowles, but rather than ask her for money, he promised to give her some.

"He offered me a job to run a restaurant in Beaver Creek for $240,000," Knowles says with amusement. "He said he was building a complex with 1,500 condos and five restaurants that would cater exclusively to European royalty.

"He said I'd be able to spend more time with my daughter," she continues. "I'd only have to work five hours a day, and I'd get a five-year contract. He'd send me to Paris to train.

"Yeah. Sure. Wouldn't that be nice?"

Knowles didn't laugh in Patrik's face when he offered her the job, though she didn't swallow his line, either. A quarter-million-dollar salary is "ridiculous" for what he was proposing, she says. "It's not even close. That's just silly."

Knowles says that she and other restaurant staffers became suspicious of Patrik's stories fairly early on. "He would wear the same clothes," she says. "He never paid for anything."

The only time Patrik seemed to pull out cash was when children were around.

"He loves kids," Knowles says. "Every time he'd see my daughter, he'd put $50 in her sock.

"She's the only one who made any money out of the whole deal," she muses. "Unfortunately, it's probably Tom's money."

When Patrik wasn't stuffing money into babies' socks, he was busy wooing money men and making sure that people knew he was loaded.

In addition to his high-rise-hotel venture, he also announced plans to open up a plant to manufacture a disposable toothbrush he said he'd patented. Some of those who've seen the schematics for his brush remain puzzled as to its appeal.

The toothbrush, they say, is designed to fit on the end of a finger. It has a brush on one side and a toothpick on the other. Patrik told people he would market it to airlines and hotels. He implied that at least one major airline had expressed interest in purchasing the brush for their passengers.

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let us know when you write the book because this man is somewhere in méxico doing whatever he wants


A great story on the imposter Ali Patrick Pahlav- a lot is missing I met him in 1992 when he defrauded Society General and Lansana Conteh- I have decided to write a book on him- and know one speaks about the Hundred million Dollars he nearly took from Boeing