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“What A Life, I’ve Had”: Said My Father, As He Was Dying.

 

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Dad

 

{NOTE: As You read this article and all articles within this blog, please feel free to hover your mouse/cursor over some of the pictures, where information will show pertaining to that picture and part of the article…}

I remember my Dad standing in his room in his underwear one early morning in our home on Stratton Mountain, Vermont. Bald and skinny from his chemo as his Malignant Melanoma was taking a stranglehold of every part of him and his body.  While my quadriplegic mother still in bed, waiting for Dad to get her dressed and out of bed for another day. I remember overhearing Dad say as he was talking with Mom: “If I were to die tomorrow, What a Life I’ve had. The people I met. The places I been to. The people I knew and worked with. What a life I’ve had, if I don’t say so myself”.
I remember quite well this happening that one morning. Seeing him in his room, with the ‘slender body’ that only Cancer can create, knowing that it was only a matter of time before the worst day of our lives would occur with his passing. Yet, before I speak about his life, {at least the parts that I know of/remember of his life…} I want to briefly speak about his illness, and ‘his life’ before Melanoma was known to us all.
My Dad was born on September 28, 1931, in Brooklyn, New York. He was one of 5 children. However, early on, his one older sibling George, had some kind of medical problem as a baby, and didn’t live long, and died soon after birth. That being said; in reality, he was one of four children. He had his older brother Frank, who later on we called “Uncle Sonny”. Then after Sonny, Dad came into the picture, then his younger Sister Janet {Erickson, of Staten Island, NY} and then his younger brother Richie.
Dad told me stories about how it was for him growing up on the streets of Brooklyn in the 40s and 50s. My Dad was the ‘first’ for many things, despite being the ‘second’ born. He was the first person to buy a record player for the family, despite having no records to play. He was the first one to go to Night School (College and Graduate) at Pace University in New York City.
He was the ‘older brother’ who helped his younger brother, Richie, move to Hawaii with his ‘Jewish girlfriend’ at the time. During those days, my “Far-Far” (which means Grand-Father in Swedish, what we called Grandpa in those days.) and “Bestemor” (Grandmother, in Norwegian) were strict parents, perhaps possibly even Anti-Jewish in those days, and desiring a ‘True Scandinavian’ for all their children. At least this was what they more than likely preferred, instead of having a ‘Jew’ in the family etc… Yet, my Uncle Rich loved my Aunt Bonnie so much, that my father saw what a wonderful woman she really was. Dad eventually was the one who helped them move to Hawaii. Some in the family saw it as ‘Rich running away with his Jewish Girlfriend and not wanting to be bothered with any backlash’ from the family, and my father was the one who was in effect saying: “Go live your life as however, you want Rich, I support you, don’t worry about things. Things will be ok”. In the end, Dad was right.
As time passed, my father had a wide variety of jobs. Early on, he was a carpenter and actually built his own house in some area of upstate New York. Offhand, I am unable to remember exactly ‘where’ or what part of NY State? Yet, I do remember a time when Dad took us on a ride showing us the actual house he built, of course, it had changed multiple times over the years and wasn’t ‘exactly’ left as how it was when he  first built it, but it was just one other part of information to the formation of my father’s life.
When he graduated from Pace University, he had a degree in accounting. And for a while, he was a CPA. As I grew up, I learned from Dad that it can never be a bad thing to try to learn ‘new things’ as he always said. I remember him telling me something to the effect of: “always keep an open mind with everything” and “don’t be afraid to meet new people or try out new things”. The one most important statement Dad was known for was; “don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Its how you learn”. This was his motto.
The other thing I noticed about my Dad, was how he always had the same friends in his life, that he grew up with. No matter what he did, or how his personal and overall life came out to be, he had the same friends in his life, whether or not he ‘saw them’ on a daily basis, or was in touch with them all the time or not. To him, back in those days; it never mattered. Growing up with them on the ‘poor streets’ of Brooklyn, New York, in the end, they were his ‘ true friends for life’. I remember Dad saying numerous times; “We were poor growing up, Erik”, he would explain to me. Yet, he often would follow that with: “But we had a lot of fun” despite being as poor as we were.
When I think about my Dad today and about this fact with how he had the majority of the same friends growing up, as he did by the time he died, makes me question things about my own life with regards to the ‘friends’ or ‘connections’ I have with people. This makes me think about my own personal experiences of how life is today for me and in a general sense. And how a high majority of those ‘former friends’ who I went to The Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn Heights, New York with who today, now block me and never connect, or who have connected with me but ignore me, or even unfriended me and so forth. I often feel sad about how I am treated in the world today, in comparison to how Dad was treated. I think it is a fair statement to say that, back then; people had more genuine care for others, unlike today. Although, I do realize times are different. Yet, I think I can say that during the time my father was alive, people had more ‘desire to actually care for’ other people in general, then how people act and behave today. At least with respect to how most people treat or mistreat me today, especially on Facebook or other areas ‘social media’ like this etc…
When looking at my very own personal experiences in this sense, if I went to school with someone whether at Packer, or Rumsey Hall, or NMH or Vermont Academy; often if I try to re-connect with someone from one of those places, a very high majority will purposely block ‘only my name’! Throwing me under the bus! Yet, I know there is no way for me to change that person’s behavior with respect to me. But if I could have it my way, I would love to have it the way my Dad did. Knowing all that I do ‘know’ from how Dad’s life was, with regards to his friends who he grew up with, … I can certainly say that ‘their way of treating people’, is a lot better than how most people treat others today in this world that we now live every day.
In the 1970’s, my father was working for John M Shaheen, who was an Oil Financier of Lebanese background, and later became the Vice President of Ring Free Oil, in Come-by-chance in New Foundland, Canada. Shaheen was quite an important figure himself, who in the early days worked within the OSS, and it was through this time period, where Shaheen knew William Casey, who would, later on, become the CIA Director of the United States Government, during the Ronald Reagan Administration. Thus, how my father than also became close friends as well with William Casey later on in his career down the road.

Personally, I remember years ago having multiple dinners with my father and my personal doctor and friend, Dr. Sammi Hashim, from St. Lukes Hospital in NYC. During those dinners we often found ourselves talking about the ‘old days’ of John Shaheen and Dad. Both my Dad and Hashim, would as if taking turns telling me stories about their own connections via Shaheen. {Dr. Hashim was also an important figure himself in his own right. He was another personal friend of my Dad’s that he met somehow connected with John Shaheen, I think.} Hashim was once offered the Surgeon General’s Job during the Ford Administration Years, but he refused it and didn’t want the job. Hashim today, holds close ties with the Kuwaiti Royal Family and is personal friends and the personal doctor for the Emir of Kuwait. And I remember how Dr. Hashim, would be so animated as he would talk to me about my dad, and how even he/Dr. Hashim knew the history between my dad and Mr. Shaheen back in those early days. I remember food would be spitting out of Dr. Hashim’s mouth towards my direction, as Hashim once said to me: “Your father, almost became a Billionaire with John Shaheen, before Shaheen made a huge terrible mistake and ruined that likelihood for everyone involved” I remember this being said very well by Hashim. I remember Dad, who was also at the table, being humble, and like everything else, he did, ‘not’ making it as big a deal as Hashim did. Yet, this one evening that I remember, is an example of how my Dad was with respect to everything that occurred in his life. Humble. Yet, with his feet, always ‘keeping tabs with the ground’.

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John M Shaheen: on top picture, take note of his tie he was wearing. Dad called it the “Shaheen Tie”

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Hashim’s Confidant: Emir of Kuwait

 

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Family Friend Dr. Sammi Hashim, alongside Emir of Kuwait, while touring the new Medical Center Section for Heart Patients in the name of the holiness of Kuwait, at St. Lukes Medical Center in NYC. Thanks to Hashim and his close ties to the Kuwaiti Royal Family, is what made the Emir donate some $12 Million to build this addition in his name.


It was through his meeting and eventually working alongside John Shaheen, where his life also changed in ways with regards to traveling all over the world for business. If one were to look back at all the places he had gone to visit for all his business dealings over his entire lifetime, one would soon realize that he was lucky enough to see all kinds of different parts of the world, where languages and cultures probably clashed from one hour to the next. Yet, regardless…Dad always worked toward whatever goal that he was determined to accomplish. Most importantly, he was honest with all he did, no matter ‘who’ he worked with. He sincerely believed in ‘working with partners’ and being sincere and honest while doing so.
It would also be a fair statement to say; that as he traveled the world from the beginning of his “International Business Career” during the younger days, up until the time he became ill and died; that it was a combination of one of two things. Sometimes he paid his ‘own way’ to travel from one place to another. And sometimes he would have others pay his way for him. And it was through these travels over the years, that in of itself, he could have found himself losing his life prematurely due to ‘close calls’ of two known Terrorist Attacks.
The two events that I remember so profoundly, where my father was almost killed by a terrorist attack were the Bombings inside the Frankfurt Airport Terminal on June 19, 1985 and Pan Am Flight 103 on December 21, 1988.

The first example was on June 19, 1985: Where a bomb was planted inside a garbage can within the terminal of the Frankfurt, Germany Airport. Dad had been in the airport for a while during a layover and was walking around the airport stalling for time before he had to board his next flight back home to JFK. He had been walking back and forth, passing this one garbage can a couple times. Where after the last time he passed by it, some approximately 100 feet or so, maybe further away from it….he then heard and felt a powerful *BOOM*! Of course, Dad was shaken and terrified and as he later told us his story: he turned back behind him to see what had just happened. He noticed many people lying on the ground, people screaming in pain and in terror, and broken glass and debris everywhere, along with a lot of blood being visible.

Now by this time, I was home in our apt in Brooklyn Heights, 200 Hicks Street and ABC News with Peter Jennings had interrupted the program to mention this terrorist attack just occurring. As I was watching this news brief, our phone rang; it was Dad. I answered the phone and Dad said: “Uhh, Erik, it’s Dad, I am at the airport in Frankfurt waiting for my plane. I’m unsure if you have heard already or not, but a bomb exploded from within a garbage can here at the airport that I had passed by numerous time prior to, and that I actually had just past it as I was waiting for my next flight to board. I am ok, there is a lot of chaos going on here; lots of broken glass, people lying on the floor, blood on the ground lots of screaming going on…..Uh, oh wait, I hear they are calling my flight now Erik, ok I have to run and get on the plane, they are boarding now. I will see you when I get home, Love you”. ‘Click’ as the line went dead. Somehow,… in times of chaos, my Dad still kept his cool, and came across at least, like he was ‘not bothered’. This was ‘one example’ where I almost lost my dad due to a Terrorist Attack.

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Frankfurt Airport Terminal Bombing, June 19, 1985

The second example where I almost lost my father, could have been on December 21, 1988, when Pan Am Flight 103, blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland. Ironically enough, the day before my mom and dad’s wedding anniversary, December 22.  The interesting thing about this story and how it could have affected my father was that he was in London, UK for a meeting. But he had just learned that his meeting had been canceled and that it was ‘not’ needed for him to stay any longer in the UK. So, here is the amazing part: had his meeting ‘not’ been canceled, he then was supposed to fly home on the doomed Pan Am Flight 103, on December 21, 1988, where he would have been killed. But thankfully, his meeting was canceled. So he came home a week earlier, and actually left London, on December 14, 1988, on that exact same flight; Pan Am Flight 103.
Now, let me mention to you, those who are reading this; some important information about this particular ‘terrorist attack’. Over the years, this known information has been seemingly purposely ignored. But as a younger kid, again being home in Brooklyn, watching ABC News with Peter Jennings; it was later found out and proven to be that Pan Am Flight 103, did ‘not’ explode due to a “Terrorist Attack” of a bomb on the plane from a so-called ‘terrorist’ from Libya. But rather it was an American ‘sting operation’ gone bad. That, in fact, an American Govt Agent, was actually on the plane himself, transporting a ‘bomb’ in his briefcase for another ‘planned attack’ via the US Govt. However, it detonated prematurely and thus made the plane explode in the middle of the flight, killing the undercover U.S Govt Agent himself along with all the other passengers on the doomed flight and those few on the ground.

I remember specifically hearing this and then informing my father of this news that I heard from ABC News and Peter Jennings. And frankly, when I told my father about this, it took some time before he/Dad too learned of this fact, something that in today’s ‘online’ information, is nowhere to be found, due to ‘cover up’ of the US Govt. Later on down the road, our family eventually learned in a more personal way soon after the Reagan Administration’s Iran Contra Affair, {that my father was the whistleblower for} how “sting operations” work.


So, as you see, a lot of things had certainly occurred to my father personally, that could have affected him and our entire family in a positive or negative way throughout the years. But one thing is for sure; that regardless of all that has happened during the lifetime of my father, in the end; it only made all of us ‘take further note’ to the fact that my Dad really did have some incredible life, to which the more you read on, you will see for yourself as well.
When I think back to that one quote Dad said, that I will never forget: “What a life, I’ve had” something he said as he was ill with his Melanoma, many times. etc… It is truly interesting to reminisce even more about the parts of his life, that I do know of, and do remember myself to be able to share with all of you here and today all that did occur. Yet, When I explain in detail about these parts that I do remember and know of,…it then makes me think to myself: “What about those things that I don’t remember, or never knew, or maybe something else really interesting and exciting occurred in my Dad’s life, that I wish I could as if, go up to my Dad again and say to him: “Am I missing any other interesting parts of your life, pertaining to either people you met and knew and or worked with”? Sadly, this will never come to be. So, I can only speak about the examples I do know and remember that he told me about throughout his life as I have so far to this point.
As I mentioned, in brief, earlier, it was through John M Shaheen, and the OSS, where and how my father met and got to know William Casey, who became the CIA Director during the Reagan Administration. It was also through Shaheen, where Dad met and got to know and become friends with Richard Nixon before he became the President of the United States.


Then like all else, how my own father brought it up to me about “never be afraid to meet new people” (My Dad often said that to me too etc….) It was through Dad’s boss John Shaheen, how Dad met Mr. Adnan Khashoggi, the Saudi Financier who during the time they first met, Khashoggi, was THE Richest Man on the planet! He was a Billionaire back then. (back in the early 70s etc…) So, it eventually became over a lifetime, that from Dad’s business deals, and contacts, beginning with Shaheen and Khashoggi, he eventually got to know a wide variety of prominent people throughout his career. Of which, all of this started with from those two very first people: John M Shaheen and Adnan M  Khashoggi.

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PARIS, FRANCE – MARCH 29: Adnan Khashoggi and his wife Lamia. Who I was lucky to meet both in Boston in 1991

Those other International Business and Political Figures that my Dad knew so well, often had familial ties too, to Leaders of States of Middle Eastern Countries. Whether my father being close friends with Iranian Businessman Manucher Ghorbanifar, who earlier on was a secret double agent for both Iran’s Intelligence Service, known as the SAVAK Agency as well as Israels MOSSAD Agency, who was close friends of the former President of Libya, Muammar Qaddafi, and who at one point had close connections to the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran & the Shah of Iran as well.

I remember a very interesting story pertaining to Mr. Ghorbanifar and Qaddafi that Dad told me. Actually, it was sometime in April in 1986, while I was a student at Northfield Mount Hermon School. I was downstairs in the basement of my dorm, talking with Dad on the payphone, who was in Paris, France. This was sometime soon after President Ronald Reagan of the United States of America had ordered an airstrike on Libya, as retaliation for its probable role in the bombing of a discotheque in Berlin, Germany. In fact, I remember it was mentioned on the news that Reagan had said that if the strikes were to have killed Qadaffi as a consequence of this airstrike, then this would’ve been considered a bonus, but it wasn’t his/ Reagan’s apparent goal.

I remember my Dad informing on the phone, that he had just spoken with Ghorbanifar on the phone the night before, which was about 2 days after the airstrike.  Here is the incredible part:  It was at that time my father informed me that Ghorbanifar had had dinner alone with Qadaffi. Now, this was at a time that the ‘world’ had ‘not’ heard anything from Qadaffi and there were rumors going around about the  ‘what if’ he had been caught up in the airstrike and killed by mistake. Yet, here a ‘nobody’ kid, who was 17 years old, on a payphone in a basement of a dorm in the small state of Massachusetts, speaking with his Dad, who was in Europe, was telling me ‘where’ “Qaddafi was” all the while, the world {media} was looking for him and had no clue ‘where’ he was.  But I knew. He was with Ghorbanifar.  Safe. Not injured, but yes, Ghorbanifar reported to Dad that Qadaffi told him {Ghorbanifar} he was “afraid” of being killed.

 

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Close business friend of Dad’s, Manucher Ghorbanifar

 

 

Wow!

So here I was, this seventeen-year-old kid, in prep-school, in a small town in the northern part of New England in the state of Massachusetts, in a dreary, dirty, basement, where kids normally would take breaks to smoke, and or use the payphone to call home. Yet, I’m here talking with my Dad, who was in Paris at the time and here he just informed me where the leader of the middle eastern country Libya was, as the rest of the world and the U.S  Government had no clue where he was for a period of time, yet, me….a ‘nobody’ a seventeen-year-old kid in Massachusetts knew, all thanks to my Dad. Incredible.

 

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President Ronald Reagan consults members of Congress about the AirStrike

 

 

Make no mistake about it. I knew I held incredible information at that time. I was fully aware of the importance of my father, of such information.  Yet, again to us, to our family, ‘this’ was the ‘norm’.  This was…my Dad.

It’s so fun to re-think and to reminisce about this part of my life as well, let alone my dad’s. In fact, there really is a treasure trove of business contacts and information of my Dad, that honestly, sadly, I’m ‘not’ aware of ‘everything’, because that would be really hard to do, but from what I remember still, is truly incredible even today thinking back about it.

 

Cyrus Hashemi was another close friend of my father’s also from Iran, who was the cousin of the 4th President of Iran; Rafsanjani. Rafsanjani recently died this past January 8, 2017. Sadly, Cyrus Hashemi was likely murdered by the US Govt, via Food Poisoning. For it is widely known, that he literally became infected with a highly fatal type of Leukemia literally overnight. This death was highly suspicious. And during that time when Hashemi died, I remember my mom being worried about Dad’s overall safety with regards to his business deals and those who he was working with.

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Cyrus Hashemi

This ‘secretive’ life he had, only grew more intense throughout his years, especially as he got older and more so, during the Iran Contra Affair. In fact, during the Iran Contra Affair, Dad’s ‘code name’ was: “Mr. Roy”, and AK’s {Khashoggi}  was “The Eagle” and Ghorbanifar’s was: “The Beard”. Yet, as all that  I am sharing here, some of the things I speak of here are all that I remember perfectly, yet I’m sure he took plenty of secrets with him to the grave as well.

Sometime in 2003 while I was in Paris, France alone, and only 2 years since the passing of my Dad, I met with AK’s {Khashoggi} former confidant, Zenka. This particular meeting was my first and only meeting with her, and here we discussed many things about my father and AK. I met with her for the primary reason to inform her that my father had recently passed away, especially since Dad often did ‘not’ share his health status with business partners. During my conversation with Zenka, I learned that she knew and met with The Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat, and she was with him/Arafat when he went to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. I only wish that I could have met him in person too. Come to think of it, an old Brooklyn Heights friend once asked my father: “Is there anyone who you have never met or worked with, that you wish you could meet”?  Dad’s answer was: “Arafat”.  That would be my answer today too.

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The 4th President of Iran, and cousin of my Dad’s close friend Cyrus Hashemi, Former  President Rafsanjani


Business friends like Roger Tamraz of TamOil, Dad knew for years. I remember Dad telling me he was an Oil Consultant for Tamraz on few deals.  And then the time when Dad met with the Sultan of Brunei while with Khashoggi, Dad’s ‘Business Phonebook’ often grew into a gold mine of Middle Eastern Prestigious contacts.

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Mr. Roger Tamraz with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.

The former King of The Saudi Royal Family, King Fahd, Dad met and knew quite well while working with Khashoggi on many deals over the years. In fact, my mom even has told me about a time when she met Prince Faisal {who also was King of Saudi Arabia at one time as well…} of The Saudi Royal Family, during a gathering with Khashoggi in the 70s or early 80s as well.
During Richard Nixon’s Inauguration, Mom and Dad both attended. Mom remembers a time where Dad danced with Ginger Rogers. And a funny story, occurred when my mom told me a story that while at the inauguration, she was being chased around a table by none other than Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell, who probably had a little too much to drink. { Please take note: Close personal friends of Khashoggi, would often  call him “AK” – I just wanted to make this clear, so as not to possibly confuse you}

In fact, as for me personally; I remember back in 1988, my father and I were invited to Marbella, Spain where AK had one of his luxurious mansions, where he held a Private Birthday Party for one of his sons. AK would have paid for our airfare to come, had we been able to make it. Sadly, due to my own personal health, we were unable to attend. In fact, we learned that the private entertainment for this party was none other than Michael Jackson and Prince.

 

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Movie Actress Ginger Rogers, who danced with my Dad at Nixon’s Inauguration

Ronald Reagan, King Fahd

President Ronald Reagan applauds as King Fahd of Saudi Arabia starts to speak at the State Visit ceremony held on the South Lawn of the White House, Monday, Feb. 11, 1985, in Washington. (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty)


I also remember Dad talking with his writer friend; William Safire, of The New York Times, even when Dad was ill with this Cancer working on something. And one example I distinctly remember is; Dad had some negative news about the Kennedy’s that no one in the media knew about, and how Safire was ‘waiting for the go-ahead’ from my Dad to ‘put out to the public’ without naming Dad as ‘the source’. I remember Dad telling us the story about how Safire often would say to Dad something to the effect of: “Wait for a second Roy, let me fix my phone……ok, now I am ready. I know my side is clear” etc.. meaning that Bill Safire had special mechanisms attached to his phone to make sure that no one in the US Govt was ‘listening in’ on the Confidential info that Dad had for Safire. Safire often would say: “I know my side is ok, Roy”. I can’t for the life of me, remember ‘what the story’ was about in this example. I am not sure my father even told us what it was. But, again, this ‘secretive’ life, was what Dad was about often. And I was one of his children, often would get only bits and pieces of things, from ‘being around’ or ‘on one side’ of a phone call or in ‘small talk’ among ourselves whenever Dad was in the mood to share certain things.


I also remember a time when Dad told us that he had dinner with the former Secretary of Defence, Brent Scowcroft, I think during the Bush Senior Presidency. Somehow being intermingled with him.
One of my favorite examples of the people who Dad was close friends with, was none other than Farrah Fawcett’s father Jim Fawcett. As for how I remember my father telling me this story, is that Dad was helping Farrah’s father Jim with some business venture. In the end, Dad was successful in helping him, and then both Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O’Neil couldn’t ‘thank’ Dad enough for all he did. Then, of course, there were two times where I had that chance to meet Farrah in person. Although, from what I remember, the first chance, I was going to school at Rumsey Hall School in Washington, Connecticut and was preparing to go on my ski trip to Bormio, Italy. And I wasn’t able to meet with Farrah because the day I would have met her, I was leaving for Italy. Then the second opportunity, occurred when I was going back to Rumsey from a weekend stay at home, and then Farrah had to cut her time short while in New York City. So, even though I never did have the chance to meet her in person, I was lucky enough to have these two chances and get personalized autographed pictures from her.

The other fun input I remember Dad telling me was the time he was in his office on Broad Street in Manhattan. He got a phone call. When Dad answered the phone, the other person said: “Hey Roy, how are you doing? It’s Ryan”! Well, Dad told me for the life of him, he couldn’t ‘remember knowing any Ryan’s’??? Well, as the conversation progressed, it turned out it was Ryan O’Neil. And as Dad put it to me, Dad said: “When Farrah was happy, then Ryan was Happy. And Farrah always loved her Dad and wanted her Dad to be successful, and I was able to help save his company and both Farrah and Ryan were elated. A Happy Farrah’s father made a Happy Farrah and Happy Farrah made a Happy Ryan”! I remember Dad literally saying something close to this.

 

I also remember the time when the very old Millionaire James Howard Mitchell married Anna Nicole Smith, and remember Dad’s laughing at this news, since my father knew quite well James Howard Mitchell, again from what I remember from Shaheen.


And of course, Dad was close friends with former TV Anchor Hugh Downs, of the TV Show 20/20 who was married to Shaheen’s sister.

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Dad was good friends with Hugh Downs, who was married to John Shaheen’s sister.

Of course, I remember there was once a time when my Dad came home from a Business Trip and told me that he sat next to Lindsay Wagner, the actress of the TV show; “The Bionic Woman”. Dad told me that she was sitting next to the window, with a hat on, reading a book. Dad had the middle seat and they talked often during their flight. I remember Dad telling me that he told her how much I liked her, and how I would watch her show and that he came home with some message for me from her. Or the time when Dad told me he somehow met Ringo Starr in a bar, in the UK and they sat at a booth and talked about small talk, and Ringo gave my Dad a cigar, as they were smoking their cigars and talking etc…. Or another story I remember, somehow Dad came into contact with actor Larry Storch of the TV Show “F Troop” and they talked a little. Or the time Dad was at a Dinner Gathering with Shaheen and Khashoggi in New York and sat in between Cheryl Tiegs and Christopher Reeve. And for this party, I remember Dad said, that the press was there; and this was before the Iran Contra Affair. And when Dad’s Taxi pulled up and as his door opened, the press was all ready to take his picture…but as he stepped out, they didn’t know who he was. So then they put their cameras down.

Then when we were living full time in our ski house on Stratton Mountain, Vermont Dad during his decline from his melanoma would still try to ‘do’ as much as he could, despite being so thin, bald, and ‘not fully himself brain wise’ due to his 12+ brain tumors.

One night, Dad went to this Restaurant in Manchester, Vermont where he sat down to have a nice meal for himself as he always did his best trying to ‘put on pounds’ while fighting this fatal disease. Then after he finished his meal, he then ordered a takeout dinner for me.  As he waited for the takeout dinner, low and behold, Mega Movie Star and longtime visitor to Manchester, Vermont, Dom DeLuise were sitting in his booth finishing up his dinner and he noticed Dad sitting at the counter and made small talk.  Within in minutes, Dom asked Dad to join him at his table and they sat and talked about a wide variety of things.  One story I remember Dad sharing with Dom was this story where Dad was in Indonesia having a meeting with this extremely obese Asian man. And as he told this hilarious story, the part whereas Dad was discussing his business with this man, all of a sudden like in ‘slow-motion’,  this huge, obese man, and my Dad both heard a ‘crack’ and then as if slowly sinking down to the floor, where this poor but huge businessman landed on his derriere in embarrassment! When all was said and done, the man was ok – but due to the fact that almost everybody in this part of the world is no bigger than five foot two inches or so, they needed about 6 to 8 waiters to come and help this incredibly obese man off the floor.  Needless to say, this ‘story’ wasn’t soon forgotten. No sir.

Well about 6 months later when Dad was back in Indonesia for this business deal, they went to the same place for their meeting. When the host noticed Dad and his partner waiting for a table, their ‘memory’ was on cue. The host took dad and his friend to a table, and before the obese man sat down, the one waiter took away the smaller chair, while another 2 waiters came carrying this long piano bench like seat made of steel or something like this, and then told him to use that.  He did, and all went well!  🙂

Dad told us, that when he finished telling this story to Dom,  he laughed out loud hysterically!  Something I’m sure he may have done in many of his movies since he was a comedian and loved making people laugh and feel good.

 

 

Then during the summer of 1988, as I was about to plan my trip back home to Brooklyn Heights, New York after living in Hawaii for about a year with my father’s younger brother, Richard; we had had plans to meet up in LA to go to the NBA Finals.  But then to my surprise, Dad called me and was quite vague about how he could not make this happen.  And that it was still going to happen for me, but he was not going to be beside me.  I went with another close friend at the time, New York Post Sportswriter, Peter Vecsey.

Sure, I was upset that Dad could not make it, but my going along with Peter, was perhaps better, since he had a press pass and I was able to get some cool things with his help.  One of which was an autographed T-Shirt from NBA Great, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson.

Well, it wasn’t until I finally arrived back home where I learned the truth about why Dad couldn’t take me. Something terrible, and crooked happened to him.

He was arrested by Federal Agents of the U.S Federal Government.

One night, as Mom was home in Brooklyn, waiting for Dad to arrive, she was expecting him home at his usual time of around 6pm.  Well, it was hours ago that 6 passed and by then it was a little after 10:00 pm that finally the apartment door opened and Dad walked in.  Mom was elated and happy, and so was the ‘woman’ who we paid to care for mom.  However, something wasn’t right with Dad, Mom noticed this first off.

Dad was white as a ghost.  Looked like he had other things on his mind. Always had a serious face as his expression. Mom’s smile quickly turned to a serious look of her own. Now, I wasn’t home when this happened – but Mom told me the whole story and Dad filled me in with other info as well.

Eventually, Dad paid the woman, who was caring for mom, and she soon left for the night.

Now, Dad and Mom were alone.

He tells mom about the horrors of what just happened to him – it went like this:

“AS you know, this man called me wanting me to come down to a certain addresse to pick up some documents and then take them to my friend.  AS you know, I wanted our older son to go down and pick them up, since I really had no interest in this deal that he was talking about. But he as if panicked on the phone when I said I would send down my older son.  He said; No, we want you to come down to pick them up!

So, its about 2 in the afternoon and I am on the sidewalk walking towards this building and addresse where this man was standing.  I knew it was him, and I walked up to him.  He had these folders and papers in his hand and then handed them to me.  As I began to look them over, I noticed 2 other men came out of a white van that was parked on the curb, and they came beside me, and took both my arms and began placing handcuffs on my wrists.  They told me I was under arrest for committing wire fraud, & stolen documents with regards to the Ashland Oil Case and an Iranian Oil Company and my friend Orin Atkins.

They drove me to some unknown office building where they held me for over 7 or 8 hours, questioning me.  They didn’t allow me to leave, they didn’t allow me to call you, and this is why I got home late”.

Ladies and Gentlemen, what happened to my Dad are called a “Sting Operation”. Anytime you hear the ‘word; sting’ first, it automatically means that the government is breaking the laws first and then entrapping a victim within their evil scheme/web!

Well, needless to say, this was traumatic for all of us, and especially my Dad. Was my father guilty pertaining to this? Absolutely not.  For, after all, he wanted to send his older son to pick up the papers for he had no interest in this at all. But apparently, the ‘undercover agents’ panicked and thus, why they said at one point; “No, No, don’t send him! We want YOU”! THAT should’ve been the ‘lightbulb’ for us all, especially my Dad most of all!

Well, eventually my father got his lawyer, and he cooperated with the government. Dad himself even went ‘undercover’ himself to ‘entrap’ his friend, Orin Atkins. He didn’t want to, but, he had no options.  Mom was and still is handicap and Dad certainly didn’t want to go to jail.

In fact, at one point, when Dad was cooperating with the Feds, the agents didn’t believe my mom was a quadriplegic. In fact, the agent who arrested Dad was very rude and sarcastic, and would say;  “So I wanna meet this handicap wife of yours” etc….  Dad said; “sure, we will set up a time, you can come to my apartment and meet her”.

They eventually set a date and time.  The agent arrived and as he walked into the den, mom was on the couch.  He walked in, with his ‘chest full and out’  acting like a big shmuck, and then …BOOM!  The agent now noticed that mom REALLY is a handicap!  From that moment on, this agent couldn’t even look mom in the eye as she was staring at him on purpose to make him as uncomfortable as possible. He wanted to leave that apartment and eventually did!

Eventually, regarding this case…sadly, my Dad pleaded guilty, despite ‘not’ being guilty.  As Dad explained it to all of us, he said:  “I do not want to plead not guilty, and then go to trial, knowing I am up against the Federal government who don’t play by the rules and cheat and I don’t want to take any chances to go to jail, and this is why I cooperated with the agents.

Sadly, Dad got 2 years probation, no jail time. And had to pay a hefty fine.

The only way he could clear his ‘record’ of this, is if any American President were to pardon him.

The most disturbing news about this Ashland Oil Case is that we learned from all this, that former State of New York Southern District Attorney General Rudy Giuliani, was the one who ordered my Dad’s arrest and attempts to destroy him and our life!

 

Rudy_Giuliani

Former Presidential Candidate and former State of New York Attorney General Rudy Giuliani

 

After discussions from Dad’s lawyer and our own talks as a family, we all tend to believe that this was the United States Federal Government way of getting ‘even’ with my father, for being the whistleblower of the Reagan Administrations Iran Contra Affaire.

In fact, Rudy Giuliani was also the one who ordered the arrest of both former First Lady of Philippines Imelda Marcos and family friend Adnan Khashoggi for obstruction of justice and mail fraud and dropped the more serious charges of racketeering and conspiracy. In 1990, a United States federal jury in Manhatten acquitted Khashoggi and Imelda Marcos, widow of the exiled Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos of racketeering and fraud.

ak marcos

Family Friend Adnan Khashoggi and former first lady Imelda Marcos celebrate at a party.

So as you have noticed, Khashoggi has played a huge roll in all of our lives in so many ways for a number of years before he died on June 6, 2017 – only 6 days after my birthday… In fact,  perhaps he may have been the reason, to a degree, that by Dad being such close confidants with AK for close to thirty years if not longer, that maybe this is why the U.S Feds went after Dad.  But in the end, we came out ok…Dad did his two years of probation with no problems and still continued to have his career as well as travel the globe as he had done his entire life.

The other interesting note I will be happy to share about is how Khashoggi helped my high-school graduation actually occur:

During my graduation in 1987 at the prep-school Northfield Mount Hermon, in Mount Hermon, Massachusetts, Dad pulled me aside and said to me:  “I want you to know, that you almost did not graduate. I had no money, and things were tight.  I asked AK for help, and he paid for your final year at NMH”!  Thank you so much, Mr. Khashoggi, for being so helpful to my mom and dad and myself and for making that happen, despite how as of today 2017, almost 2018, Northfield Mount Hermon School has been abusing me and my handicap mother, who is also a graduate of NMH (1954) for the past two years! Thanks to a scam/scheme of theirs from a former employee and some other crook/liar/ manipulative person/, working on her behalf, they/Northfield Mount Hermon School of Massachusetts have been treating me as a ‘persona-non-grata’, all due to their support of someone close who has been trying to harm myself and my mother ever since my father died. Yes, since the passing of my father, ‘life’ has been a struggle. And that’s putting it politely.

The other funny part about this same area of the topic is, when my sibling was at Dartmouth College, his tuition had to be paid too.  Well, the story was told to me, that my Dad got whatever the amount needed to pay for the term at Dartmouth, from Khashoggi too and then gave it to my sibling to bring to the financial office of Dartmouth College.

He then went to the financial office along with a plastic-like garbage bag filled with whatever amount it was {cash}, maybe 12 or 13 thousand in cash or whatever amount….and then walked into the office of this woman, opened up the bag, and emptied it onto her desk, as the hundreds of  “hundred dollar bills” were falling and or floating on to the desk of this woman at the Dartmouth College Financial office!

Yes, Mr. Khashoggi was an amazing person with the most incredible lifestyle. Yet, he had a heart of gold and a work style of ‘determination and solidarity’ with those who he did business with. Ak was often there for us, as Dad was often there for him as well!  He had private jets and an outrageous yacht he used to own, but he then sold his yacht to Donald Trump, who years down the road sold the yacht to Madonna and then she sold it to another  Saudi Billionaire as well, who still is the owner of it today as of  2017, I think.

(feel free to click on the pictures – for info…)

 

 

 

 

{take  note to this voice recording from Mr. Khashoggi, to my father…sadly, this message was left sometime in late December 2000 or perhaps early January 2001, when Dad died.  I don’t think Dad ever heard this message.}
As all of this ‘life’ occurred for my father, as the years passed by; there was one ‘unusual thing’ that was also a ‘part of him’, that was equally important to him and his ‘life and history’. That was his Melanoma spot on his right chest. This literal ‘Black Beast’. 😦

My Mother Gwen, for decades always worried about this ‘spot’ and begged and begged for Dad to ‘go to the doctor and get it checked’.  Sadly, it all fell on ‘deaf ears’.  Dad’s typical response was:  “I have no time”!  “I have to be in London, on this day”  or “I have to be in Tokyo on this day”  or “I have to be in Zurich, Paris, Riyadh, Brussels,” etc… wherever his connections took him for his work, he never had ‘time’.  Sadly, that was his biggest fatal mistake of all! 😦 
It was a medium size ‘spot’ that over the years grew and grew until that one day during a meeting with his Egyptian Business friend Yehia El-Komy of Cairo, Egypt on the Island of Malta. {El-Komy too, had close connections with the Egyptian Govt during the 80s and 90s.} While Khashoggi was close friends with both Former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, it was Dad’s personal friend Mr.Yehia El-Komy , who as an Egyptian had ties to the former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and actually lived within a gated community for Mubarak administrative employees, of which El-Komy was at that time. And many times when Dad flew to Cairo, he stayed with El-Komy, and his wife and children and they had their own swimming pool, in this lavish gated community for Mubarak Administrative employees.}

elkomi

Yehia El-Komy

 

adnansadat

Family Friend Adnan Khashoggi (“AK”) meeting with former President Anwar Sadat of Egypt. The picture was taken by Caroline Kennedy)

 

 

So Dad was with El-Komy and had his shirt off, as they both sat at the table under the umbrella and in front of the hotel pool in Malta as they had their meeting. And this ‘spot’, which grew so large over the years/decades finally; burst and bled as blood ran down his chest. Dad said to himself then: “Man, I got to get this checked when I get home”. By the time he got home, he eventually went to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. He arrived there late, and a doctor looked at it, but stayed overtime to take it off and have it sent out to be examined. This was in August 1994, where it came back as Malignant Melanoma.
By July 1999, he found a lump underneath his skin on his arm. They took that lump out and that came back as Melanoma. They then did a body scan of his entire body and they found he had a tumor in his Lung. From that moment on, his Cancer, this capricious disease Melanoma, was on a fast track to kill him.
Yet, even with illness, Dad somehow found his way to ‘connect’ with someone “important”. It was his Asian Doctor, Dr. Wen Jen Fu at one of New York City’s most prestigious Cancer Hospitals; Memorial Sloan Kettering. Dr. Wen Jen Fu, who was also the doctor for Cardinal O’Connor of the Catholic Church in New York City, who was battling Brain Cancer himself. I remember a time, Dad said to me: “Pretty interesting, huh Erik??? Your old man, even with illness, gets connected with important people”. Sadly, this was true I guess.

zz cardnal oconnor zz

Cardinal O’Connor of NY

In fact, for the 3 plus hours I have spent writing this, I now have some strong, sad, upsetting feelings about this fact of my personal life and Dad’s. I guess this has been all too real, of a ‘memory’ or ‘detailed flashback’ for me, thinking about everything pertaining to my Dad.
In conclusion, …even with this devastating, capricious disease of Malignant Melanoma, as it spread, Dad’s “past” of Political Headlines, was seemingly resurfacing. How? Let me explain: I remember as Dad’s Melanoma was spreading rapidly, there was a time when he went for a checkup. He came back home and said: “there is good news and there is bad news”. “The good news is, the tumor in the Lung has disappeared. The bad news is, I have a brain tumor”. Then on December 15, 1999, Dad had Brain surgery to remove that tumor.
Interestingly enough, …during that time Dad was in the hospital recovering from Brain Surgery; I was home at Stratton, Vermont where there was a message blinking on the answering machine. I pressed ‘play’ and the voice message plays. It’s Len Tepper of NBC News, the same guy who interviewed Dad for the first time on NBC News Clip about the Iran Contra Affair. Since it was December, I remember the message from Tepper saying something to the effect of: “Hello Roy,…it has been a while since we last spoke. I want to first wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family. I am calling because we are trying to find Usama Bin Laden. We want to meet with him and interview him. And I remembered how close you are with Khashoggi, and I was hoping that with your help, you could contact Adnan, and perhaps he could find Usama for us and set up a meeting with him, maybe you could be there too. Anyway, please call me at your earliest conveyance. Thanks for your time, and again Wishing you Happy Holidays to you and your family”. I remember I felt both impressed that again, in one hand, my Dad was ‘important’ to the News Media, yet, knowing what was in store for the ‘future’,{regarding the fact that my father’s life was in the dying process, that is} was only to bring me back to my sad reality.

ZZ USA ZZ

Yeah, its weird now knowing what had happened, as I write this ‘essay’ today. But, back then, in 1999, no one had a clue of ‘what was to come’. Yes, news reporters actually wanted to meet with him, interview him. Incredible, how things turned out, and the historical reference this now holds for the World. My father never knew him, personally. He only ‘knew of the name’ as did we all back in those days. But as one looks further into ‘Middle East’ history, AK actually did business with Usama Bin Laden’s family – So, in the sense of “Khashoggi/Bin Laden” Family connections, or Business? Yes, there is history pertaining to this fact.

I then drove to DHMC {Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hamphire} to see Dad and visit him and give him this message. I remember I walked into this ‘small visiting room’ as Dad was in one of those ‘moving big recliners’ with his head all wrapped up in bandages after his brain surgery. His sister Janet Erickson, my ‘Tante Janet’ and her kids/my cousins were all there, and my mom and others were there, as I gave Dad this ‘phone message’. I remember I shared with him this message and sadly, but of course to no surprise; Dad didn’t care. After I gave him the message, he ‘waved his hand’ in the (forget about it motion etc….) and said something like: “I want no part of that……I have other things to worry about” etc…. As I feel a ‘sunken feeling’ within myself, as I remember this time with such great detail. It was at that moment, I realized my Dad was no longer the same “important person” by society standards nor politically as well. How could he ‘not’ be? Well, because, he was in the process of dying. 😦
About 6 weeks had passed since his brain surgery and the doctors wanted to do an MRI to check the brain to see how it was healing. Well to all of our surprise,…the doctor found only more grim news. We learned that Dad now had 12 “new” Brain Tumors.
That point forward, his doctors decided to treat the entire body. {Chemo for his neck down and Radiation for his brain.}
Then from all of the year 2000, everything declined. Yet, he still was able to travel a little, but only early on. Still, trying to make a living, and ‘provide’ for his family – He may have ‘looked thinner’, but he only traveled to Vancouver, BC for one Business trip, while he had his hair and such, but that was pretty much it. By the time his hair was all gone from the radiation, his body and his overall strength were becoming less and less … I eventually became the ‘main caretaker’ for both my handicap mom from her own illness of Viral Encephalitis from a mosquito from back on May 26, 1981, and for Dad too. Sadly, by then, Dad’s brain tumors did play on his ‘ability to think and do things’ – in some examples, he was still driving, but he probably shouldn’t have been. He often was ‘not all there upstairs’ due to his brain tumors. For example; if he was driving and if he missed a turn, despite mom in passenger seat and me in the back, we would tell him to ‘turn around’ – he would yell at us and say; “I know” – but only to keep driving on for another 20 mins etc…. It was upsetting.
January 3, 2001, came and it was about 4 in the afternoon, by that time he was in the dying process. I remember getting a phone call from my sibling saying Dad was unconscious and in the process of dying. By that time, both Mom and Dad were roommates in a nursing home together. I walked into the room, saw my mom, sitting in her wheelchair, with her mouth wide open crying, and then she turned her head to Dad as if to say: “He’s dying” – I walked up to mom, kissing her, trying ‘not’ to cry myself. I just stayed in the room for the next many hours. 😦
I remember touching him, his arm, and how it was cold and clammy. His eyes were going up into his head, later being told he was having brain seizures. He had a distinct sound of his breathing as it was more and more labored, also known as the ‘death rattle’ as he was in the dying process. 😦
Eventually, we all stayed there till the late night of the 3rd of Jan 2001. I went home to Stratton, Vermont. Eventually, by sometime around 2:12 am, January 4, 2001, Dad stopped breathing and was dead. My Mom was there to watch him take his last breath. 😦    By the time he died, his Melanoma was within his: Brain, Bones, Kidney, Liver, Lungs, sacrum. It ravaged every part of him. He luckily didn’t feel anything – he did have some pain, but only when he ‘walked’  and this was by around the last 2 weeks before he died.
Losing my Dad has been the worst thing for me, personally. Ever since my older brother has been disgusting to my Mom and myself these past 17 years! Just disgusting! He is one disgusting existence of a human!  (**if you want to know what he did, I will tell you privately!)
Thinking about my Dad and what he said that one early morning in his room at Stratton, Vermont. “What a Life, I had. The people I met. The people I knew and worked with. The places I went to. Wow. It really was an amazing life I had”!

ZZ DAD ZZ ZZ ZZ

My Dad, in Washington, DC – 1986

My Dad:

September 28, 1931 – January 4, 2001

I wrote this about my Dad as both a ‘tribute’ for him on the 15th Anniversary of his passing, but also to share with my friends, a little more personal history about my father, the person, and to some degree, the International Political Figure he eventually became in his lifetime. I Miss You, Dad….terribly.

😦

 

 

 

*** Be sure to check out the videos off to the left side of my blog, pertaining to both my Dad’s International Political Life, from CNN, NBC Nightly News, ABC 7 NYC, etc… as well as other interesting videos pertaining to close friends of ours who were Internationally known in their own right as well.

 

** Thank You for taking the time to learn about my Dad.

 

 

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Here is a picture of my Dad from 1971 when he was the Vice President of Ring-Free Oil, while he was teamed up with his boss and close friend John M Shaheen.

 

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