- Edward von Kloberg III
Born Edward Joseph Kloberg III (he added a "van" to his name in the 1960s and changed it to "von" on the advice of
Arnaud de Borchgrave, who told him it was more "distinguished") in New York City, he was the son of an engineer who built housing projects. He graduated from Rider Collegein 1965 and went on to receive a Master's Degreein history at American University. He was then hired by American University as a fundraiser, and was eventually appointed Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid.
In 1982, von Kloberg began a
public relationsand lobbying firm, which was eventually named the Washington World Group. Von Kloberg eventually went on to represent Saddam Hussein, Samuel K. Doeof Liberia, Nicolae Ceauşescuof Romaniaand Mobuto Sese Sekoof the then- Zaire. Upon the overthrow of Sese Seko, von Kloberg then represented the government of Laurent Kabila, whose forces had pushed Sese Seko from power.
In 1996, von Kloberg represented the apparel manufacturers of
Honduras, who were being accused of sexual abuseand child labor. He later admitted that his clients had been guilty of the accusations, but that his representation of them had led to reforms.
Von Kloberg was known for his flamboyant personal style. He affected the title "Baron", and was frequently seen wearing a black opera cape, either lined with red silk or with silk in a dove pattern, and a sash decorated with medals given to him by clients. He traveled with
steamer trunks, and drove a black limousinealso decorated with medals and badges.
The authors of the book "
Washington Babylon" wrote of von Kloberg, "Even within the amoral world of Washington lobbying, [he]stands out for handling clients that no one else will touch." "Washingtonian" magazine once labeled him one of the city's "hired guns". Von Kloberg himself reveled in the motto, "Shame is for sissies."
"Spy" magazine once ran a
sting operationagainst von Kloberg, in which a staff employee posed as a neo-Naziwho advocated the annexationof Polandby Germany. When von Kloberg offered to represent her, the magazine reported on the sting operation under the headline, "Washington's Most Shameless Lobbyist". Following publication of the story, von Kloberg showed up at the magazine's Washington office wearing a helmet, announcing that he was ready to "take the flak".
In 2001, exiled King
Kigeli V of Rwandainvested von Kloberg as a ChevalierGrand Croix of the Royal Order of the Intare. The King called von Kloberg "a great friend of Africa and a true aristocrat."
Von Kloberg committed
suicideby jumping from the walls of a castlein Rome. Broke, in ill-health and despondent, he had followed his much younger former boyfriend there. Said boyfriend was a Lithuanian "masseur" and similarly self-styled "Baron" named Darius Monkevicius. This young "Baron" had been working as a novice cocktail waiter in The Townhouse, a well-known gay bar in Manhattan frequented by older gentlemen, and took up with von Kloberg after he had grossly overtipped him. Subsequently, Monkevicius received a sudden promotion, serving as "executive vice president and partner for United Nations outreach" at the Washington World Group. Unfortunately, it seems the former cocktail waiter ran out when the money did. It was literally an "operatic" end, as von Kloberg chose the Castel Sant'Angelo--well-known as Tosca's launching pad. He was survived by one sister and, ostensibly, by the "Baron" Monkevicius.
* [http://www.washdiplomat.com/01-07/a7_07_01.html King Kigeli V Honors Von Kloberg, DuVal]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.