Gay club owner, pal slain
Jim Herron Zamora and Ray Delgado, OF THE EXAMINER STAFF
Published 4:00 am, Monday, October 26, 1998
1998-10-26 04:00:00 PDT MONTE RIO — Investigators are searching for clues in the execution-style murder of two Monte Rio men, one of them the longtime owner of several gay bars in San Francisco and Guerneville.
Authorities would not release the second dead man’s name. But friends and co-workers said he was Jason Bojore, 25, a friend of Grahlmann’s who worked at his Rainbow Cattle Club, [sic… Rainbow Catttle Company ] – one of Guerneville’s best-known bars catering to gays and lesbians.
Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies searched several of Grahlmann’s numerous properties on Sunday but were tight-lipped about their investigation. They would not discuss possible motives for the killings.
Grahlmann was found shot to death on the back deck of his home on Duncan Road. He was sitting in a chair and had been shot at close range in the back of the head, according to a law enforcement source who asked not to be named. Bojore was found dead inside the home. Investigators believe he was not necessarily the intended target.
Lt. Chuck Laver confirmed only that the case was being investigated as a double homicide. Laver said a neighbor called deputies about 8 a.m. Saturday to report the killings.
The neighbor couldn’t reach Grahlmann by phone, so he went to the house and found the bodies, the sheriff’s department said. Investigators would not say Sunday if the home had been robbed and would not give any other possible motive.
Several friends of Grahlmann in Guerneville said deputies wanted to question a young man who frequented the local bars. Deputies declined to discuss that aspect of the investigation, saying only that they were pursuing all possible leads.
Little information was made public about Bojore. He reportedly had been working for the Rainbow Cattle Club for year or so.
From hippie to gay entrepreneur<
Grahlmann’s friends and associates – who called him Hans – said they were stunned at his death.
“I’m very shocked, and I’m very upset,” said Paul Melbostad, Grahlmann’s attorney in San Francisco. “It’s just terrible.”
Grahlmann was not prominent in San Francisco’s gay community; friends said he shunned publicity. But he was an owner and manager of gay clubs as far back as the early 1970s and had helped raise money in the early days of gay political activism. Grahlmann reportedly came to San Francisco from Germany as a hippie in the 1960s and stayed.
“He invested in the gay community,” said Jeff Bridges, a friend and the general manager of the Russian River Resort. “He was hiring openly gay people long before that was in vogue. He was a hard-core businessman who invested in our community and did well.”
Bojore and Grahlmann were friends, but the extent of the relationship was unclear, Bridges said.
Wayne Friday, a columnist for the Bay Area Reporter, a weekly gay newspaper, first met Grahlmann about 25 years ago.
“I used to work part-time for him at the old Cloud-7 on Polk and Union streets,” Friday said. “He must have owned or invested in 20 different clubs here in The City. . . . He was very good in his investments.”
Grahlmann donated to gay and lesbian causes over the years but was never really an activist, Friday said.
“I found him to be a generous person,” Friday said. “He would complain about it, but he would always write you a check.”
Friends said Grahlmann would open new bars, mainly – but not exclusively – gay clubs, build up business and sell them for a profit. He then would move on to other businesses. Friday and Bridges said Grahlmann strategically invested in gay clubs in the 1970s and ’80s.
An unpretentious eccentric<
Grahlmann was described by friends as eccentric and, in Bridges’ words, a man who enjoyed “pushing people’s buttons.
“He wasn’t pretentious at all,” Bridges said. “He had enough money to drive around in a brand new Jaguar every year. Instead, he drove around in an old Volkswagen. He looked like a homeless person, not a millionaire. He failed the school of social graces.
“He was a character. If he liked you, he let you know, and if he didn’t, he really let you know.”
Grahlmann owned at least nine properties in the Bay Area at the time of his death. These included homes in Monte Rio and on Potrero Hill, and commercial properties including a Pleasanton gas station and an Oil Changers franchise in Santa Clara.
The better-known bars he owned are the Rainbow Cattle Club in Guerneville and Uncle Bert’s Place in the Castro District. Clubs he formerly owned include Guerneville’s Ziggurat, River Theater and the Jungle; Noe Valley’s Rat & Raven; the former Rainbow Lounge in the Castro; and the Early Bird on Polk Street.
Friends said that in recent years Grahlmann divided his time evenly among Guerneville, San Francisco and Hawaii, where they said he owned property.
He also would usually spend about a month a year in his native Germany, visiting his elderly mother, Bridges said. In recent years, Grahlmann was semi-retired, telling friends he preferred the role of passive investor rather than entrepreneur
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Gay-club-owner-pal-slain-3062574.php#ixzz2KT8GNIw5