The Real Deihl

How a Paradise Valley snake-oil salesman sprayed his way to success

High-dollar decorations were strewn across the property. A lavish buffet greeted guests on the tennis court. When guests reached for a slice of watermelon, the watermelon came alive.

"It was actually a guy's head painted up to look like a melon," Dembow says. "The guy was under the table and he'd look at you all of a sudden, and it scared the heck out of you. Very cool."

For the Phoenix Theatre pajama party, plush beds were set up on the tennis court. Guests wore their pajamas as Phoenix Theatre singers performed Broadway hits for $50 donations. Chef Scott Tompkins of Mastro Restaurants catered the event. Joe Deihl, named this year by Trends magazine, the local high society/fashion rag, as one of its "Best Dressed Men," wore a smoking jacket custom-made by designer Michael Casey.

Sari and Joe Deihl, the "darlings of Valley high society."
Sari and Joe Deihl, the "darlings of Valley high society."
The Sari Collection of skin-care products, named after Sari Deihl.
The Sari Collection of skin-care products, named after Sari Deihl.

Joe was a year behind Sari, who was named one of Trends' top 10 "Fashionalities" in 2003, earning her the honor of "walking down the runway in designer gowns to the cheering and applause of everyone," as one society magazine writer described it, at the 20th annual Trends Beat the Heat ball.

The women were "honored for their charitable contributions to the community and praised for their individual style," the article continued. "The venue was hot, the auction was hot, the fashion show was hot . . . but most of all, the 10 new Trends Fashionalities were hot in every way."

The accompanying photo of the "Fashionalities" would suggest otherwise, but so be it. The event raised $100,000 for charities such as Widowed With Children.

Because, as her Sari Collection Web site states, Sari has a "deep concern for children." Except when it comes to her own in court.

Currently in the court system is a lawsuit in which Joe and Sari are suing their son William, a longtime employee of their companies, and his former wife, Denyse Pappas Deihl.

According to former Karemor and Mayor employees, Bill and his brother, Joe II, had long been frustrated employees of their father. They apparently wanted out of the company, but they were financially beholden to their father.

"Joe Sr. was constantly screaming at the two of them in board meetings," a former employee says. "They were good guys. But they'd do anything Dad said because they were scared of him."

When the sons were good, Joe Sr. helped them out. Joe Deihl helped Joe II fight his misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution charge for five years, taking procedural issues in the case all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court. Joe Sr. also gave Sheriff Joe Arpaio $10,000 in campaign contributions in 2000. When Joe II finally served his time for the conviction, he served it at a secluded Mesa branch of the county jail system dubbed by detention officers as the "Mesa Hilton," which is usually reserved by Sheriff Arpaio for sports stars or other celebrities.

Instead of saving his butt, Joe Sr. just gave Bill Deihl money for a big house.

Bill could not be reached for comment.

The relationship between father and son apparently soured, so much so that when Bill and his wife sold the house in 2002 as part of their divorce, Joe and Sari sued him to get the money. That case is currently snaking its way through Maricopa County Superior Court.

The senior Deihls produced documents in court showing that the money for the house was a loan.

They even argued that Bill and his wife committed fraud by creating documents to make their mortgage company believe the money came from a company profit-sharing plan.

"In fact," the elder Deihls' attorney wrote in court papers, "neither Mayor Pharmaceutical nor William Deihl had a profit sharing plan. Both he and Ms. Deihl have admitted in their divorce action that the profit-sharing plan was a fiction created to obtain a bank mortgage without disclosing they were borrowing the down payment from plaintiffs."

Interestingly, the elder Deihls are demanding $333,000 from William, the exact amount they ended up having to pay Paul Dembow.

"I guess people like this always end up eating their young," quips Files, the private investigator.

In the meantime, Joe Deihl has come up with a new marketing scheme on his Vitamist Web site. He's now targeting people who have had bariatric or gastric-bypass surgery, the stomach-reduction surgery to combat morbid obesity.

Apparently, spray vitamins are now a critical part of a serious weight-loss program.

"This is a lifelong commitment," the Vitamist Web site says. "By taking vitamin supplements daily, bariatric patients can help avoid health complications due to malnutrition. Vitamist Spray Vitamins makes this commitment easy. One phone call will set up convenient home delivery -- each month, every month."

Which means Joe Deihl would be conveniently billing you for the rest of your life.

E-mail robert.nelson@newtimes.com, or call 602-744-6549.

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