"Sir Henry"

The painful confession

Hamburg's brazen con man trying to save his skin

Hamburg, Germany
March 8, 2002
Hamburger Morgenpost

by Thomas Hirschbiegel and Matthias Onken

Once a liar, always a liar. Hijinks Henry C. Randmark remains loyal to himself. In a three-page explanation, "Sir Henry" admitted to deceit with the medals and the military career, but said he did it only to make Hamburg society the brunt of a joke. The truth seems different.

Randmark's lies began with the date and place of his birth. Instead of January 12, 1937 in Los Angeles, as he had listed in the respected reference work, "Who is Who," he was born in Tallin, Estonia in 1925.

His explanation then said that an "incidental fringe statement" of his had taken on a life of its own in Hamburg society to become an alleged military career. He was allegedly obliged to keep on inventing new details. The truth was that in 1987, Randmark, as a promoter for a dubious kickboxer that he wanted to get on the "Wetten, dass...?" program, portrayed himself as a "US combat helicopter pilot."

As an alleged general representative for "Stohnsdorfer" and "Doornkaat," he said he had got Hamburg tourists on Mallorca caught up in his tales. As a fishmonger he had depicted himself as a former staff officer. The stories, which he did not mention casually, but rather told with gusto, were about his appalling war experiences in Vietnam. On more than one occasion Randmark bragged about how, as a US Army "drug investigator" in Saigon he had shot down ten suspected dealers. "I blew the pigs away one after the other," was his comment, according to a witness.

In his "confession," Randmark wrote, "By and by I began to get interested in the attention that society was paying to stories of that sort." The truth: he made every one of his stories up, and, according to his former business partner Hans-Werner M. (46), bought no later than 1990 a US Army colonel's uniform and bedecked it liberally with decorations of valor.

He says he never wore the uniform. MOPO has contradictory information at hand. Since the mid-1990s, Randmark has been aggressively and vigorously imposing himself upon the public, first with his "Graffiti-Killer" and monument maintenance company, and, from 2000, as president of the American-German Business Club. He sought out celebrities like Prince Ferdinand von Bismarck, Willi Bartels, Henning Voscherau and General Consul Susan Elbow.

He said he had never "gained undue advantage nor wanted to hurt people" with his contrived statements. Yet another lie: he did this to obtain contracts for his alleged world business, and pressured members of the Business Club he did not like into leaving.

In 1996, Randmark managed to make it to the columns of a major German newspaper for the first time. Almost every year since then he has received a mention of praise. Randmark took those articles to the bank. Before the 2001 Hamburg "Buergerschaft" election, one author in this large newspaper went so far as to list Randmark under "The intelligent men behind our top politicians." One of the politicians was Ronald B. Schill, who now says he knew Randmark only fleetingly. No, "Colonel" Randmark had never been his advisor on the fight against drug crime. Nevertheless, "Sir Henry" previously asserted just the opposite repeatedly without any objections.

Finally came the "home town story" in a Hamburg newspaper. "At heart he is still an American," it said about the "war hero." Randmark posed with a sincere look on his face for the camera. Today Randmark says the reporter made him do it. That went for his uniform, too, the one in the picture that led to his downfall. After that article was published, Randmark then supposedly knew that the jig was up, on account of the false medals. He said "the press reaction to such blatantly false information" had interested him.

The truth: When MOPO asked Randmark about his military service, he desperately defended himself. Heavily seasoning his speech with a fake American accent, he haggled over every single medal. "Of course I know what I'm talking about." He stubbornly insisted he had been a "colonel" in the Vietnam war, and threatened to call in "very good" attorneys. As to the photographs from the home town story, he vehemently tried to stop distribution of the them, also threatening "legal steps" in that case.

It was not until Randmark had been driven up against the wall, after the Pentagon in Washington had explained to MOPO that, regardless of which rank, there had never been a soldier with the name of Henry Randmark, that the con man finally gave up after three days and wrote a confession. Like he said, it was all meant as a joke. Hamburg society and his business partners will not think it is very funny.

The Case of Henry C. Randmark

and how how his story came to light

March 8, 2002
Hamburger Morgenpost

The incomprehensible case of Henry C. Randmark - MOPO documents how it came out:

For years there have been doubts in the world of celebrities about the credibility of the "Vietnam veteran." The scandal sheets heard about them, but there was nothing definite.

On February 14, 2002, Randmark, as president of the American-German Business Club invited over 100 Hamburgers to the US General Consulate for a presentation on Scientology's "Narconon" drug withdrawal program. Participants, including police president Udo Nagel, were appalled. For the first time "Sir Henry" experienced public criticism.

On February 16, a former acquaintance of Randmark's contacted MOPO. He provided information about Randmark's business practices, about his contacts with celebrities and how he landed contacts with politicians as a "graffiti killer," and pointed out inconsistencies in his biography.

On March 1, a Hamburg newspaper published a favorable hometown story about the "former US colonel," and "successful businessman," printing a photograph of his decoration bedecked uniform. The MOPO discovered the medal swindle and asked Randmark about it, who said, "The medals probably got mixed up at the cleaners."

After Randmark was outed in MOPO, nearly all Hamburg media reported the story on the con man. New items of embarrassment came to light daily - even the fact that he was being investigated by the police.

On March 8, Randmark opened up "his heart." And stayed true to himself: once again it was only half the truth.


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