Soho Dandy Josef Von Habsburg-Lothringen Carried a Cordless Hair Dryer ‘Like a Gun’


Most people migrate to New York so that they can live a different kind of life than they could back home. Until he was busted a couple of months ago for failing to make child-support payments back in Michigan, Josef Meyer was living a really different kind of life. The 50-year-old Detroit native had assumed the identity of Prince Josef von Habsburg-Lothringen of Austria, married chandelier designer Michel Trico, and become a kind of neighborhood eccentric in Soho, where he was often spotted walking the couple's "rare dog" in lederhosen or flamboyantly retrosexual pinstriped suits and bow ties. "Sometimes he would even wear a cordless hair dryer on his belt like it was a gun," a source told the Post. "It was so bizarre."

"He was dressed up all of the time, even the hottest days. His shirts were all very special. Everything he had was custom-made," said David Sun, who owns Soho Dry Cleaning, where the family took their washing. "But I never saw this guy work," Sun said.

Now, to be fair, who does the dry cleaner ever see work? Actually, Josef did work; according to a Post source, the dandy was a "high-level FBI informant" who had been recruited after committing a violent crime.

Meyer — a former mental patient who was once committed to a psych ward in Pontiac, Mich. — had attacked his mother at age 21 and was arrested in a 1987 drug raid, where police confiscated 2 kilos of cocaine and an automatic weapon, according to the Detroit News. He was never charged, but it is believed that that arrest sparked his foray into top-secret work with the federal authorities.

Obviously, the question here is not why the FBI would recruit Les Homme Nikita and then let him get taken in on a child-support payment, but was that hair dryer actually a gun? And is everyone in New York a secret informant for someone, even the crazies? We're going to be looking at Sad Panda in a whole different way from now on.

Phony prince outed after child-support bust [NYP]
Faux prince arrested in New York on Michigan deadbeat charges [Detroit News]