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NYC florist was pen pals with Gadhafi

Oct. 31, 2011 at 7:33 PM

NEW YORK, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- An elderly Jewish New Yorker says he exchanged letters for decades with Moammar Gadhafi, the deposed Libyan dictator who was slain in October.

Louis Schlamowitz, 81, said he first contacted Gadhafi in 1969 when he took control of Libya, the New York Post reported Monday.

Schlamowitz, a florist in Brooklyn, makes a hobby of corresponding with political leaders -- he's sent letters to President Harry Truman and Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini. He says the CIA once interviewed him concerning his pen-pal relationship with Gadhafi and the organization was satisfied once he showed them a scrapbook detailing his hobby.

After the 1988 Pan Am bombing that killed 270 people, Schlamowitz says he stopped sending letters.

"[Gadhafi] committed crimes against humanity. I didn't want to get mixed up with him or his organization, so I backed out," he said.

Schlamowitz says he contacted Gadhafi again after the Libyan uprisings six months before the dictator was killed upon his capture by Libyan rebels who have overthrown his regime.

"I felt bad about how he was slaughtered. They really gave him the 1-2-3," Schlamowitz said. "But that's politics."

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