NEWS > BUSINESS > VINCE SHLOMI SOUGHT IN BILLY MAYS DEATH
VINCE SHLOMI SOUGHT IN BILLY MAYS DEATH
June 28 2009
Tampa, FL – For many people infomercials have often been seen as at best a joke. Hawking products nobody would seem to want to buy and ever more ridiculous ways, the infomercial has become a standard of late night television. That milquetoast and
humorous nature has always belied a fierce behind the scenes battle that has raged for decades. From the rise of the format in the 1970’s to the modern day that battle for infomercial dollars has raged and claimed more than a few victims.
With the death of Billy Mays, the man behind such products as OxiClean, Kaboom, and Mighty Putty, has once again brought into focus that behind the scenes battle. Reports out of Tampa indicate that while police do not yet suspect foul play in the death of the 50-year old pitchman, they are not ruling out the possibility that someone else may have been involved in some way. The focus of their attention is 45-year old Vince Shlomi, a fellow pitchman who has long battled with Mays for a share of the infomercial dollars. Police are currently seeking ‘a conversation’ with Shlomi but as yet have been unable to make contact.
“We can confirm that we found a 50-year old man in his home early on Sunday morning. We were contacted by his wife and we have confirmed that the deceased’s name is in fact William Mays Jr. At this point we believe that the Mr. Mays died of natural causes and have no reason to suspect foul play might have been involved,” said a police spokesperson. “Obviously if anyone has any information they would like to share we would be interested in listening. There was no sign of a break-in or anything that brings suspicion in the case.”
Despite that declaration, sources indicate that Shlomi is being aggressively sought and Tampa police have issued a state wide ‘request’ for information regarding Shlomi’s whereabouts.
“It’s easy to understand why people would simply dismiss things like infomercials. They are amusing in a laugh at them kind of way and are really meaningless and forgettable. The dollars though are far from that. There’s a reason these commercials continue and a reason that Billy Mays died in his multi-million dollar Tampa home. There’s a whole lot of money to be had in the business and that means fierce competition for that market,” said Scrape TV Business analyst Ken Green. “That competition could only get more fierce in this economy and that is going to create a lot of tension and could lead to extreme actions. Shlomi obviously has a history of violence and that could lead to action against a man who is really his principle competition. It’s perfectly reasonable that they would want to speak to him to at least rule him out.”
Shlomi was arrested in February after an incident involving battery against a prostitute in Miami Beach. Charges were later dropped but the incident brought international attention to the pitchman, significantly upping his share of the infomercial market.
“The only question when it comes to Shlomi is that he is really more of an energetic kind of guy. He’s not the kind of person who would be subtle or sneaky when it comes to murder and that kind of devalues the argument for him being the killer. This appears to be more of a
product of a disciplined mind involving poison or some other such agent. Because of
that my suspicion would be on someone like John Scherer or the king of infomercials Ron Popeil,” continued Green. “Popeil in particular has all kinds of motivation to eliminate the competition. Not so much from a dollar perspective but from a respect point of view. After all he more or less invented the infomercial and now all people think of is Mays. That could spark a lot of ill feelings.”
Police have not yet indicated whether they will seek the co-operation of Popeil or any other famous pitchman. They have also been unable to find anyone who has actually purchased any of the infomercial goods any of them have promoted.