A former Minnesota businessman-turned-California-winemaker is dead. Robert Dahl took his own life after killing his business partner. In Minnesota, Dahl was a bit of a serial litigator involved in some very contentious lawsuits. The same turned out to be true in California, but his attorney said he thought Dahl was close to putting all his legal troubles behind him. No one saw it ending like this.
Dahl left Minnesota five years ago chasing his dreams of becoming a winemaker in Napa Valley, where on Monday, he chased a business partner through the Dahl Vineyard. Emad Tawfilis was on the line with 911 when Dahl shot him in the head execution style. Police then chased Dahl, who turned the gun on
Twenty-five years ago in Minnesota, Dahl was a twice-convicted thief ripping off Best Buy and a girlfriend's father, but he apparently turned his life around, starting a chemical company called Duraban, which made environmentally friendly disinfectants. However, court records show the company became embroiled in a couple of protracted lawsuits.
Duraban was based in this business park in Buffalo. Dahl would even mix the chemicals in there. His neighbors said the thing they found unusual is that as soon as he was done, he started up a wine tasting business. Eventually, Dahl packed up the family and headed west.
Starting up a brewery that ended up going out of business, he bought his own small vineyard. He was even interviewed on Fox News after the recent earthquake. A local wine reporter said his business was already a wreck.
Tawfilis had loaned Dahl $1.2 million dollars, but in dueling lawsuits, they accused each other of fraud. Dahl allegedly hid the money in various shell companies, including some registered in Minnesota. Dahl's attorney said the meeting on Monday was to settle the lawsuit, once and for all. No one imagined it would be settled like this, or that's Dahl's California dream would end so tragically.
Dahl had asked for the meeting to be moved to the winery at the last minute, their mutual attorneys were actually joining them by conference call. Dahl's attorney said everything seemed fine; they took a break, and shortly after is when the shooting began. Dahl leaves behind a wife and two grown children.