Longform

Friends with Benefits

Page 6 of 6

"Now you wonder how any intelligent 22 year old can believe that, how in the world can you have bought that even for a second, but that's the kind of insane power that the guy has," Perdue marvels. "He maintained power over that kid for another six months by telling him that the Chinese had exposed his CIA cover and raided his house. And the next thing you know he's living at Richmond and Montrose with this kid. And he's doing all this with a $20 million judgment that I've won against him hanging over his head."

And that's not all. Davidsson had just been let go from the ballet and given a tidy severance package to tide him over. According to the sworn testimony Perdue heard at Shah's revocation hearing, Davidsson handed all of the $20,000 severance check over to Shah to "invest." "That was every dime that kid had," Perdue says. "And then it was, 'Oh, and by the way, give me the key to your apartment. I'm moving in with you.'"

Shah's existence with Davidsson was hardly peaceful. In a probable cause affidavit filed in June of last year, police say that Shah started shoving and head-butting Davidsson in May of 2010 and continued doing so into June, right up until the day Davidsson fled his own apartment to get away. (Davidsson declined to be interviewed for this story but insisted he was never Shah's lover.)

All of this would be heard in Judge Barr's court at Shah's probation revocation hearings in the fall of last year. Much as his brother had done, Shah developed a sudden injury just before his day in court. After many delays, he finally was pushed into court in a wheelchair and made it known that his old hernia was acting up. Chuckles Anderson: "I had real bad laryngitis when I was on the stand there, but when I saw him in that wheelchair, I almost said it out loud: 'Ain't this a bunch of...'"

A source in the courthouse claims that surveillance videos were made of Shah throwing the wheelchair in the trunk of the car and walking around freely. Shah also claimed on the stand that his father Anil Kumar Shah was dead. Sources say that the elder Shah would pick his son up from the courthouse.

Early in the proceedings, Barr cut off a potential stampede of witnesses early and said she'd already heard enough to revoke his probation. He would serve out the rest of his sentence in the Texas Department of Corrections.

As it happens, he has yet to be transferred there from the Harris County Jail. On the outside, some people are still scared of him. Estopinal is worried that his hired thugs might come around. Dave Martin says that the day Shah went to jail, for the first time in three years, he opened his blinds and went for a walk, but he's still mildly concerned that Shyam Shah is tailing him. The police are frustrated that other victims won't press charges.

HPD's Heath Bounds thinks Dinesh Shah is irredeemable. Expecting him to be rehabilitated "would be like telling a dog not to chase cars," he says. "He can't help it. He's evil and he's gonna do evil wherever he goes — when he's in prison he's gonna be in there doin' evil things. There's no doubt in my mind."

Anderson believes Shah had better be more concerned that evil is not done unto him on the inside. 

"He thinks because you're uneducated, you're stupid. Somebody told me he said that everybody in jail loved him because he was teaching them to read. I'm thinking they're probably whooping his ass every day, because he comes across that way — arrogant."

As for Shah himself, well, between getting elbowed and jostled by the burly black guy to his left in the visiting booth, he tells a reporter to wait until this fall, when he'll be totally vindicated. That's when he'll tell the world a hell of a story.
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John Nova Lomax
Contact: John Nova Lomax