Memorable Events

Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan's Cleveland Visit

Sheik Al Nahyan
Sheik Al Nahyan

Sheik Al Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and ruler of Abu Dhabi, the largest of the seven sheikdoms in the UAE, checked into the Cleveland Clinic on Thursday, July 13, 2000. He was the leader of one of the world's most powerful oil-producing nations and the sixth richest man in the world.

In July, Sheik Zayed flew to Cleveland Clinic for what was officially called a checkup. He may have been the oldest person to undergo a kidney transplant, a risky procedure at any age and especially difficult for someone in his 80s like the sheik.

A fleet of four private jets was met at Cleveland Hopkins Airport. The sheik arrived with his personal stretch Mercedes Benz limousine, driving the sheik to the Cleveland Clinic.

A security detail provided by the U.S. Secret Service, Bratenahl Police, Cleveland Clinic Police, UAE guards, and hired private security arrived a week before.

An entourage of more than 100 people, including other high-ranking government officials, security guards, aides, cooks, servants, and relatives, disembarked from the planes. They were met by a caravan of limousines and rental trucks, which chauffeured the retinue to two Bratenahl homes provided for their use at 12611 and 12717Lake Shore Boulevard.

As many as fifty vehicles provided by Cleveland Auto Livery Limousine provided the shuttling of the group between the Clinic and Bratenahl and on various errands.

Thousands of dollars were spent weekly on hotel rooms, fresh flowers, sterling silver, and fancy chocolates.

Specialty food importer and distributor Euro USA of Cleveland saw its sales rise as much as $8,000 per week during the sheik’s stay, most of it for salmon, shrimp, and other seafood.

The visit was a boon to Aladdin’s Bakery on Carnegie Avenue. On arrival, the UAE ordered 200 each of meat pies, spinach pies, pizza, and 300 loaves of bread.

Forty extravagant floral arrangements adorned the two Bratenahl homes and changed before they had a chance to wilt. The sheik's staff spent $2,000 to $4,000 per week on fresh flowers to the two homes his family and staff were renting. "They don't give us a budget; they just handed us a Visa card." said the owner of Tuthill's Flowers in Cleveland and Mentor. He kept both shops busy filling orders that arrived weekly for orchids and other expensive flowers.

King Abdullah II of Jordan ordered four $500 arrangements to be sent to the sheik’s Clinic suites accompanied by a letter in Arabic faxed from Jordan’s royal palace. Then, the king made a quick trip to Cleveland on September 14 to visit his friend Sheik Al Nahyan. King Abdullah stayed at one of the two Bratenahl homes the sheik was renting for his family

.After a four-month stay, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan left the clinic on November 20, 2000. The sheik and his entourage swelled Bratenahl's population by a substantial amount. Did the stay create any lasting effect for Bratenahl? Thousands of dollars were spent; however, since Bratenahl had no retail establishments, this largesse had little impact on Bratenahl's economy,

The Bratenahl Police Department did not have responsibility for guarding the two houses. However, Bratenahl police officers, while off-duty, were hired by the sheik to protect the houses.

Except for the publicity, the effects of the stay were negligible for Bratenahl.