More on Tiger Mike

While researching the validity of Friday’s Tiger Oil Memos, I stumbled onto further information about the main character, Tiger Mike.

The story begins with Frederick Gilmer Bonfils, a scandal-steeped publisher who made the Denver Post a major newspaper, and who reportedly once took hush-money to stop reporting on the Teapot Dome oil scandal. When he passed away in 1933, his daughter Helen took over the paper. She later married George Somnes1. Somnes died in 1956, but by the end of the 50s and at the ripe old age of 69, Helen married her former-chauffeur, 28-year-old Edward “Tiger Mike” Davis.

After the nearly-inevitable divorce, Tiger Mike suddenly had the means to dabble in oil. He purchased drilling rigs and was later bought out, making him richer. Eventually, he drilled 49 dry holes (possibly not all in a row), and went broke, at least for a time.

Tiger Mike’s trail goes fairly dark, except for his memos slowly spreading around the world, and eventually landing online. He finally popped back up in 2008, when he helped broker a $684 million dollar deal between Denver-based Delta Petroleum and Las Vegas billionaire Kirk Kerkorian. By then, Tiger Mike was known as “an oil and gas veteran living in Las Vegas” and had sold properties to Delta in 2003. As part of this 2008 sale, Tiger Mike received 263,158 shares in Delta as a “finder’s fee”, worth around $6 million dollars.

And the newspaper which reported on that 2008 sale? The Bonfils’ own Denver Post.


  1. Somnes is reported to have looked like a twin of Helen’s father, which is not at all disturbing or creepy. ↩︎