Why does Gunther the Golden Shepherd eat gold-spotted steaks and represent sex cult?
Posted February 3, 2023 at 2:52 pm (EST)
Maurizio Mian in "Gunther's Millions"(Photo courtesy of Netflix)
Nothing good could come of itstylish dogand his dubious handler.
At least that's what we discover in Netflix's latest documentary series,"Gunther's Millions",exploring the wacky backstory of the world's richest dog, Gunther. Gunther enjoys a normal canine lifestyle: he eats gold flake steaks for dinner, travels on private jets, owns several stately properties and has his own team of glamorous spokespersons.
Gunther was given such privileges by his family - yes, a classic tale of the wealth of generations of dogs. You see, the secret is that Gunther comes from a long line of dogs all named Gunther. Such lavish indulgences began with Gunther's great-grandfather, who owned a German countess by the nameCarlotta Liebensteinand her husband, a wealthy businessman from a pharmaceutical company. Carlotta also had a son named Gunther, who later committed suicide at the age of 26.
Since there were no living heirs, the Countess left all her fortune to her son's German Shepherd named Gunther III. She named her close friend Gabriella Gentili, the dog's new guardian and manager of Gunther's fortune, known as the Gunther Trust. Gabriella then left her duties to her son Maurizio Miano, who was also a close friend of Carlotta's son. Today, Mian is the sole manager of the current Gunther, known as Gunther VI, and the Gunther Trust.
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Gunther's story - while exaggerated - is wacky enough to be believable. But in reality, it's all one big lie. Over the course of four episodes, we learn that Gunther is just a mainstay in Miana's dark stunts and sex-based "science experiments." It is not clear if the real Gunther VIever appearsin the series or if played by the decoy Gunther. But his employees and supervisor conduct more interviews.
Here are the 7 most outrageous revelations from the series:
Gunther has his own personal chef
Gunther's Millions (Courtesy of Netflix)
In his luxurious Tuscan villa, Gunther has his own personal chef named Mirko Citti. In the documentary series, Citti Gunther prepares a thick and juicy steak, which is then sliced and covered in gold leaf.
"We choose meat especially for him because he is a dog that gives great pleasure in the culinary field," explains Citti.
According to Lucy Clarkson, head of public relations for dogs, the Countess wanted to make sure Gunther was treated like a god. In addition to his extravagant dinners, Gunther employs a total of 27 employees.
The ever-expanding Gunther dynasty
"Gunther's Millions" (Courtesy of Netflix)
According to Piero Salussolia, an attorney for the Gunther Trust, the settlement agreement names Gunther VI as the beneficiary and reads: "If he dies prematurely, the trustees will replace him as primary beneficiary with another exemplary species of the same name, selecting the species that most suitable." probably the best living symbol of the 'Gunther Reform' ideology and '13 Commandments'.”
Simply put, the Countess bred Gunther's bloodline, and if VI was gone, VII would replace him, and so on in Roman numerals.
"It's like compensation, you know?" said Carla Riccitelli, representative of the Gunther Trust. "You have to make sure there's always one, two, three, or four coming after you."
Salussolia added that the Gunther Trust is part of a larger corporate initiative called the Gunther Group. The group includes the Gunther Corporation, which includes several properties and yachts throughout Italy. Gunther Corporation also owns interests in other companies such as ICX Limited, Gunther 2000, Burgundians Limited and other companies that Salussolia said he was "not comfortable talking about".
Mian'a series of outlandish "projects" in honor of Carlotta's late son
The Burgundians cast 'Gunther's Millions' (courtesy of Netflix)
U Mian claims the Gunther Trust was created to honor Carlotta's late son's hobbies, including music, television and entertainment. That's why Mian formed a band called Gunther Group and released a record called "Wild Dog".
"'Wild Dog' itself was a record with important themes," says Mian, who compares it to the music of The Beatles, Bob Dylan and John Lennon. The record is a pure, messy electronic dance tune with a music video featuring random shots of the group performing, dogs running amok and people tearing down fences.
Mian adds that Carlotta's son Gunther once dreamed of traveling to the United States. So Mian and Gunther VI decided to buy real estate in Miami, eyeing Sylvester Stallone's estate and Versace's mansion. They eventually settled on Madonna's mansion and bought it for a whopping $7.5 million in cash.
"I have to admit that buying Madonna's mansion was the highlight of the second part of my life," said Mian.
Then came Mian's The Burgundians, a five-piece pop group who sang and danced on Gunther's behalf. The core members were Lee Dahlberg, spokesperson/model for the Gunther Trust; Dahlberg's girlfriend at the time, Michelle Mainoni; Dahlberg's friend Christopher Lewinski; and Carla, Mian's ex-wife. The group attended press conferences and received widespread media attention. But much of what they did remained secret.
The Burgundians' demands of the actors are further described, albeit bizarrely, in the settlement agreement:
"The Gunther boys are young, handsome, strong, well built and well balanced. The two boys should look like Gerald from 'G-Squad' or Steve from 'Worlds Apart.' Maybe with more muscle and blonde hair. The three girls should look like Pamela Anderson, Victoria from the Spice Girls, and so on. Like the cover girls of today's stars, but with perky butts. None of them should be permanent unless it's is absolutely necessary. Individuals in the group must offer a strong sense of beauty and an almost robotically blank image like a machine."
There is no mention of singing or dancing skills.
It turns out that the Burgundians were a sex cult of sorts
"Gunther's Millions" (Courtesy of Netflix)
The Burgundians lived in Gunther's villa and were supervised by "scientists", who monitored their daily activities. According to Mian, the purpose of these “scientific experiments” was to find the secret to happiness – and to further honor his late friend who committed suicide. Data from these experiments was collected by Barry Morse and then given to Mian, who reportedly shared it with other unnamed scientists.
"One of the major components of the advancement in the Burgundian lifestyle has been attributed to this participation in sexual drive surveys," according to the Gunther Trust's legal documents. A typical schedule for Burgundians included three hours of sport swimming, four hours of show production, two hours of sex, two hours of meals and "conducting experiments", and two hours of "study and business preparation". Burgundians were encouraged to have sex, live naked and take part in long orgies.
"And then, I don't know what happened... it just got weird," Mainoni recalled. "It changed from a glamorous, hedonistic lifestyle to one where we were watched 24 hours a day." She said the cameras had been installed in the villa's bedrooms without the members' consent.
Mian hired two porn stars as presidents of his football team
Valentine Demy in "Gunther's Millions" (Courtesy of Netflix)
Mian and Gunther later bought Pisa SC, an Italian football club based in Pisa, Tuscany, and US Città di Pontedera, an Italian football club based in Pontedera, Tuscany. For the latter, Mian named two world-famous Italian porn stars, Ilona Staller (better known by her stage name La Cicciolina) and Valentine Demy, as presidents.
The presidents are a representation of collegiality, a philosophy whose core value is the pursuit of happiness.
Massimo Marini, an Italian journalist, added that Mia's choice to hire porn stars "represents a common thread in Maurizio's life".
"He always wanted to impress and amaze, to attract attention, even though he knew such things would cause trouble and lead to serious mistakes."
Mia's second absurd "experiment": 5 beautiful
Maurizio Mian and members of I Magnifici 5 in "Gunther's Millions" (Courtesy of Netflix)
Mian's second project resembled Burgundians, but it involved Italian celebrities such as TV personality Fabrizio Corona. Each member received a necklace with five lights representing different elements - popularity, wealth, sexuality, physicality and spectacle - for an ideal life. When members reached a certain element, their chain lit up with the corresponding light.
In addition, the members were told that they were participating in "planned mating" and creating "a generation of really happy people". Basically, they were all part of Miana's plan to breed a new generation of humans genetically superior enough to achieve true happiness.
Of course, this experiment, like all of Mian's dubious "science experiments," ended in failure. Emanuel Cirinei, member of The Magnificent 5, recalled that "it was one of the saddest moments of my life, and happiness was very far away.
- It looked like brainwashing.
Gunther's backstory was also a lie
Karlotta Leibenstein in "Gunther's Millions" (Courtesy of Netflix)
So is Gunther VI really worth $400,000,000? The short answer is no.
The long answer is that Gunther's backstory was created by Mian so he could avoid paying taxes on his family's wealth. Mia's mother, Maria Gabriella Gentili, was the pharmaceutical entrepreneur behind the Gentili Institute, a pharmaceutical company that developed a drug effective in treating bone diseases. The Gentili Institute was later sold to Merck for millions—$400 million to be exact. To avoid paying high Italian taxes, the Mian family transferred the money to the dog's name, later naming a fake countess as the dog's owner.
In addition, Gunther III was actually owned by Maurizio's girlfriend Antonella, meaning that Gunther VI is a descendant of Antonella's original dog.
"Gunther's Millions" is currently available to stream on Netflix. Watch its trailer below, viaYouTube:
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Joy Saha is a writer at Salon and writes about culture and food. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.
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