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Sheik shops for mansion // Al-Fassi rents 4 Poinciana homes

A Saudi Arabian sheik is looking for a mansion to rent in CentralFlorida; in the meantime, he has moved his family and entourage into four rented homes in this south Osceola County community.

Mohammed Al-Fassi rented a five-bedroom home for his family of eight. He rented three other nearby houses with one to be used as an office and the others for his advisers, security personnel and guests.

Total rent is $1,000 per week.

"We live a simple life, but we live in a way that is comfortable," Al-Fassi said Wednesday. "We try to have a peaceful existence."

Al-Fassi, 31, said he has been hounded by the media since he moved to Florida seven months ago. He now hopes he has found a place where he can spend time with his family.

"It's very nice here, quiet," Al-Fassi said. "This is what we have been looking for."

That wasn't the case Sunday when Al-Fassi found himself back in the news. Three police officers, two from North Miami and one from South Miami, and a private bodyguard were arrested late Sunday after Al-Fassi said they held him against his will for several hours.

Deputies said the men worked as bodyguards for Al-Fassi and claimed they were owed $14,000. The four have been released from jail on $1,000 bond each.

It was just another in a long line of strange incidents that have put Al-Fassi in the newspapers and on television over the years.

In November, Al-Fassi put aside $2.5-million to help save the nation's cats, taking in dozens of strays to live in his $3.2-million bayfront mansion. Many later were confiscated by the Dade County Humane Society under the watchful eyes of police after neighbors complained the cats were being mistreated.