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VIDEO: Pal Says Balloon Boy’s Dad "Driven By Fame"; Talked Of Planning UFO Stunt

Oct. 20 2009, Published 2:57 p.m. ET

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Richard Heene, the father of the "balloon boy," has mentioned he was planning to stage a media stunt involving a UFO, Heene's ex-business colleague, Robert Thomas, told The Today Show Tuesday.

Thomas, a self-described entrepreneur, said he reached out to Heene, who was uploading science-based videos to YouTube, earlier this year in the interests of collaborating on a reality TV show. Thomas said he had nothing to do with the alleged hoax or conception thereof, saying he was essentially an intern for Heene.

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Thomas said that when he saw the incident unfold on TV, "The first thing that came to my mind was, 'Who would possibly do something like this? It has to be Richard Heene.'"

He said that he felt he had to come forward after seeing Heene’s 6-year-old son Falcon say, "We did it for the show" during a television interview last week.

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Thomas -- who described Heene as "very creative" and "very hyperactive" -- said that appearing on the ABC reality show Wife Swap left Heene with a swollen ego and hunger for the limelight.

"Unfortunately, I think he's a little driven by fame and really interested in promoting himself," Thomas said. "He really needed to focus on his family."

Balloon Boy Is Now Officially A Hoax

A worldwide audience watched Oct. 15, as the homemade helium balloon soared 7,000 feet over eastern Colorado for just under two hours; it was revealed during the dramatic incident that the boy's family had gained fame on the ABC reality show Wife Swap. Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden Sunday told reporters he will likely recommend felony charges against Heene and his wife, Mayumi in connection with the incident.

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