Transcription November, 1997

St. Petersburg Times Interview with Chief Billie
Full Transcription (Tape Two)

(Tape Two)
T: (inaudible) highest level help facilitate that loan program
CHIEF: Yeah, at the very beginning.
T: Uh, even now. Uh, that, uh, payments are made to Miss Click Smith as a result of deductions from paychecks, deductions from dividends. So in effect, this loan program which is questionable in terms of its lending rates and possibly disclosure, is something the Tribe is helping keep afloat. Am I characterizing that wrong?
CHIEF: Well, you're -- I think you're half ass on it. I do know that she's lending, but, uh, we, we do help in a sense where, uh, uh, we had allowed her to pick up the -- like if somebody borrowed some money, from her -- we gave her a choice to recoup that money.
T: Uh-huh.
CHIEF: Yeah. That takes a place. But it's a very political thing they do. You're gonna have to talk to the people whose in charge of that thing.
Boyd: Basically she gives small loans. If it's a $500 loan she charges 10 percent
Goldstein: Well, we tried.
Goldstein: We tried.
CHIEF: Well, if they don't talk to you, they don't talk. I'm in politics. I get voted in, not because of you guys.
Goldstein: Actually, she said to speak to you.
CHIEF: She says that's hiding, maybe, but when I talked to her today, she was kinda backshuffling with it, so . . . Maybe I'll see her behind the back doors next week with lots of hickies on my neck. I don't know what's gonna happen . . . I think I tried to kill it. I think I tried to kill that, was it 10 years ago? About 10 years ago. You remember that, Joel? Frank: 12 years ago.
CHIEF: Huh? Twelve years ago I was gonna kill that program. And you gotta remember now, I'm voted in by some of the people that's on that reservation, so boy that group growled and protected it. So we just left it alone.
Boyd: It's been continued by popular acclaim . . .
CHIEF: But, but, uh, Jack Smith, Jr is a representative. You all can ask him questions on that.
T: What about the, I think it's a much larger loan program the Tribe has . . .
CHIEF: Yeah.
T: What is -- we've been told, uh, by Tribal members that, uh . . .
CHIEF: Like who?
T: that program, uh . . .
CHIEF: Which Tribal members?
Boyd: Eight and a half percent simple interest. Not per month . . .
CHIEF: Is that it? His name was eight and a half percent?
Goldstein: Eight and a half percent annual percentage rate?
Gallagher: What Tribal members told you this?
CHIEF: Well, I think he's wrong.
T: But, the people that talked to us tell us they can't . . .
CHIEF: Like, like who?
T: . . . they can't, they can't get disclosure statements from it. They don't know what they're paying?
CHIEF: Oh, oh, oh. I know what you had...
T: They call your office, they talk to Bonnie Garris and they say (inaudible) . . .
CHIEF: Let me ask you something. Do you really give a, I mean would you really care if I go to your financial places and find out what you're really about, about your personal life I want to see what your medical records are and all this. Would you really care?
T: Medical maybe.
CHIEF: What about your finances?
T: Personal finances?
CHIEF: Yeah.
T: Not a lot to see there.
CHIEF: See, there's, it's an iffy situation. I have some 2400 people that you're talking about. They are individual people. How am I goin' to this woman and go ask her if she's got her tampon on? I mean she'd probably knock the shit out of me. So her personal thing, I try to treat every individual that walks into that office as an individual person. It's my secret and their secret and I'm just listening to them and then I have to shuffle to the next person and we try to keep this privacy so they can maintain their noble atmosphere of being a human being. So this asshole comes over there and asks me, "Hey I wanna see how much he's makin'." Why the hell do you care? But if you want something, you ask me personally how much you want to borrow, not because this person had a different need than yours. And I think that's where that gripe came and I heard that. But when I ask 'em out, individual, uh, individual people out in the audience, like one, uh, community meeting, somebody came up with that and I know exactly what those faces are. Uh, these are people that's probably had less borrowed money and, uh, they, they overcol. . . let's say they borrowed $50,000 which they couldn't even borrow money out of the bank. Nobody would even look at 'em, but as a Tribe we have the money. Uh, out of our budget for that year we set aside so much because we were not givin' large amounts of dividends, so instead I would give 'em large amounts of loans so they can maybe get on their feet. So this person borrows $50,000 but this person over here came in and says, "Hey, James, I wanna borrow $30,000 even though I have $20,000 already on the record. Can you do that?" And I say, "What's the problem?" He says, "Well, I got a mobile home that I want to get into real quick." This guy got $50,000, he just bought a Lincoln Continental for his personal taste. I didn't question what he's gonna do with it because he needs -- all these people, uh, the majority of the people did not have what you call borrowing capability. So we were tryin' to establish something. Let them learn how to pay on it and we're learning that certain amount they have to pay like interest and all this. So this guy gets jealous because he may not have been my voter. And I don't really know who, who people vote. So, um, so we have a democratic process in voting. So, uh, they all try to go against me but they screwed up and I got back in. You can't change that, I don't think. We can try to use the St. Pete Times to kiss their ass but you're kissing the wrong people's ass. You don't vote for me and I -- whatever the hell you do is not even gonna help you, maybe give you a little salary this afternoon but you're not gonna be able to help educate this person on how they're borrowing money. So we were down to a lending institution. So these people "Well, I heard," just the way you're sounding. You sound like one of those Indians that's tryin' to do a cheap shot on 'em. "I heard that you lent this money to that person." What the fuck you care what she borrowed? That's her personal pride. Her dignity and her asking. They probably felt kinda humble coming over and asking that crazy question borrowing money. So I've gone through that and, uh, at one community meeting I heard that. But when I ask 'em, the majority of the people that were sitting there, other than that person, said "No. You keep our, our private little things," even though if you dug into our computer system you might see -- because it's not secret, it's on there, but it's not anybody else's business to go in to check on that person.
T: The loan program you're talking about now . . .
T: . . . is gone?
CHIEF: No. It's not gone.
T: It's suspended.
CHIEF: We have to be, we have to be . . .
T: I mean it's still active, uh . . .
CHIEF: Oh, yeah. It'll always be active because I have people that cannot go anywhere borrowing money. No bank can borrow money. Uh, I mean no human out there can just go into a place and, uh, borrow something. Let me take you there. You say you want a million dollars. Who's just gonna, just give, give it to you? Nothing. Let alone $10,000. We'll always have it open, but the only thing I can do is, uh, I cannot give out big chunks of loans anymore for anything because we're given about $60 million worth of dividends and the rest of it is -- our money is not sitting in a bank. We, we receive almost like a paycheck from our bingo halls.
T: Yeah.
CHIEF: So sometimes we'll eat up two months, uh, supply of money before we can even have the actual cash. That we'll actually have to borrow from the bank and, uh, beat it back and just go borrowing all the time, so, so that's kind of a half-ass question that some sympathetic ear that, you're probably well established in the American system because you know you can go to some lending institution and somebody already brainwashed you that this is what you gotta, you gotta have collateral and all this. Some of these people don't even understand that. You're talkin' about a third world mentality that being developed slowly, slowly, slowly. Some of 'em being kicked in the ass, some of 'em being shit on, don't matter. It's a learning process that they're going through, if they don't get caught up in another whirlwind that doesn't really help 'em but devastate them.
T: Okay. Uh, a company called Coryi . . .
CHIEF: Uh-huh.
T: . . .uh, had...
CHIEF: I, I prefer not to touch that. The main reason why you gotta honor this because it is in litigation. I think it's in litigation, so I don't want to touch it. And it's got nothing to do with these questions. I'm pretty sure if something's in litigation . . .
T: Some of your lawyers will talk about it?
CHIEF: You -- yes. You can call them, if they want to talk to you about it,
T: Which lawyer?
CHIEF: Uh, well start with Jim Shore. He's our main attorney.
T: Okay. What do you know about Chief Tommie's contract originally?
CHIEF: That's another one. I have no idea.
Gallagher: It would help if you showed us the document that you're talking about. No one knows, ever heard about that.
CHIEF: So you got documents. I don't even have documents myself. I have no idea.
Gallagher: (to Testerman) You are unable to give us those documents? You can't produce them? Or can you?
T: I don't have them here . . .
CHIEF: But even if you had it, I don't want to look at it because it's none of my fucking business
T: Oh.
CHIEF: You talk to them.
T: Okay. Uh, let's see. What about the buy out with SMA? That's a big ticket item.
CHIEF: Yeah, about 64, 66, it's a big ticket item but we, in, uh, respect...
T: We talked to the former general counsel of NIGC. He said, uh, that's not a valid contract.
CHIEF: He did?
T: He said it's not, uh, it's not worth the paper it's printed on.
CHIEF: That's right.
T: He said, uh, you know, therefore, why does the Tribe feel like it has to honor the contract.
CHIEF: Well, NIGC is how many years nonexistent, Joel? The only reason I'm gonna pick on him on this one is . . .
T: He knows (inaudible)
Goldstein: He knows the NIGC.
CHIEF: I know because I put him on that committee. They wanted me on it but my background is so impecc, impeccable and, uh, triple axe murders and all this. (laughter)
CHIEF: Uh, so I put Joel on it. Come to find out he was a rapist. No, I'm kidding. (laughter)
CHIEF: But, anyway, uh, how long -- when did that come into existence? Frank: The law was passed in '88.
CHIEF: Prior to, prior to '88, like I made a statement with the attorney, uh, what's his name, Bob Butterworth, um, he wasn't there. He didn't come runnin' to help me out. The Tribe was out there trying to borrow a measly $100,000. We could never even get anybody to co-sign for us or anything. They just strung it along until someone come along and said there's an NIGC or no NIGC. Fuck NIGC in that respect back in those days. Uh, they went there to help me out. Some government agency tried to, uh, hinder me a little bit by tryin' to slow things down, tellin' 'em I shouldn't have done it that way. But where were they when I needed to do anything? So for them to ask me a question like that and then give you an answer, it's not worth the paper it's on. I've made millions of dollars for the Tribe. So what the hell is he comin' from? So this guy doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground and I don't know who it was, you can tell them that's what I said. The new people that's startin' to come into NIGC, I know them. I know who they are and they have a different mentality. Most of the time, if you're talkin' to a guy named Tony Hope, he wasn't no Indian Advocate. This guy there was a, probably being, kissing somebody else's ass. It wasn't Indian's ass, so however they got in. But if it's an Indian guy that's in there, he would understand exactly what I'm sayin'. I always honored it. I had a 25-year commitment, I was gonna stay with it or buy the rest of it out or whatever it is and that's what I did.
T: Yeah.
CHIEF: And it come out to like . . .
Boyd: 60 million dollars even . . .
CHIEF: But the crazy thing was, to honor that commitment, it was gonna equal out to like however how much it is that year without even the papers exchanged. No Indian even understood that. But there's a commitment . . .
T: And you could just tear it up and say, hey sue us . . .
Goldstein: Just like the Miccosukees
Goldstein: (repeats) Like the Miccosukees.
CHIEF: The Miccosukees.
T: $60 million bucks would pay your dividends for a year.
CHIEF: Are you Yiddish?
Goldstein: Am I? Yeah.
CHIEF: Yeah. Why would I go to Israel to say fuck you to 'em? This is another Tribe. Don't even compare me to another group of people? That's a different group. They have a totally different governmental, uh, procedure. In our Tribe, they instill a lot of power in five people. That's me as the chairman, vice-chairman who is actually the president of the corporation. Then you got the three elected officials from each reservation. When we have a council, those five people make a decision, some decision, good or bad. In the Miccosukees they have a general council, and you know what that is? The entire tribe. If they're 600 people, there's 600 people there making a decision yes or nay. So don't compare me to somethin' else that's like apples and pears; totally different monster.
T: Sounds like it's easier to tear up a contract at the Seminole level . . .
CHIEF: It would. It just depends on how you are. Let me give you another story. There was a man who said that one time and, uh, a guy named Silverstein, probably another Yiddish speaking boy. Silverstein came into the reservation back in the, uh, with that carnival on the corner of 441 and Stirling Road. Remember that? It was in the 70s. Here's a guy, just, just what you said, would have been fantastic with your balls, but we learned from that mistake that we don't do that to people. Silverstein musta been a high, uh, some sort of high-powered businessman who had a carnival, some sort of midway and he's been tryin' to get a permit somewhere off the reservation somewhere but nobody would give it to him, so they came to the Seminole Tribe and they put it on this high profile corner, 441 and Stirling Road. Well, on the Indian reservations there's certain laws maybe you can get away with or can't get away with. And they came to the, uh, one of our leaders at that time and, uh, this electrical component was supposed to take place. Um, maybe it had to have been buried or covered but it was open. If it was a, uh, what do they call this thing, a mouse. You know what I'm talking about? The little, uh,-- what do they call 'em? -- roller coaster rides should have had certain rails. Well, those are added money expenses, but they came to this Indian leader at the time and says, "Can, do we need to do that?" "Nah. We don't have to obey the off the reservation law, you can what you want." One thing led to another, somebody got electrocuted and got killed. This is in the 70's. Uh, some child ran across in front of that darned thing and got killed. The Tribe allowed this person to do that when they should, when the Tribe should have been kicking a little harder. Well, above all the situation the Tribe was hanging in there pretty good and this man had a, had a contract and when this happened, the Indian tribe now started backing off, said "Yeah, we don't want you here no more. Just all these problems, you're bringing us bad publicity." But Silverstein's sayin', "I got a contract with you guys." "Naw, no you don't now because you're not obeyin'." But they were, they both broke each other's laws and they ripped the contract and in about 1978-79 or '80 I went to some bank to borrow some money for the Tribe and guess who's name come up and they wouldn't let us borrow any money. Silverstein. You're talkin' about connections that people know each other, business world. Uh . . .
T: You don't honor this contract, it might...
CHIEF: It might affect...
T: . . .be a problem later . . .
CHIEF: It's not gonna affect me right now because I'm in glory, it seemed like.
T: Okay. Yeah.
CHIEF: So my grandson or my child, uh, goes in there years later, you think that Silverstein name is gonna come up? Yes it will. So whatever the hell we hang onto, good or bad, I've gotta hang onto it. And I notice some of the Seminole Indian youth today that's grown up that, that, they, all they knew how to do was get an erection at the time when I was developing the Tribe and now they gettin' 'em, they can't even do jack shit yet. All they know how to do is try to see if they can get into leadership but they couldn't even provide a family any food. Talking like that, but in the real business world a handshake sometimes is better than the paper's its on. So I've tried to honor it up to this point, so NIGC sayin' it's bad, but that was before.
T: Okay.
CHIEF: So they tell me it's bad. I still feel, in my heart, that that was something that these people allowed me to have and I did say 25 years. I was thinking that was a cool negotiating -- I thought I really did something, but as time went on I felt deep in my heart that geez, maybe I could have asked a little bit less for them and more for the Tribe.
T: Yeah.
CHIEF: But I made a commitment, we signed it and Tribe started moving ahead, things started happening for the Tribe and, uh, but the biggest problem was the people itself. Uh, almost like my, my son. He sees a bag of candy he wants to eat it all at one time. Uh, you can't do that. Somebody's gonna get a bellyache, rotten teeth and that's what we're goin', we're goin' through what we'll call money making pains. Terrible money making pains. It's wonderful to have, but geezus, it's a, I'm not quite sure how to handle it. I've never -- I was never a, uh, college educated administrator. I was never a college educated at this. I am basically a self-taught money maker. I feel like I'm a breadwinner for the Tribe. Throw me in a damn ditch and I'll make sure money comes in to the Tribe. Not individual people, but government. The government must be strong and must have money. So this is the way I run it. And then the five people can make a decision where the money goes.
T: Speaking of money making. Where do you stand on your Coconut Creek facility?
CHIEF: Again, that's still, we're still negotiating. Let's leave that alone.
T: That's not a legal situation at all.
CHIEF: It's still a legal situation. They're negotiating.
T: Who's your, uh . . .
CHIEF: Same person, Jim Shore Anything when you're talkin' to me, uh, is through my attorney is Jim Shore. You have to talk to him.
T: You won't -- this -- you won't touch this?
CHIEF: I won't touch it.
T: Alright.
CHIEF: But all I can tell you it's active.
T: Okay.
CHIEF: It has not been finalized and I don't know when it ever will or it will be.
T: Some Tribal members have criticized your expenses, uh, in terms of, uh, expenditures made for some very expensive things. Uh, airplanes, helicopters. You got a nice, how big is that boat? 45 feet, Micco.
CHIEF: Uh, boat Micco is 47 feet. REPORTER: 47 feet. Big. Uh . . .
CHIEF: That's big? REPORTER: And . . .
CHIEF: (laughter) Where are you from?
Goldstein: Bigger than my three foot dick.
CHIEF: Yeah. Maybe if you lay it on there twice. (laughter)
T: But, uh, some of 'em say, you know, that's the Chief largely gets that stuff . . .
CHIEF: That's my boat. I have a car. It's none of their business. That's my car. That's my boat.
T: What's that boat worth?
CHIEF: Uh, I think I bought it for $250,000.
T: Bargain, huh?
CHIEF: I have no idea. Look at the Bayliner. I told you, I told you, you St. Pete Times oughta know these things. You can see what that is. I don't know if it's a bargain. Hatteras cost over a million, so mine is $250,000. But I make good salary.
T: Yeah.
CHIEF: So what's, uh, what's the deal? But it's not Tribal monies.
T: What about . . .That's your own personal money?
CHIEF: That's my own personal, I paid for it.
T: What about your, what about the, uh, aircraft?
CHIEF: Which one?
T: All of 'em.
CHIEF: Those are the Tribe's, isn't it? I did have one one time. I sold it.
T: Why do you need that many airplanes and helicopters for? (Laughter)
CHIEF: Uh, is that a dumb question?
Gallagher: Pretty much so.
CHIEF: You're serious, right?
T: Sure am.
CHIEF: That's not an ignorant question?
T: As I say . . .
CHIEF: Who asked you to ask me that question? That's an ignorant question.
T: Well, there's . . .
CHIEF: Do you know the logistics of my reservation?
T: . . . there's some Tribal members that . . .
CHIEF: Tell me the names of the Tribal members.
T: . . . sent an anonymous letter to the U.S. Attorney's Office to complain about a number of things.
CHIEF: Okay.
T: Do you know what I'm talking about?
CHIEF: I know. I'll answer it. For me to do my job effectively, I think, how far is , um, you are gonna pay my $2,000 bill to get my ass here to talk to you today, right?
T: You can submit it. (Laughter)
CHIEF: Yeah, right. I'll look you up. I know where you live now anyway., so . . .
T: I'll bet you do. CHIEF Um, to give you, to give you an answer to that. For me to come in and fan your ass today, weren't you happy I got here?
T: We would have been happy to come over to your side.
CHIEF: Well, then you should have came because he asked you to come, you wouldn't come there.
T: Right.
Gallagher: What's the difference?
CHIEF: Well, you're happy that I came here, so, you know, let's do a little pinchin'. But anyway, you're glad I'm here. It's to move around on the reservation. I think 50 miles, uh, about 50 miles to Big Cypress. About 100 and some odd miles to, uh, Brighton and the way to move around in those areas is by helicopters or private planes or whatever. And the jet. That's a damned good investment.
T: Why?
CHIEF: Uh, it was layin' there by, I think it was Fernando, Fernando Marcos? You remember that? Fernando. Uh, Ferdinand. And, uh, I wanted to get the Tribe into an atmosphere of where they're supposed to be because if it wasn't you wouldn't be sittin' here askin' about it. You can buy the jet for like, the first one we got into was a Hawker, about$3-400,000 and we sold it for how much? The old Thunderbuster. Kirkpatrick: We sold it for (inaudible) $25,000 what we paid for it.
CHIEF: So we didn't lose any investment, other than the fuel expenses. And then we used that to, so it was a good investment. Like the one we got now, how much did we buy that thing for?
Boyd: About nine million dollars. (Inaudible)
CHIEF: Yeah, so we've been using it. So now when we sell it, we, we are not gonna lose any, uh, monies on that thing. We either -- what'd you say we're gonna get for that thing if we sell it? Kirkpatrick Oh, it's appreciated about a million and a half dollars. It's about ten million.
CHIEF: So we're probably selling it for 10 million.
T: Airplanes appreciate? I wish my car would appreciate.
CHIEF: Course, uh, so check it out. These, these are no bullshit. You're in a very smart newspaper business. Go check it out.
CHIEF: So we sell it, which we think we are, to get another one that starts getting into the market of buying and selling aircraft, I wish I was gonna tell, I'm gonna tell you and you're gonna do what you want with it. Remember that $28 million I told you about?
T: Mm-hmm.
CHIEF: It was settin' there cold cash in the bank. And one of the Tribal members saw it and you know what happened to it?
T: No.
CHIEF: It's gone. In the wind. Wherever the fuck they wiped their ass with that money, it's gone as dividends. So I went ahead -- but if I bought a gold brick, the whole bouillon this big and set it there, you think they'd be goin' "well that's not money that's gold" so you know, they won't spend it. It's settin' there. So I took the same attitude on this jet. Plus it could get my ass around in a, like people are using it, they go somewhere but it didn't lose its value. So if I sold it today, at least I'd get my money back with some interest on it. That was the attitude, and we still have it.
T: Does anybody get to use the aircraft but you?
CHIEF: Oh, yeah. When I'm in it, it's exclusively me. When Joel's usin' it, it's exclusive to him. But the guys that may be complainin' to you are afraid to come over and ask. That's his fuckin' problem. And that's what you've gotten into, this business of, the, the people that are cryin' and complainin', I think I heard one of 'em come, comin' to me one time and he was always shy anyway. He come from a family that probably what we call "hang around the fort," just a good old term. This is hang around the office boys. They never could go anywhere, so, but they always wanted to look big. One of their fathers was, uh, not one of the fathers, but I think it was their grandfather was a, uh, person who organized the Tribe, but when they organized he was always the one that was trying to make it fall. And, uh, their kids grew up with that mentality and so when the election came, they never voted for me. But they tried to come in and tried to borrow money one time and I said, uh, give me a little idea what you're gonna spend it on and this, this was about two years ago. We weren't quite into the position we are today, so when I told him, he never came back. Next thing I know he was out there tryin' to drop little eggshells around us. And that's probably what you're running into.
T: That letter I was talking about that had those complaints, that was sent over to the U.S. attorney last year . . .
CHIEF: Yeah, it's probably the same ones because of, this is the election that took place, uh, the election was two years ago? Two and a half years ago? During the election they were trying to say anything and everything and, uh, that's the world we live in.
T: This was actually the year after that. This was '96.
CHIEF: Yeah.
T: We talkin' about the same letter now?
CHIEF: These guys are pouters, man.
Gallagher: That letter's been around a long time.
CHIEF: Yeah, it's been around a long time and finally because they were trying to figure out how to dismantle my position. He couldn't beat me in an election so he's out there doing things. You know, this . . .
Gallagher: They probably sent it over there then, but that was around during the election.
CHIEF: They, they sent it everywhere.
T: How did you find out about it?
CHIEF: Uh, because of. . . it's common knowledge.
Gallagher: Well, they sent one copy to the newspaper.
CHIEF: Yeah. In the newspaper. These, these are guys that what you're fannin' their ass on it, these are guys that, uh, you wouldn't even set beside 'em after you find out what I'm talking about. You might. I don't know . . .
T: I'll sit down with anybody, just about.
CHIEF: That's what I was afraid of. (Laughter) REPORTER: We read some court papers, uh, lengthy deposition in which, uh, a guy named Robb Tiller, a close personal friend of yours . . . (laughter)
CHIEF: Uh, I hate to admit it but he was. He was . . .
T: (inaudible)
CHIEF: You know the stupid thing about it, I said they were, they no go ahead.
T: They surrounded him with four lawyers and they put him under oath and said "We want to ask you some questions because you're involved in some lawsuits here. And we want to know about how you're involved in, uh, uh, gaming, uh, uh, contracts, uh, vis a vis Chief, Chief Billie." And, uh, one of the things he said was a number of people that wanted gaming contracts made gifts to you. And he said under a sworn oath that, uh, things that you received were a $75,000 gold inlaid book, $20,000 that paid for t-shirts, that said you know, "Reelect Jim Billie," uh, the use of a jet plane that Gary Fears had and some Arabian stallions that got sent down from the Ocala area. Said to be not in the best of shape. Uh., I mean . . .
Goldstein: He said they were worth glue . . .
T: What about, uh, what about it? Are those things, is that true?
CHIEF: Well, the funny part of it, some of it is true. Um, but I can't remember. How many, how many dollars book was that?
T: He said $75,000.
CHIEF: I don't know about that.
T: Maybe it's appreciated.
CHIEF: I don't know.
Gallagher: Did he say the book was actually given to the Chief or did Tiller just keep it and pawn it somewhere? (Laughter)
CHIEF: Do you remember anybody given us a, a book like that? But what was the book about?
Goldstein: I don't know.
CHIEF: What was the book about?
T: He doesn't say.
CHIEF: Yeah. That one, I remember some books or something that somebody handed us. Maybe he kept it. I don't know, 'cause I don't remember seein' that book at all and if it is, I have to see the book but I damn sure don't have a book that's worth that much. If it is, holy mackerel!
T: What about the jet and t-shirts?
CHIEF: The jet, uh, it's not a jet. It's a Turbo Commander that we use and the t-shirts, uh, I didn't know where they come from.
T: Well, now, they're saying that was a gift to you.
CHIEF: No, that's not a gift. I don't own it
T: Did you buy it?
CHIEF: I don't own a jet. It's his.
T: Is it loaned to you
CHIEF: Uh, we used it back and forth. He would use my Cessna 210 and I would use the Turbo because I'm gonna learn how to fly a twin engine. I think that's what we're talking about.
T: No, but what I mean about quid pro quo.
CHIEF: A what?
T: Quid pro quo?
T: What's he gettin' for the use of the jet?
CHIEF: Uh, nothin'. Just being on it.
T: Here, here's a guy who wants a gaming contract . . .
CHIEF: Yeah.
T: . . .he wants, he wants to open up Coconut Creek,
CHIEF: (inaudible)
T: He's got a jet for you to use.
CHIEF: I don't have a jet.
T: What's that sound like? Okay, a Turbo Commander.
CHIEF: Let's do it correct. We have a Turbo Commander. I use it, we still have it.
T: Okay.
CHIEF: And, uh, if that comes in the moment, we move around with it. Matter of fact, these people just came in that airplane.
T: I mean is this guy just so generous . . .
T: . . .that he let's you use that?
T: He doesn't want anything in return?
CHIEF: No. No. No.
T: I know I look stupid
CHIEF: Stop jackin' off and let me tell you a story.
T: I know I look stupid
CHIEF: You are stupid . . . (laughter)
CHIEF: Let me give you -- he is if you saw him. Let me tell you a story. Robb Tiller is a gentleman that -- I'm not quite sure how to describe him, but if you believe in him the way you sound like you do, uh, better go get a psychiatrist. One day he comes up to me, he says, "James, uh, I think there's a man here who wants to go into the gaming business," and, and you gotta understand, I got people comin' to me every day.
T: Uh-huh.
CHIEF: Not every day, but -- I guess every day. As a matter of fact, today I've got smokeless gunpowder man's gonna talk to us. Uh, I started to say not every day, but every day, somebody comes to me want to see about business. You'll get irritated with that. And you got Robb Tiller as a friend standing there, who's tryin' to act like your friend, but at the same time is using you as bait and you really don't know that he's using you as bait because he says he's your friend, but at the same time he's selling you by the ounce out there and you don't know it. I've asked him "What are you doing? What's all these things?" "Oooh I'm not gonna tell you." And I would look. So one day he comes up with a guy, uh, by the name of, uh, Gary Fears and he says he wants to get into a gaming contract. I said, "Yeah, right. You bring something out here, a Turbo Commander, lay it right there the next day and I'll believe you. Well, it's pretty impossible for average assholes for lay a Turbo Commander layin' out there. Time went along and I be goddam, there was a Turbo Commander layin' out there and I said "What the hell is this?" And I said "What the hell is this?" "We're gonna give it to you, Chief." I said "You can't give me a goddam gift like that." That's kinda like a jailbait ain't it? Uh, but I weren't gonna let it go so we've had it and, uh, we put insurance on it and use it and Gary's still out there with it one way or the other and he, and we've been trying to negotiate this thing out. Just because he laid it out there did not open the doors for him.
T: Mm-hmm.
CHIEF: So this guy's having a rough time even to get this -- how long we been tryin' to negotiate that?
Boyd: Several years now.
CHIEF: Several years now and guess who screwed him up? Robb Tiller.
T: See, I knew there was some guy dumber than me.
CHIEF: We, we didn't know -- I'm not sure about that. Don't, don't put that in. But anyway, let me continue on. And so we've had that. As a matter of fact, that's a Turbo Commander we just drove, that all these people come up in. Um, the horses that you talked about. I, had a stallion. It was called Rounder. It was a good-looking stallion that I used in parades and I was -- you got to understand this guy Robb, now -- so he always hangin' around, tryin' to figure out somethin' to please you or do something to do, you know, he's hangin' a carrot or whatever, but he's always around. He's tryin' to be a friend, but when you get him, if you classify him as a friend he hauls ass. I saw some reports on that, that he was heavily involved in our ceremony. Shit, he went through it and ran when he saw us, what we call bloodletting. He can't stand blood.
T: (inaudible)
CHIEF: You, you show him, you show him a needle and he'll faint. He's about the chickenshittest guy you ever saw. We eat turtles and garfish and he'll see us eatin' that and he'll puke and run out of the place. That's the kinda asshole he is, but he did bring, he did bring -- he said, "Uh, James there's, uh, I finally found you some horses," and I said -- there's a man that wants to give you some horses and I said "Why would anybody give me some horses?" He says, "Uh, uh, I don't know, he just wants to give you a horse." I mean literally, just like that. That ignorant sound. Horse, a matter of fact, he made me go through some thunderstorms, I'm not used to travelin' like that. We went over here to Gainesville, somewhere to look at some fine lookin' horses. "What do you think, James?" "Well, them's some fine lookin' horses." I should have never said that. I should have said "They look like shit," or somethin'. Next thing I know -- he's the one who said these are magnificent -- they're worth million of dollars. I'm goin' man, so why would they want to give me million dollar worth of horses? "Hmmmm. I don't know. " So one night or one evenin', maybe about nine o'clock here comes horses, those same horses. We had it in our stalls.. I can't ride that. That's an Arabian horse. This is a totally different walking horse. It's not a riding horse. It was a stud horse. We kept him for one year and, uh, just recently those horses we returned because we didn't know what the hell to do with 'em. We thought, uh, Robb Tiller. We'd say where's the paperwork on this thing? So once we found out exactly who to, uh, owned this horse, I said, "Well why did you give it to us?" "Well, Rob Tiller did this . . ." Same bullshit. He was shuffling things around and so we returned 'em. We don't have those anymore. But the Turbo we still have.
T: What about the t-shirts?
CHIEF: The t-shirts. Here's another one, Robb was on me again and later on I found out that Fears did say that he did Robb con him into buyin' a bunch of t-shirts, but I did have a bunch of t-shirts.
T: Yeah.
CHIEF: But I do not have any standards in my Tribe that says I can take donations or not take donations. So we buy t-shirts, sometimes for my own people, sometimes even buy 'em for people so there's no big thing. But those are, but -- what was that first one, that wasn't true.
Goldstein: The book.
CHIEF: Uh, the book. I'm not sure what he's talkin' about.
Goldstein: Okay.
CHIEF: 'Cause you have to understand Robb Tiller.
Gallagher: Did you know at the same time Tiller was asking me -- I remember that now -- he wanted to buy a billboard. Somebody came up and I said, "Well why would you buy a billboard, you know, for Jim Billie's reelection?" He's just taken upon himself and, uh I said why would you do that? The people who vote are on the reservations.
CHIEF: Why would you do that?
CHIEF: I don't win the elections that way. T shirts are great 'cause people can wear em and use em to wipe their ass or whatever . . .
T: With respect to Robb Tiller -- and then we'll leave this go -- have you authorized Robb Tiller to be your point man to seek out new gaming contracts?
CHIEF: No more than Donald Trump. No more than, what's his name, Bill Bennett. No more than, um, what's that other guy from, uh, Steve Winn. Robb just happens to be a person. He almost reminds me of a homeless person . . .
T: Who's Steve Winn?
Goldstein: He asked who Steve Winn was. He's one of those yiddish guys.
CHIEF: He's a cool yiddish, guy. You'll like 'em. (laughter)
CHIEF: Uh, but anyway. I would say Jewish but Yiddish is more appropriate because you probably don't even belong to a church. (laughter)
CHIEF: You probably don't even pay. But anyway this, this fella -- but anyway, gettin' off that. Uh, these people are all looking to get an edge on somebody. Here was a guy named Robb Tiller Who was, uh, what did we call him at our camp, Camp Robin? Frank: Yeah.
CHIEF: We called him a Camp Robin. He's always hawkin' about something. He wants to be something that he isn't. And I was probably one that enjoyed the hell out of his company and I still liked him, until one day he told me a lie and I caught him red-handed in that lie and all that time he was tryin' to sell me out and tellin' everybody that I was his favorite turd or whatever it was and he had to go because he can use me in my position -- but goddam, don't sell me off like that.
Goldstein: Can I ask you a question?
CHIEF: Go ahead.
Goldstein: What does Bryan, a young Yiddish guy, what does Bryant Cohen who lists himself in court documents as your assistant?
CHIEF: He was my assistant for a long period of time and, uh, I'm not quite sure why we separated our ways, but he was one of the best assistants that I ever had.
Goldstein: Okay.
CHIEF: He worked, he worked with me, uh, knew court documentation, knew how to get after things and, uh, he was a fine man.
Goldstein: I bring him up only because he told me he got into a fist fight with Tiller.
CHIEF: Slap bitin', they were going like this and bitin' each other . . .
T: Chief, with respect to gaming -- if we can stay on that just for a minute -- does the Tribe have, uh, we know the casinos you have in Florida on the reservation, we know about Coastal Gaming. Does the Tribe have other, uh, gambling investments?
CHIEF: Yeah. We, we are, well we have invested about, oh, $700-800,000 in one in St. Maarten's, the Lightning Casino with Butch in it. I mean Skip, Skip Wiseman. James Wiseman and, uh, that's still active and, uh, then we're goin' into another Internet type business that we're investigating out right now, but that's the only ones I know about right now.
T: Have you invested any money on the Internet thing yet?
CHIEF: Not quite yet. We're, we're looking into things. It's just paperwork.
Editor: I wanted to go back to the Coastal Gaming question for a second . . .
CHIEF: Hang on a minute. Who's Coastal Gaming?
Editor: That's the ships
CHIEF: Yeah, okay.
Editor: Chief we've been told the Tribe's investment is around $6 million in Coastal Gaming. Is that . . .
CHIEF: Is that right?
Boyd: Well we have $5 million . . .
Editor: That money's sittin' there, it's not lost or . . .
Boyd: We have equity. No, it's not lost. We will come out of this, I think, fine and have a growing business and turn a profit . . .
Editor: You understand they're in bank . . . Coastal is in bankruptcy . . . (everybody talking at once)
CHIEF: Yeah. We know exactly. These are modern times that we've seen it in.
Boyd: We haven't lost anything. (inaudible)
Editor: Okay.
T: Chief.
CHIEF: James.
T: James?
CHIEF: There you go. I never told you I was Chief.
T: (inaudible)
CHIEF: No, I'm James.
T: Uh.
CHIEF: That's King James.
T: King James. (laughter)
T: What about, uh, what's your view, vision of the future?
Editor: Wait a minute . . .do you not like to be called Chief, or . . .
CHIEF: I use that.
Goldstein: But I thought we were friends.
CHIEF: Okay. (laughter)
Editor: I wanted to make sure. I'm an editor you know and those little things can trip me up.
CHIEF: I use Chief as a, uh, uh, a lure when I'm sometimes performing and that's like this Chief James, because, when you just said James there's a James somebody, but you put Chief James or somethin' soI use it in that capacity
T: Uh, Chief, I meant no disrespect
CHIEF: (laugh) Go ahead.
Gallagher: Perry White didn't like Jimmy Olsen to call him Chief.
T: I think there was a Tribal resolution that sort of laid out, as I understand it, I can't remember the date, but it, it sort of laid out, as I understand it, the future of gaming in Florida, uh, as, uh, a plan, a blueprint, uh...
CHIEF: We did that?
T: That talked about, uh, uh, talked about the possibility of going to, uh, off track betting type things . . ..
CHIEF: Oh, you mean, full scale casinos.
T: Exactly.
CHIEF: Yeah. If it ever comes to pass, but there's a flip side of the story to that. Seminole Tribe has a dear friend, his name is Lawton Chiles. And I mean in that, in that...
T: (inaudible)
CHIEF: Let me finish my story.
T: Alright.
CHIEF: This man is a dear friend, but he got elected, not because he was gonna be letting Seminole Tribe. He had a constituence of -- how many people in this country? 14 million? And so I understand his politics and I understand why he does not give it to us. But this is why you do never see me at any time goin' up, standin' beside him, Lawton Chiles and James Billie negotiating. I honor this position -- it's gonna stay that way until he finishes and if he allows us fine. But I will pursue it, uh, like Butterworth told me years back, and I kinda get a tickle every time Butterworth says that "You're gonna go in the casinos, I know you will." And I say, "I don't know if I will or not," but I was very naive at the time, trying to figure out why he was saying that. 'Cause if I'd known that, maybe I shoulda went at it 20 years ago or however long I've been in and all due respect to what the hell people are sayin' and thing -- you don't see me over there beggin' for casinos. Now, if another governor comes in and he's not on the platform of what, uh, Mr. Chiles has his platform on, uh, I will ask him, but not until then. But if Chiles wants to turn around, fine, but, uh, I like, I like his friends, uh, I mean I like his sons and I know them all and, and if anybody that he woulda given it to, he woulda given it to us. So I don't have any good answers, other than I respect it his position and that's about it.
T: Have you talked to Jeb Bush about this?
CHIEF: Not yet. Not yet.
T: But, If you have the opportunity you would . . .
CHIEF: Oh, yeah.
T: . . . certainly take it as far as full casino gambling?
CHIEF: Oh, yeah. I would go to, uh, I would go to all the new, all the new people that's gonna run for governor, I will throw my two cents there and ask.
T: Yeah.
CHIEF: It doesn't harm to ask. If he denies me, I'm gonna go on pursuing it.
T: Mm-hmm.
CHIEF: But, but we do have a situation that, uh, Department of Interior needs to get off their butts and give some answers, but then at the same time you know damn well who runs the Department of Interior. It's total politics and we're not quite that powerful politics, so if, uh, somehow, uh, this lawsuit makes him say yes or no, um, I'm not sure where we'll be, but if we get it, we'll go into it.
T: Do you know what, do you have any projections on what full scale casino gambling might do for, uh, the Tribe economics?
CHIEF: I don't know in the area, 'cause we're not sure where they're gonna go yet. It, it may well exceed $500 million or less. That's a good high figure.
T: Right.
CHIEF: So then, because, you know...
T: Net to you
CHIEF: We would own it. There would be no partnerships.
T: Right.
CHIEF: We will totally own it and we might have some high paid employees in that thing and none goin' the be above of everybody else, but it'll be, uh, totally owned, totally owned by Seminole Tribe. Uh, there's -- at this particular time and age -- we can probably go to a bank somewhere and raise our own money now. Those days are gone. The only person that slipped in at the bottom of that thing was, uh, uh, this person that you're talkin' about Gary Fears or whatever company he's representing because I've heard of GMI.
CHIEF: Yeah, GMI. He was, uh, that was -- my goodness, he's been at it for five fucking years, a long time.
T: Uh-huh.
CHIEF: And I don't know what the stumbling blocks have been, but he's been having a lot problems, but at the same day he made a commitment, that's why we use, hang in to use the plane.
T: Uh-huh. Uh, I digress a little bit on a couple of things. Uh, the dividend that comes to Tribal members . . .
CHIEF: Yeah.
T: We understand that, uh, uh, federal law requires that dividends that go to children must be set up in a trust situation, so that the parents can't, uh . . .
CHIEF: I didn't know that.
T: . . . misuse those funds.
CHIEF: We, we are a sovereign nation with our own laws and I know that if the Tribe somehow were astute enough to do that, but when we went into our politics, now correct me if I'm wrong, now, Joel. Uh, I don't know of any laws that dictates to us as the Seminole Tribe . . .
T: It's not required as far as you know?
Boyd: We are required to submit a plan of distribution, which we do and it is approved by the Bureau (inaudible)
T: Tell us about Max Osceola pullin' $80 grand down at the airplane factory.
CHIEF: We, we had a president of, uh, what's his name? Milt Kimble. Milt Kimble came at us with an idea about this airplane and not that I'm an airplane enthusiast, I fly and I enjoy the hell out of gettin' it, but those days of enthusiast days is gone, so, uh, when he came along, he, uh, started this thing but things went awry with that man, so we terminated his position and we needed a president and so we put him in and Milt Kimble was, I think, receiving, as the president, about $80,000, was it? $80,000 and I'm one of the board members of it and if he was making $80,000 the president could get a hold of that and I know it, it sounds a little corny on that thing because he doesn't know a damn thing about airplanes, but Max does know marketing, all those type of things. So we, he stays probably abreast on that . . .
T: It does sound a little corny.
CHIEF: But, uh, you know...
T: He doesn't have an office there . . .
CHIEF: But you gotta -- no, we don't have to have an office there. We have a secondary person by the name of Dewitt Beckett. What's his first name? Dewitt Beckett. It may, it may sound corny, but you gotta understand I wasn't gettin' this $130 million comin' in because I was taking your logic neither, so.
T: That's true.
Gallagher: This man (Testerman) was a banker, or in the banking business and suddenly went into journalism. I didn't know that there could be a possible connection there. The same thing. I would say.
Goldstein: He's still not making $80,000
Gallagher: Ahhh I don't know about that.
CHIEF: But Max did that and I know some Tribal member was fired at him. But that is Max's problem, not mine.
T: Uh, let me talk to you about another manager you got on your farms.
CHIEF: Okay.
Goldstein: Hey Jeff, let me interrupt you for a second, we need to get a tape for this but it's in the car. Can you give Mike the car keys
CHIEF: You don't need that anyhow.
Editor: We got this tape runnin?
Goldstein: We got more tape here than, uh, a recording studio.
T: You know, we just want to get it right. (Laughter)
CHIEF: You better have it right. I know where you live. (Laughter)
T: Where did you fly into?
CHIEF: Albert Whited. I flew the helicopter in and these guys had to . . .
Goldstein: You can fly a helicopter?
CHIEF: Oh fuck yes. I can jack off with both hands.
CHIEF: What is it. Candy?
T: If I got one I'll give it to you.
CHIEF: Don't be a cheapskate, now, goddammit . . .
T: But I don't. CHIEF Look at this, look at this! We come here to satisfy the curiosity and they don't even have any fucking candy
Editor: (inaudible)
CHIEF: Well, I try to be truthful so everybody can answer it so you can have your damn story straight.
Editor: Doubling the dividends is gonna cost you what, an extra $30 million?
CHIEF: What's that?
Editor: Doubling the dividends is gonna . . .
Boyd: Yeah. From about uh $28 million, 28 and a half million up to 57 million.
Editor: How are ya'll -- 'cause it looked like some of the gambling money is going to support these businesses -- so what do you have (inaudible) (Several people talking at once)
Boyd: We will be able to make it happen. We have a budget -- and we always do -- and we always come out with a small surplus every year.
Editor: One budget we saw showed a $5 million deficit, or a $4.8 -- I think it was -- million dollar deficit last year.
Boyd: That was probably a proposed budget which we make cuts and make it balance (inaudible) . . .
CHIEF: We almost like -- I play with almost zero based budgeting. I'm not going to go in debt.
Editor: You're not going to go in debt.
CHIEF: Yeah. I'm not gonna go in debt. Can't do it because our money, our money sometimes is almost like a glass house: you don't know when it's gonna drop so you better be ready to tighten up your belt, because there's gonna be no money tomorrow and that's where some of these assets that's in hardcore -- like you're talkin' about jets -- can be sold and cover some things.
Editor: If the feds were successful in getting rid of the gaming machines . . .
CHIEF: We would not be hurt -- we'll be hurting, yeah.
Editor: Some of those jobs might go away.
CHIEF: Oh, a bunch of 'em. You got a bunch of white folks gonna lose their jobs. But we're not gonna come crying to St. Pete about it. That's tough shit. That's United States' problem. We were hiring a bunch of em. Cause we hire, Christ, more than 90 per cent non-Indians to work with us. They enjoy it.
T: But you take 30 million and put it toward a new budget line item, you got to cut $30 million somewhere else.
Boyd: And we did.
T: What did you do? What did you cut
Boyd: Cut a lot of Tribal member services, we cut in those areas, the subsistence . . .
CHIEF: What is he talking about? Which one you talking about?
Gallagher: For example, the newspaper budget was cut 40 per cent. We used to come out twice a month, now we only come out once a month.
CHIEF: Oh, oh. That did not, you gotta understand, that did not, that was an increase in monies added to what we had. So, what we had budgeted, the main programs, the main programs are already budgeted, now there's the luxury type monies that we didn't have this extra, uh . . . (tape ends)

(Tape ends)

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