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Holloway, Hudson Eugene
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Andrew (Andy) Huse.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (111 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (digital, PDF file)
Florida food families oral history project
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Interview conducted June 7, 2002.
Gene Holloway, famous restaurateur, discusses his career as owner of the Sea Wolf and other restaurants in Florida, and various personal anecdotes. He reminisces about some of the challenges of running the Sea Wolf in Tampa, as well as his highly publicized imprisonment for insurance policy fraud. He also discusses his experiences climbing Mt. Erebus in Antarctica, his personal difficulties (including his divorce), and his recent ventures in treasure hunting off the coast of Florida.
Holloway, Hudson Eugene
Sea Wolf (Restaurant)
Family-owned business enterprises
Huse, Andrew T.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
y USF ONLINE ACCESS
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! " Tampa Food Fam ilies Oral History Project Oral History Program Florida Studies Center University of South Florida, Tampa Library D igital Object Identifier : DOI T30 00014 Interviewee: Hudson Eugene (Gene) Holloway (HH) Interview by: Andrew (Andy) Huse (AH) Inte rview date: June 7, 2002 Interview location: Beef O'Brady's Restaurant, Dale Mabry Boulevard Tampa, FL Transcribed by: Arlen Bensen Transcription date: September 9, 2008 Audit Edit by: Maria Kreiser Audit Edit date: November 3, 2008 Final Edit by: Mary Beth Isaacson Final Edit date: December 19, 2008 [Transcriber's Note: Ellipses indicate that a word or section has been removed at the request of the interviewee. Footnotes include elaboration/clarification provided by the Inte rviewee. Interview begins in mid sentence ] Andrew Huse: ugly thing, and i t was a major reason why they moved on, you know, to Burger King. There's no threat of unions there. Hudson (Gene) Holloway: Well, I got through that. I don't know, i t probably cost me one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, but I broke their back. I ( inaudible) for all of them that were sympathizers and part of the organ izers and I fired every one of em. AH: So did you have, did you have problems with people stealing from the restaurant? Embezzlement? Things like that? HH: I had one. A guy named F uzzi He was my comptroller. And he was a Lebanese guy. People had warned me about F uzzi but F uzzi was pretty knowledgeable and warned me that that there was that F uzzi was dish onest. A lot of times you're better off having someone work for you that you know is dishonest so you can halfway keep an eye on 'em than someone that you really trust and then find out that you were wrong. But F uzzi was my comptroller. He was in an ar ea that he c ould do me harm, and I would have these daily reports, all cash payout, would have to go across my desk. And I would have to okay 'em. And, so, I and sometimes they would stack up before I would go through 'em and so I come up missing about se venteen reports. So I went to F uzzi and said "F uzzi, you know, I'm missing seventeen cash reports. He said, "I don' t know, Gene, where they are." I says, "All those things is supposed to end up on my desk." And I said, you know
# " But anyway later in the day I had this camera that went around to different sections and here's this big dumpster that I have in the back. So I notice F uzzi peering in to the dumpster and he's got this busboy, he's cleaning out his office and I didn't think anythi ng about it. So the cameras ma de all their stops and there's F uzzi st ill peering into the dumpster. So a littl e later in the day I say, "Hey F uzzi, we havin' a problem with our dumpster?" "O h no, Gene, no, no problem." "Okay ." So that night, I'm goin g to go into F uzzi's office. So I've got a detective that worked for me who gives polygraph tests. AH: Mm h m. HH: So Charlie Miranda was there and I said So F uzzi had his office locked tight. Couldn't get into it. So we're takin' out a window so that we can get into it and as we was takin' out the window I remembered earlier in the day. I said, "Guys, we're too late. That sucker's already done away with all the evidence. So I went out to the dumpster. There was a busboy around and I says, "I'll pay ya; I need for you to get up in that dumpster ." A nd luckily they hadn't dumped the dumpster A H: Mm hm HH: It was one of these grea t big long 'uns that compacted. And, anyway, so, they, he started diggin' through and afte r he'd been in there for about ten m inutes I says, "Well, come on. Let's get out." He got out and I thought for a minute and thought, "Just get back up in there for another minute or two." He got back up in there and says, "Is this what you're lookin' for ?" It was a brown envelope. With the receipts in it for the day. AH: Mm h m. HH: So we went through 'em and found all seventeen of em. And, so, I took 'em into my office and I laid 'em out on the some of 'em out on the flo or. And (inaudible) was there. An d right away I found where F uzzi had stolen from me. And, so I called Fuzzi on the phone, and here he comes. Lickety split. He was there in just minutes. "What's up? What's up? ( inaudible ) I says, "Don't talk to me. Talk to that guy behind you [my detective]. So, to make a long story short, the insurance company paid me thirty five thousand. He was bonded. And, how much more he got from me than that I don't know but I was able to account for thirty five thousand. AH: U m h m. So when did the di fficulties really start? You opened a Lakeland Sea Wolf [Restaurant] in s eventy s even  was it? HH: No, it was s eventy six  I think. AH: Seventy six.
$ " HH: Wait a minute. Seventy g uess I started building it in seventy five  AH: Okay. And you ended up selling it in, what, 1980, r ight? HH: 1979. AH: Okay. The, and right about tha t time or right after that you went for your short run for the presidency [of the United States]. So looking back on it was it serious? HH; Well, I was member of the Rough R iders. And, uh, anyway, I was really ticked off with with what was happening to our economy there and the economy tha t was affecting my restaurant. You know, I dropped a couple million dollars in sales because of the gas crunch and I was ticked off with what was going on over overseas and, um, so I said, "Someone oughta do something about this." Someone said, "Well, Holloway why don't you do something?" But anyway, it was more of a publicity thing. Like I told you, I always try to kee p the ball bouncing. And it was one of the bouncing balls that I had. I had Tony Saponi that work ed for me. I told Tony, I says, "You know, Tony, why don't you see about renting Madison Squ are Garden? (phone ringing) What I was hoping to do was to get eno ugh money coming in that that it'd make the whole thing worthwhile. (electronic phone dialing) AH: Yeah. HH: And, uh, I said So my plans there with Madison Square Garden were to if you take a big area like that it kind of has a sound of its own. (female voic e in background conversation). When it's empty. So the camera is there and it starts to pick up that sound, trying to pick up that sound, that empty sound. And, um, uh, way up there in um in the (female voice continues in background) bleachers is, let me see ho w that thing went, um, uh, no. We're in the center (sound of door closing) of Madison Square Garden, you know, I took the stand in with a combination of Billy Graham and Adol f Hitler, you know, I gave them one of those kind of speeches, and, at the end of the speech there's this one applaud going on that e choes through the whole arena. And you can hear it and there's this one guy sitting way up there in the bleachers and the camera keys in a nd it's Uncle Sam. And, at, and as the camera closer he stands up and says "Gene Holloway, we need you." And, uh, that was (laughs) one of my promotions for anyway. AH: S o why sell off the Lakeland restaurant? HH: I just did not want be going back and for th between Tampa and Lakeland. I'm g etting very tired, very weary. I'm stagnated. I'm stagnated. I don't like my life. Um, I'm a prisoner. You know, I've been a p risoner there for too long a period of ti me. And, so, uh, anyway, I sol d off the Lakeland restaurant. The Lakeland restaurant was really a nice I had very little debt service there, and r eally a nice, nice restaurant. But, anyway, I sold it.
% " AH: Yeah. So. So, once you sell off the Lakeland restaurant then all your chips are on the Tampa restaurant. HH: Yeah. AH: It's HH: And what I hoped to do building the hotel. AH: Uh huh wit h the Condor complex. So by this time your l ife's getting a little wilder. And there's stories about cougars eating peacocks in the, in the (sound of telephone ringing) garden. Did that ever happen? H H: No. It never happened. I had, uh, my two (sound of telepho ne ringing), or, my one tiger. And my brother in law he was a pothead, but he was there and (sound of telephone ringing female voice in conversing in backgro und) it was on a Friday night. And I told him. I said, "Let the cat go." It was a big enclosed area and here's the cat goes and, an d right away he sees a pigeon. And he grabs the pigeon and eats it. And AH: Okay. HH: And the customers (Holloway makes sound of customers in alar m). AH: (lau ghs) HH: And this pig this pigeon took off and I guarantee you that pigeon was a lot higher than this ceiling right here and that cat just leaped in the air and caught that one'n come down [and ate the pigeon] But that, that was the deal there. AH: Okay. Um, so you obviously yo ur, your marriage is suffering, there's HH: Yeah. AH: You have so much ti me invested in the restaurant. And then, in the meantime you just, the way your life is going, like you said, your life is stagnating. And, so, tel l m e about the the airpor t [North Tampa Airport] there. Um, there was an awf ul lot of the Walker was the name Robert Walker? HH: Yeah.
& " AH: And, he ended up getting getting killed. And getting ( inaudible ) and everything. And 1 And, uh, it seemed like there was an awful lot of just shady stuff flying around at this time, you know HH: Well, one thing, I was a skydiver and at one time I used to jump out at Zephyrhills and, the, uh, there were some drug smugglers out there. An d, uh, the n they become friends of mine. Not that I was a drug smuggler. AH: Sure. HH: I never was a drug smuggler. But, um, even though the Feds wanted to, um, connect me with drug smuggling, I was never a drug smuggler. AH: Sure. Well then HH: I co uld, when ever I was going through my trials and tribulations they kept br inging it up to the judge. You know, this and that. So I went and had a polygraph test made and the polygraph stated that N o I have never have been involved in drugs and, and whate ver and so I wanted them to put it into m y records and they said, No. So (clears his throat) I got on the telephone I knew I was being monitored over the telephone. I said, "Well I was talking to my pilot and I said, you know, "If they don't accept that within a couple of days I'm going to have about five hundred leaflets made of that and I want you to drop it over th e courthouse in Tampa for me." Well, the next day they took it in. (both laugh). AH: That's great. Yeah, that's a good one. Um, so, but you have to admit, if you were an investigator and you've got, on one hand, in the Cayman Islands, you've got, what is it, Searl ? HH: Yeah. Uh huh. AH: Jeff Searl And then, in Land O' Lakes, you've got James Thrasher. HH: Yeah. AH: And these tw o had a history, you know, before al l this and everything. And, you have to admit it looked a little funny. HH: That's right. That's right. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""" "'()*+,-*.**"/01+-2-*34"5'"6-6(7)"8(9.":9;*+)"<108*+"6=+-(>")?1)")-@*A"'"9(0B"+*16"1;9=)"?-@"-(")?*" (*.3C1C*+AD
E " AH: But they were, they were avid skydivers and that's how you met in the first place, right? HH: Well, Jeff was Jeff whenever Debbie and I got married in Lakeland, Jeff was there and there was three of us. There was about twenty jumpers that went in ov er my home there in Lakeland. Lake Hollingsworth. And, then the three of us jumped out Jim Hooper, Jeff and myself Jim was a marryin' man so he married us. And, uh AH: So then when did the whole idea of the the escapade come along? I mean, obviously you felt embattled, between the re staurant, the wife, the debts. Everything seemed to be closing in at once, right? HH: I had this one guy Robert Dourney that wanted to buy the Sea W olf. And he just cou ldn't seem to put it together. And, well, I'm getting ready to go, and the summer summer's going to be slow. I'm stretched out. I'm physically weak an d so I called Dourney Now this is after Debra and I' d separated a time or two an d, uh, I called Dourney and, anyway, Dourney I told Dourney, I said asked him, "Well, how much money do you have?" and he said, "Well, I got this." I said, "Well, this week I want you to be in the Sea W olf." (phone ringing nearby) So I took the money that he had, and took the mortgage on it and, um that's how I got 2 there I, uh (clears his throat), you wanna turn that off for a second? AH: Sure. Yeah. Let me stop p aus e in recording ( women's voices in background) A H: So, uh, when he, you know So the decision is made to, uh, to get outta Dodge, at least for a little while. HH: Yeah. Um hm. AH: And, uh, but, so later you said that you weren't sure you really did anything illegal. That, you know, you, you disappeared and, you know, like, you really hadn't thought it through, you know and HH: Yeah. AH: And that, while you were up in, you know, Niagara and New York and Canada, you know, you weren't you obviou sly weren't too concerned about keeping a low profile or anything. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""" # "59=)"92"+=((-(>")?*"F*1"<902AD
G " HH: Yeah. That's right. AH: So, so looking back how do you um, how do you explain that? I mean, you weren't you weren't running from the police. HH: No. No. I was really enjoying mysel f. You know, here I'd been a prisoner to this restaurant for all these years and, and I've I got some freedom and I'm enjoying it. AH: And you met a new lady friend? HH: Yeah. AH: In Canada. HH: Yeah. AH: So, um, so you're still married? HH: No. No. Susan was with me throu gh the whole time I was in the f ederal pen [penitentiary], and, uh, you know, after I got out I opened a place or two here in the Tampa area and I ended up going to Homosassa and Susan didn't want to go to Homosassa. So and sh e wa nted some children and but Susan was a great lady. AH: Yeah. So, you didn't want any more children at that point? HH: No. AH: You had, you had children with your first wife? HH: Yeah. AH: Um, let me see here. So, so, I am interested in, you know, you go to trial and everything. And that's something I really I don't want to get into courtroom drama i n my ( inaudible ). But HH: I don't mind ta lking about any of that, but AH: Yeah. The, the, of course the you were acquitted for the arson charges and that kind of thing. HH: Yeah. Well, turn that off and I'll tell you an interesting story. pause in recording AH: get along very well and then after the case you were pretty happy?
H " HH: He come by my restaurant and, uh, later on and, you know, walked in and I recognized him, "Hey, Gary." And, so, I said, "Have you had dinner?" He said, "No." I said, "Be my treat." So I set him down, gave him a prime rib dinner and he sat there and he said, "Aren't you angry?" I said you know, I wasn't going to let th o se people get the best of me. I said, "No, Betz, why would I be angry?" ( inaudible ) "But this, and that, and I know that I would really be angry." And I said "No. No. I'm not angry. In fact it really did me good. I got away and you guys gave me a gym to work in and a place to run and I brought my health up and I said, "No, I'm not angry." But he wanted to, wanted to hear something bad from it. AH: I see. So this was afterwards, after when you opened a new Sea W olf? HH: Yeah. AH: Yeah. Okay. L et's ta lk about that briefly. You know, you your time in pris on. Obviously you cleaned up. You know, you're you cleared your head and got healthy. And then the, and then the Tampa Sea W olf and the not the H omosassa Homosassa just did not work out. None of em w orked out. HH: Well, what it was was that I was really undercapitalized and, uh, the one I had over in Palma Ceia [Tampa neighborhood] I had, I think, six investors. And, and that location, by the way, is the first location that the Outback Steakhouse had AH: Okay. HH: I was doing more business than what they were doing. And, uh, you know, I coulda carried it was a small restaurant and I coulda carried it on but there was dissension between the stockholders and, uh, myself, and, uh, so I closed the p lace up and moved over on Busch Boulevard. A nd I'd be close over at the Busch Gardens [Amusement Park] And there, aga in, I run into a situation with the owner of the property, John Greco. And, uh, him and I had a coupla knock down drag outs and this place up in Homosassa was offered to me and I up and moved all my stuff out of, out of his location and moved it up to Homosassa. AH: With Joe Re dner as a new investor, right? HH: Yeah. Joe was an investor. AH: Um h m. And, so, between HH: But all this time, y ou know, I'm undercapitalized. What happens is that a strong wind comes over comes round and gives you a blow, you're going to be blowed ove r if
I " you don't have the funds. And I just didn't have the funds. When I got out of prison I was given a brown paper bag and that was basically what I owned. AH: Yeah. And, well, it seems a little strange, too, you got out prison just in time to see a ll those anti ques auctioned off afterwards. You mentioned you were sitting there and felt like a lightweight with a hundred dollar bill in your pocket and that's all you had. And here are all these people in these the kind of people, that, um, that, that m ade you popular for what you did. You know, just dull developers, people like that who, you know, get their kicks by buying these things and stuff, but so the let's, let's go after Homosassa then. O bviously that didn't work out. It just seems like Citrus C ounty was just not very kind to you. HH: Well, I had a heckuva heckuva restaurant up there. And, uh, no t being good to me is that I, uh, I knew that there was a lotta rednecks that area w here I opened that place. And, I knew that I was going a big part o f that restaurant there was going to be the lounge and the restaurant was going to be the incidental part this business. And, uh So I hired I talked to my bar manager and, about a bouncer, and he said, "Well, I know this guy Mike Mike Joyner ." And, so, anyway, I hired Mike, and I didn't know it but he was an undercover agent for the Sheriff's department. He come in from Texas and that's what he did. (woman's voice talking in background) He would go into different places and he was a "good ole boy and, you know, try to get in on the inside of everything and whatever and he was there to, um, to put his finger on t he drug business in Homosassa. And, so, it went on there for a while. I had ups and down but I had a good business. I made money. And, um, but there towards the end Mike come to me and you know, I would have that place filled. (women's voices talking and laughing in bac kground) I mean it was scary. I'd have a thousand people in there. And, you know, if a fight all those people up ther e wan ted to do was drink and fight. And, uh, I just knew that if a fight broke out I'd be in trouble and, so I had, probably, on a busy night, seven or eight bouncers and my barbacks were trained to be bouncers. I even told the band, I said, "Look, thing s get out of hand, y'all drop those guitars, get down here, and help us control it." And, but anyway, I had brought in people like The Outlaws, Molly Hat chet, and a lot of big groups. But anyway, so Mike comes to me there one day and says, "Boss, you kno w, my past is catching up with me a nd I'm going to have to leave. I just want you to know that if anybody ever asks me about y ou, you run a real good ship." And, he finally said, "You know, I'm going to stop and say that I've been acting as a bouncer in l ots of places and you run the best that I have ever seen. I said, well AH: Now who was sayin' this again? HH: This is the undercover agent that I have no idea that he's a undercover agent. And so I said, "Well, Mike, those sure are nice words I sure d o appreciate t hat." So, anyway, he left, and probably a week after, two weeks after he left, there was indictments up t here,
!J " twenty something people. One of the people, my music man there in charge of bringing in groups and whatever, was arrested. And, uh, but they tried to set me up up there severa l times but I wouldn't buy it. I preached no drugs in my restaur ant, checked the parking lots. No drugs in the parking lots. You find something, report 'em to the cops and I had a st rong hand. They still trie d to set me up. And uh (laughs), numerous times. And, uh, so, what happened is that after that hit the newspaper, you know, here's a real busy place, and you could actually fire a cannon through the place and not hit anybody. E verybody was pissed off at m e. They thought that I'd broug ht all this down on Homosassa. And so, it ended up hurting my business. And that was it. I had enough of it after that. AH: Yeah. You just after that, you just wanted to wash your hands of the whole thing. So, then, this wa s in what? Ninety three  ? HH: No this was back in about eighty eight, or '89 AH: Nineteen eighty nine  ? HH: Eighty eight and '89. AH: Okay. So, um, so then a couple years go b y before you get into the treasure hunting? HH: Yeah. AH: So, what what're you doing in that t hose two years you're kind of regrouping? HH: Regrouping. I I was looking at different things and just regrouping. AH: Yeah. So HH: I lived in Homosassa for a while and then moved back to the Tampa area. AH: Um hm. S o then, and then, what, a friend of yours called you up and wanted your help on a site that they already had? HH: Yeah. AH: Yeah. Was it one or several or HH: It was, they had seen some brass cannon, you know, while they were diving, and, uh, they fel t that it was a treasure site. And that got me started. I should've brought some pictures in of mine, but I've been at that for ten years this September, and that business right there there's a lotta money out there in the Gulf [ of Mexico] in those shipwre cks. I don't mean millions of dollars b ut I mean billions of dollars. And (phone ringing) I've got a claim on some sites out there. And it's like these women that was trying to climb
!! " Mt. Everest and they were, what, 253 feet from the top (phone ringing) a nd had to turn back? They jus t couldn't make that 253 feet? Well, 230 feet below the surface I've got some real serious wrecks and I'm just not able to get down it's very expensive to get down there a nd do it. I just can't do it. And I had some bad exper ience in the past with partners and I'd just rather not have partners and I guess that, at some point in my life, if I see that things are slipping away I might try to put some people together to help me out there. But I've looked on land for for gold an d just feel that, um, the other tr easure hunters clear out land. Shallow waters the Spanish was real good at recovering their treasures so, you know, the Atocha [ Nuestra Se ora de Atocha ], Mel Fisher, that was, that was a circumstances there where the Span ish knew right where the wreck was and they tried to break into a strong roo m. As they started to recover and the storm or they didn't have the tools and they went back to Havana to get the tools and on the way back a hurricane hit. Covered everything with sand. So they weren't able to recover that. He was in shallow water there For that wreck. But there's not many wrecks in shallow water. Least not in this pa rt of the world. I don't think. Cause I' ve covered the coast and, uh so the shallow water diving with thirty, forty, fifty, sixty feet diving, they could dive a ( cough) hundred feet. And, um, the good stuff is in hundred feet plus out there. AH: Yeah. HH: I've got underwater cameras and, so I can drop down and drop cameras and I've got I've got some good sites. And, hopefully, one day I'll be able to work 'em. The last couple years, year and a half, I've, I like I was going to go out, back out, on the water this summer. ( sighs) But it's a big e xpense. It's a big expense. And, uh, not only that, you hav e to put up with other people. And I got interested in looking for meteorites, about a year and a half ago, and th ere's big bucks in meteorites. I mean, you're looking, if you find the right meteorite, two thousand dollars a gram, twenty six hundred dollars a gram. They all sell by the gram. And, uh, the y're around. All you gotta do is is be smart e nough to learn how to find 'em. So, the technology I've used in finding my wrecks out there, I' m putting it to use trying to find meteorites. One of the things that I found out is the frequencies with stuff coming in from outer space is different from the frequencies here on on earth. We have iron at one frequency earth iron but if you have iron fro m outer space y ou have a different frequency. So, I've had my my ups and downs. I've found a few. In fact, when we go back out I 'll show you one that I found. But anyway, that's where I am. AH: Yeah. Yeah. Great. Well, it's a I fee l like we've come fu ll circle. At the beginning we were in Antarctica and you were gonna go it alone the rest of the way and whether, you know, whether they said so or not and here you are doing it today.
!# " HH: Here I am. Yeah. I brought this one portfolio. I don't know if you want to look through it (sound of paper s ) p ause in recording (sou nd of papers ) AH: The best of times and the worst of times. When was when was the best? I mean, when was Gene Holloway just totally you felt the best about the way ev erything was going and HH: Um. AH: Excluding the present day, of course. HH: Okay. Excluding the present day? I would say that whenever I saw all the happy customers and all the masses of people that would eat in my restaurant, then, and to look back and look at the creation at my creation, was a very happy moment. AH: Yeah. No one else could have could have made the Sea W olf. HH; Yeah, I don't know if anyone else could have but I just haven't met 'em. AH: Yeah. So, then, what was the HH: Th e worst moment? AH: T he worst, the lowest. HH: The worst moment was probably whenever I'm in Lexington, Kentucky in prison. And I'm laying in bed, it's early in the morning shortly after I arrived and I'm saying, Okay I'm going to wake up in just a mi nutes and it's all a dream. And I wake up in the morning and there's a black guy laying over t here in the room there's some more and that was a pretty bad moment. AH: Yeah. Yeah. I could see that. So, what about if you could change anything? If you could go back and, you know, how far back would you go? HH: If I could change anything it would probably be that I would build small places, maybe even open a McDonald's I would build small places and go on the stock market with 'em like some of these lo cal people have done. If I had to do it all over aga in. If I had to do it all over again as far as the f ederal g overnment, I would've never plea bargained w ith 'em on the second go round. I'd have gone to court, [and won] like I did the first time. Tha t was a mistake. (women speaking in background)
!$ " AH: Yeah. H m. So, why, why did you plea bargain? Did you feel a lot of pressure? HH: ( exhales ) Well, I was tired. Drinking too much, under a lot of pressure, just, you know, you know, here I got another in dictment that' s been put against me and, um, so I told my attorney I said, "How about checking about plea bargaining. I just I'm tired." And so he come s (sound of recording fading out) (recor d ing fading back in) AH: With the book, um HH: Jack London an d The Sea W olf ? AH: Yeah. I just finished it. HH: Yeah. Well, you know whenever I was looking for a good name for the restaurants that I built I liked the novel Jack London The Sea W olf and I used a lot of the different names in it. Wolf Larsen. Wolf La rsen's lounge. The Ghost was on e of my drinks. There was Jack London Anyway, uh, I, I liked the book and thought that, that it had a lot of strength and I wanted to add that strength to my restaurant. AH: So when did you first read it? HH: When did I first read it? Probably back, o h, whenever I was a young man. Probably wh enever I was in the Antarctic. Yeah. I read it whenever I was in the Antarctic in about 1956. AH: Yeah. So, was there something that you could relate to there in either one of the characters? Both of them serve such, uh, you know, you've got Van Weyden who is kind of cast adrift in a moral sea, I mean, kind of, everything he knew, he's the land an d security is all left behind. And then you've got on the other hand this kind of co ol, kind of beyond good and evil type of character in Wolf Larsen. HH: Um h m. Right. I, uh, (clears throat) I'm going to tell you a little story a bout my trip to the Antarctic. Whenever I was a young man, that was a, a first of all, I was, I was raised ve ry poor in a children's home and, you know, not around real intelligent people. You know, I notice that children and whatever that are raised around intelligent people that, you know, they pick up on a lot of things at an early age tha t I wasn't able to p ick up on. That I picked up on l ater in life through learning. And, um, but, the trip to the Antarctic and, where I joined the Navy, I, one of the first things that I had the opportunity to do was to voluntee r for a trip to the Antarctic. In fact I went twice. And the first time I was in charge of the t wo dog teams and I liked that. I'm an animal nut. I like animals. And, anyway, the second trip I was up on the fo'c's'le [forecastle] and talking to an Englishman by the name of Sir Raymond Priestly that wa s on our vessel going down to be an ob server for the United Kingdom.
!% " And so I was talking about Mount Erebus [the southernmost active volcano on E arth] which was a large, the highest mountain of at th at time in the Antarctic and s o he said that Shac kleton's group had climbed it fifty years earlier and that Edmund Hillary and a group of New Zealanders were going to scale it a gain in his honor in fifty years. Well, whenever I got back down below after talking with, with the gentleman, um, the captain sent a messenger down for me a nd, you know, "Seaman Holloway! Seaman Holloway!" I wondered W hat in the world would the captain want to see me about? So I went up to see the captain and he said, "Do you mind if I ask you what you were talking to Sir Raymond Priestly about?" and (background voices) "T alking to the two of em about climbing Mt. Erebus." And, um ( background voice is near interviewee) that, really, it had been climbed 50 years ago and some New Zealanders and Sir Raymond Priestly had plan ned on climbing it the next weeks. And he says, "Well, do you mind if I go with you?" You know, I'm a low ly seaman. Here's the captain of my vessel saying, "Well, do you mind if I go with you?" I said, "No, Sir. Please do." And this is a man that was in h is early fifties and he was s triking for admiral and he wanted to kind of make a name for himself. (woman's voice nearby in background) And, so, he put together the program. (audible exhale) And, um, the program he got a scientist from Cal Tech Universit y [California Institute of Technology], a newspaper reporter Charlie Mayer from the Associated Press, and I think Charlie Mayer's still floating around And myself and himself. And, so he wanted to have a scientific reason for climbing the mountain and, t hat, and he also wanted some publicity. So, anyway, we, we started out at sea level and I was a strong, young, dumb guy. ( AH laughs) And, um, we started out at sea level and pretty soon, you know, those guys are wearing o ut and I'm still going strong. I wanna carry their packs and my packs and everything else. And we were pulling two sleds and so, at about six thousand feet [altitude] they, we were camped and so the captain I heard the captain and the newspaper reporter were in one tent and myself and Hugh Anderson was in the other tent s o I heard the captain talking. So, it's "Well, I guess we're going to have to turn back. It's just too much on us and this and that." (woman laughing in background) And I'm thinkin g to myself, I'll be damned. You kno w, I come here to climb this mountain and I'm going to climb this mountain, even if I've got to slide out of this tent with my pack and go up that mountain, I'm going to climb that mountain, I'm going to climb that mountain. I guess that one reason why I wanted to tell you this story is that that, uh, th at thought, that reasoning kind of went with me all of my life It was that, you know, yes there's auth ority but I was my own person. You know, I was prepared to make my own moves and, you know, uh, you know, be damned I was going to do it if I choose to do it. But, um, I told you that story for that part right there. AH: Yeah.
!& " HH: But, anyway, we went on, Anderson and myself, went on to climb the mountain and we were the first persons to climb it in f ifty years and now I'll get back to the restaurant business. AH: W uh um, that's great. I mean, I knew about Erebus but I didn't know about you had to kind of so, your captain, did he allow you to go on the ? HH: Ye ah, I talked with the captain. I said, "Captain you know, I come to climb this mountain and I'm strong and I can make the top." And, anyway, he said, "Well, if you feel like it and that you'll make it and Anderson has said that he'd like to go with you." So, anyway, Anderson was a s o so climber. He wasn't as strong as I was. And, um, you gotta remember that I'm twenty years old, I'm an uneducated person and at that point in my life I don't even know what roast beef is, you know? I think a hamburger is made out of pork. AH: Yeah. HH: So, you know, but anyway. AH: Um, Red Lobster. HH: Yeah. AH: Did you what did y ou have to do with that chain? I mean, did you just supply it ? Or were you one of the founders? Or HH: Well, Red Lobster, um (clears throat), Red Lobster built their first restaurant in Lakeland, Florida. AH: Okay. HH: And I had a home there. In fact it's on Lake Hollingsworth Drive. You ever go thataway and drive by it's the English Tudor home on Lake Hollingsworth Drive But was (sighs clear s throat), I was in the seafood business and I sold to people. But any way I'll back up a little bit. So Red Lobster built their first restaurant there. And the guy that was really the brains behind the Red Lobster was a guy named Wally Buckley And Wally Buckley got th e financing from Lawton Chiles' [Florida Governor Lawton Chiles] family to build the first one and, and so forth, and anyway, so they had the one restaurant there. And, um, oh, the director of operation, Charlie Woodsby, and myself were friends and s o they wanted me to sell to Red Lobster. I owned a company called Service Brokerage Compan y and International Seafoods. And, well, that time, I guess I just owned Service Brokerage Company. And I represented Booth 's Fisheries and sev eral other seafood supplie rs. And so, I told old Charlie, I said,
!E " "You know, I sell to Donald Cate over at John's Seafood Company And he's selling to you and Donald wouldn't like it if I en ded up selling to you direct." So after they built five restaurants, Charlie come to me and says, "Gene, if you ever want to sell to us, better do it now. We just we're selling out to General Mills [Food Corporation] and we're going t o really expand and so forth." So I went to Donald and I said, "Donald, I'm going to sell to Red Lobster. They 're going to be big time and I'm sure that I'm a friend of yours and you would like for me to have the business." Anyway, Donald was a little perturbed about it but, anyway, I went ahead and sold to Red Lobster. So that was a start. And after that I sold, basically, the R ed Lobster, all their seafood. And I sold it my suppliers weren't able to take care of Red Lobster's needs. So I formed a company called International Seafoods as to, where I could represent and buy from a lot of comp anies. A ny company. AH : So before you were Standard Brands 3 ? HH: Yeah. AH: Okay. And then I then you started International Seafoods on your own. HH: Yeah. Yeah. Well, my first company was Service Brokerage Company. AH: Okay. HH: Foods Brokerage Company AH: Okay. HH: An d then International Seafoods. So, anyway, I, um, I ended up selling to Red Lobster, and I used to write 'em some invoices that was a million and a half dollars. And I made a big buck. At that time I also sold [to] Morrison's Cafeteria chain and some of the other big chains. Morrison's was a very good customer of mine also. AH: What wer e any of the other big chains? Do you remember? HH: That I sold? AH: Yeah. HH: Well, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Morrison's, um, Maa s Brothers back in those days, had four or five restaurants. AH: Oh yeah. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""" $ "'()*+,-*.**"/01+-2-*34"5F*+,-/*"K+98*+1>*"L9AM".?-/?"'"29=(6*6AD
!G " HH: Oh, um, I sold some seafood to McDon ald's for their fish sandwich. AH: Okay. Yeah. I just wanted to ( inaudible ) more thorough. So then you sold to General Mills, then? HH: So, a nyway, after they'd built about a hundred and fifty resta urants or so and I'm supplying em 90 percent of all their seafood their one of their lead guys approached me and said, "Gene, we we're at a turning point here in this business. We either want to buy your business or w e're going to go into business ourselves. You know, buy me. AH: Yeah. HH: So that's what happened. They bought my business and I I've (audible exhale) I've always, in a roundabout way, regretted selling, selling to them. I sold it for a pretty good bu ck but the pretty good buck that I sold for I could make every couple of years, you know? AH: Yeah. Sure. HH: But anyway, so, so then, so Buckley and myself Buckley was ticked off at the Red Lo bster. Like I said, he was really the brains behind the Re d Lobster. AH: What' s his first name again? HH: Wally Buckley. AH: Wally. HH: Yeah. So his son got fired from Red Lobster. He was a manager. And so Buc kley was even more ticked off. So we went over to Satellite Beach and opened a restaurant called Bahama Joe's Lobster no that was PegL eg's Oyster Bar. And we went to Vero Beach and opened up a place call ed Bahama Joe's Lobster House. T hen one in Daytona Beach and anyway we opened up anot her three or four restaurants. A little later on I went in with some guys and we opened up the Fish House which was a restaurant in Pasadena, Florida. AH: So, um, how did you get from being an uneducated young man you know, thoug ht a hamburger's made of pork to a someone s o knowledgeable about seafood? And, of course you got into art, into antiques. HH: I usually whenever I went in I remember the first time that whenever I left Standard Brands and, then I went to work for a food broker I remember walking into Morrison's Cafeteria chain and Mr. Westrick a wonderful guy Vice President in c harge of P urchasing I walked in and his secretary was a lady named Donna. And, uh, so I sit down across from Mr. Westrick and I said, Mr. Westrick I want to tell you th is. I'm new in the business."
!H " And I was real apprehensive about here I am, you know, an uneducated guy walki ng into a big chain like this. And I see all these guys, these dudes that come and go in their big cars and I had a yellow Na sh Rambler back in those days. And, so, here I am, you know, "Boy, what am I doi ng? (child's voice in background) Am I going to compete against these people?" And, so, I sit across the desk there from Marty and I said, "Mr. Westrick, I don't know mu ch about this business. ( noises nea rby) I only can tell you this. That if you give me a shot at it, I will do you a good job." And he said, "Well, that's okay Gene." He said, "We like to do business with new young guys comin' up and, you know, you stay in there and we'll get your products approved through our quality contr ol and, and we' ll do business. If you have the right price and the right quality and the right delivery and wh atever." "Okay, Mr. Westrick." And, so, I represented a company out of Eau Claire, Michigan. Silver Mills Frozen Foods. Mainly packers of cherries. And, so, I' d gotten my cherries approved and, so, (audible exhale) Donna called me up and said, "Gene, we need five truckloads of cherries." "What? Five truckloads of cherries! " Yeah. (audible exhale) Okay, Donna, I'l l come back to you with five." So I called George Dent. I said, "George, look I got a big customer on the line and I need a real good price on U.S. Grade A cherrie s for delivery such and such." And he said, "Well, Gene, the price is I forget Thirty six cents or thirt y four cents, whatever it was. And, so, um, I called Donna I said, "Donna, I got this price of thirty four cents." And she says, "Uh, now, what did you say, Gene?" "I said thirty three and a half." "Well, your our purchase order number is such and such and such and such, and we need two truckloads sent to Louisiana and th ree truckloads here to Tampa." And, so, I was on my way. (laughs) AH: So, you HH: But what I, what I did is, you know, if you don't know something then you I would sit there and keep m y mouth shut and I would listen. And, u h, you know, by listening and, uh, you know, I picked up I become self educated. AH: So the same thing goes for the art and the antiques as well? HH: Yeah, I alwa ys had a real interest in art. And, at one time, I owned the world's largest collection Louis Ti ffany windows. Not as lamps, but as windows. I had one window that was forty f eet tall and twenty four wide. It was the third l argest one that he ever built. And but, I owned a large collection. AH: So. So you were you were basically sold for several million at age, what, thirty two? HH: Yeah. Um h m. AH: And, um, and then of course there was the clause in the contract the non competition clause, right?
!I " HH: Yeah. AH: You couldn't open a restaurant for five years, so you HH: No, I couldn't op go in the seafood business for AH: Oh. I see. Um, so you helped people open restaurants and helped them decorate restaurants, right? HH: Well, not really. Um, I really wasn't, um Buckley and myself, we opened three together and he was the lead partner and then I opened one in St. Petersburg that I (clears throat) I felt that I was getting the short end of the stick. And AH: I see. HH: That I wanted to open my, uh, my own restau rant. So I opened my first Sea W olf in Lakeland. And, you know, I did an outstanding business rig ht there from day one. And, as soon as I opened that, I had gotten a contract to buy the thirteen acres for the where the Sea W olf across from Busch Gardens was. And, um (clears throat), that was a real trip. But I had a real good, growing bu siness over in Lakeland, and it took me a litt le over a year to build the Sea W olf. I had my own cabinet shop tha t built all my fancy woodwork. I had my own electricians, my own carpenters, my own construction company built the thin g myself. Did all the landscaping myself. I would go out on weekends in local areas and buy specimen plants out of people's yards and whatever. Like I was probably one of the first people pers ons to d o something like that. And, then Scott Lender l ent me a twenty ton over the road crane, and so I had two digging crews and loading crews and they would go and dig the stuff that I would b uy and load it on the trucks, and bring it in and plant it. AH: Um h m. T he Fish House re staurant. T here were some gardens and exotic birds there, too, right? HH: Um hm. AH: So did you feel, like when you especially when you opened the Tampa Sea Wolf, that, kind of, everything you had done before then was just, kind of, all leading up to that? I mean did you have a feeling like "this is it? HH: Uh, yeah. That, uh, that was a big help. It certainly was. I went first of all I want to say that the City of Tampa will never see another Sea Wolf. Anything of close to t hat magnitude. First of all, a prudent businessman in today's market is not going to spend over a year building a restaurant, have all the fancy woodwork, the wormy chestnut, the oak, the waln ut and everything I put in the paneling works and whate ver. And they're not going to have the extensive bird gardens and the wild animal s, the tigers and the cougars.
#J " They're not going to have the la ndscaping that I put in there. Then they're not going to have the affordable price that families families can go there. AH: Yes. HH: They're not going to have the art collection that I had. I had a (sound of a cabinet door closing) re ally expensive art collection. So the City of Tampa, in its history in fact I don't know of any area that will ever see another restaurant of the magnitude of the Sea Wolf. AH: Yeah. Well, probably most of the other cities in America, for that matter. HH: Yeah. AH: I mean, saying that economically ( inaudible ) HH: When we opened the when we opened the Sea Wolf it was like a scene out o f The Great Gatsby [ F. Scott Fitzg erald] AH: So everyone is taken aback. I mean the there's lines streaming outside the front door and everything. P eople are coming from Busch Gardens. But there's also the locals are just flocking to the restaurant. HH: Yeah ( inaudible ) those locals one of the things that hurt me several years, yea rs later was the gas shortage. But I had people from Sarasota, Bradenton, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, New Port Richey, you know, that would drive to the Sea Wolf. AH: Um hm. And I remember your HH: Lakeland. Plant City. All over. AH: And I remember your prom otional efforts, giving away the gasoline and everything. HH: Are you from Tampa? AH: Um, actually, I've been living here for about six years now. HH: Okay. AH: But, uh, Clearwater I moved there when I was five, so HH: Oh. AH: I spent most of my time growing up in Clearwater. HH: Uh huh.
#! " AH: I never got to make it to the Sea Wolf, unfortunately. HH: Yeah (laughs). AH: But I hear an awful lot about it. HH: Yeah. AH: So, let's see, the al l right, so the Sea Wolf is doing really well, HH: Uh huh. AH: And you've got you 've got huge crowds coming in. I mean you were even talking about open competition with Busch Gardens itself and not some kind of symbi otic relationship where but more of an outright your restaurant being an attraction unto itself. HH: Right. AH: And, uh HH: I had my Clydesdale horses also. AH: Uh huh. So what was this about the, the lady dressed up like a New York cop driving the te am of Clydesdales? (laughs) HH: Well, let me think about that. AH: See I never know if the papers exaggerate or (laughs). HH: Yeah, that was, um, Karen I'm trying to think for what promotion I did that for. I always had so me kind of promotion going o n. What it is is that if you can get and I ended up hiring a newspaper guy that worked for me ju st to get me free advertising. If you can get free advertising it's a whole lot better than paying big bucks and um, paying for a dvertising. And, s o I was I always had some kind of gimmick going on that, um, you know, to get free advertising. AH: So. So when when did things start look ing difficult in the Sea Wolf? I mean actually le t me ask you another question. Let me put it a different way, I guess. You r Pat Patterso n. I remembered a newspaper article quoting her as saying that you loved to "B uild, build, build." That when all was said and done and everything was built, you kind of got this feeling of like, well, "I want to go on to the next thing then Did you get that feeling?
## " HH: That's absolutely true. I didn't mind building s omething and getting it going. But I had virtually (female voice in background) become a slave I've my, my r easoning with the Red Lobster, o r with the Sea Wolf was that, if I could build a place (sound of electroni c phone ringer) that would do five times as much business as the Red Lobster, as Red Lobster, it would take five Red Lobsters to d o as much business as I would. I would have a real moneymaker. And, actually, I did, pr obably as much b usiness as seven Red Lobsters. But what happens is that yo u can't find anyone to run it. You know, I was doing the seafood buying, having the it seemed like every time I turned my back, no matter there was no amount of money that I could pay people, you know, the magnitude of the place was just so great, that they jus t, they just couldn't hold on. I have not yet met one person today, even, whom I felt that could operate the Sea Wolf. AH: Yeah. Especially someone you could trust. HH: Yeah. And so, what happens, I'd become vir tually a slave to the business. And, you know, it just on and on and on and I just I was try ing, wanting to build a hotel. I had a loan of three million dollars to s tart the hotel. And I, I started with thirtee n acres of land and en ded up with twenty five acres. And I had the property z oned for commercial high rise. And, so I was going to build a hotel and I was going to have it overlooking the African Kingdom [part of Busch Gardens] Build a building ov erlookin g the African Kingdom. And I was going to build these little time share deals whereas you know, where people would buy the rooms and then they could stay there for a couple of weeks out of the year and we would rent 'em out. Thataway the thing would be p aid for ( male background voice) basically ( inaudible ) I finished building it. I got involved in Jimmy Carter's money, 20 percent interest, and there was no way that I could borrow or pick up the three million dollars and start the thing and pay the interes t on i t while I was getting started. I'd just become real frustrated. AH: Yeah. So this high rise you were talking about, is that the Condor comlex? HH: Yeah. AH: So it seems like on the one hand you're overwhelmed ( noise on tape ) but on the other hand you're looking to expand. I mean the first year after you o pened you expand the Sea Wolf, you're getting a hotel. HH: What, what happens is this. Y ou take so much of your money like I was buying land. Okay? The reven ue from the Se a Wolf was good. The revenue from the Sea Wolf in Lakeland was, was good. Very goo d; in fact, very good. But when you're buying all these things and I'm buying art collections This forty foot tall Tiffany window's here that I was going to adorn the hotel with the lobbies, and all the different things that I was buying and putting in the warehous e, that can catch up with you.
#$ " If I would've been able to continue to build, to recoup my monies that I'm putting into all this land and, and other things, I wou ld've probably just ke pt going because I liked that. I lik ed the building, the creative. But the everyday monotonous thing of operating a restaurant is no fun. AH: So is that why you started giving Pat Patterson more and more, not really control, but, I mean, day to day managing things? HH: Yeah. She was more of a of the office manager. Not the ma nager on the floor downstairs. Upstairs, you know, she was, she was office manager up there. AH: So, what were the m ost difficult things, I guess? Like when you talk about the day to day and it's really I mean obviously you've got, you have employees, you have, you know the seafood to keep coming in and everything. What wer e the most difficult things? HH: Well (sighing breath), one thing is (female lau gh in background) all of the things that you've got to keep a n eye on. People stealing from you And, here's a thi ng (female voice in background) being, you know if you decide that you're going to take off for a couple of days and go to New York, it's like Charlie Miranda who's running for mayor now used to work for me. And he was one of my managers there. And I was in New York, you know, in the early days after I opened the Sea Wolf I bought the contents of a bi g church up there, at auction. And I was b usy I had a construction crew up there busy disassembling it for about (door closes) four or five months. S tuff that I bought at auction. That I was going to use in the hote l. And, I just had a feelin g that something wasn't right. So I called Miranda an d I said, "Charlie, you know, I just have a gut feeling that something, something's wrong there (female voice in background) and he say s, "Well, Gene, I don't know." He says, "Let me check around and I'll, I'll call you back." So several hours later he cal led me back and said, "Gene, I looked around. I just don't see (reedy cracking sound ) any, any problems anywhere." I said, "Okay ." So I got in that Friday night from New York and here's all the managers all huddled in the in the back area an d I said, "What's wrong guys?" "There's a union meeting going on and they're at such and such a place and, uh, um, you know, (male voice in b ackground) this and that and I'm not about to ha ve the union in my restaurant. And the help and this the people that went to the u niversity that you go to or teach or I'm not sure what you do, had taken it on as a pro ject to unionize the Sea Wolf. And so, you're not supposed to go around any of their meetings but I slid around and I'm looking through the door here and what 's going on there and with all these employees. And they're getting up and this and that and I'm looking at their faces and figuring out who they are and whatever. And, uh (electronic phone ringer) this one girl that was was a friend, always a waitress, b ut always friendly, was "Hey, how ya doin' and all this. And she was up there ge sturing and running her mouth. So I went back. And so the next
#% " day, here they are, you know, here she "Oh, how ya doing, Mr. Holloway?" and I don't even give her the time o f day. So she couldn't stand it. Pretty soon here she comes up to my office. And, "Mr. Hollow ay, what, what, what's wrong?" I said, "You know, I really thought you were a friend of mine and, you know, loyalty is means a lot ." But, anyway, she finally t old me who the organizers were. Pause in recording Tape 1 ends Tape 2 begins AH: (background voices like a public place) So, we're back with Gene Holloway It's October 8, 2002. We're going to clarify some of the issues covered in the last tape. HH: One thing Andrew, is this Bob Dourney. You say that he did sixty per cent more business than I did. I just don't think that of course I don't have his records but I don't think there's any way that he did that kind of business. First of all, my former ser vers, you know whenever I got back in town, they told me what how bad the business was. And, I think that (background laughter) also, in one of the newspaper articles Steve Otto talked about going in the pla ce and there was no customers. And he also talke d about how greasy the food was. One of the things that even surprised me about Dourney, because he was a, I think, once a a pretty big (inaudible ) for Campbell Soup Company. But, you know, whenever you get into seafood, you need to use peanut oil. And t hat's one of the first things that he eliminated was peanut oil. And I used to have peanut oil, I think, in by the I think in thousand barrel, thousand gallon containers that they would bring in peanut oil in trucks and we would we were very careful about our oil. And, but another thing about Dourney. I had signed an agreement with him prior to me lea ving town and going to Canada. And this agreement was that he had an option to purchase and he was supposed to pay us so many tho usand d ollars a month. Lease option agreement. I really knew that whoever leased the thing wi t h Dourney wouldn't be able to handle the business. AH: Yeah. HH: But I need ed a break. I wanted to get away. I didn't like some of t he things that were happen ing. Debbie and I was going through a divorce. We were really in at odds. And, with D ebbie, come her brother Gregg. And her brother Gregg was could be a very vicious, cruel guy. I didn't like what I w as being caught up in there. At that time Debbie had a t en million dollar life insurance policy. I had I guess I had the life insurance policy but she was the sole beneficiary. And, uh, but, uh, (clears throat) now I can't really remember if she o wned the policy or I owned it. I wanted to say that from the beg inning, many years before, that in the event something happened to me, she wouldn't be stuck with a lot of taxes and whatever and I think that I mad e her the owner of the policy.
#& " But anyway, back to Bob Dourney. Dourney had tried to buy the p roperty from me months before. And he kept coming around and coming around. And, you know, one day I just said, "Well, you know, this is this is it." So I call ed Dourney and said, "Hey Bob. How much money can you come up with?" And he said, "Well, I can co me up with this and that." Which wasn't really a whole lot of money for something like the Sea Wolf Restaurant. But it was a, it was something that would give me some freedom and let someone else operate. And he had enough money invested that he s ure was g onna try hard. And, so, I said, "You know, Bobby by this time next week I want yo u in the Sea Wolf Restaurant." So just that qu ick I come up with an agreement, with a lease purchase for Dourney. He was supposed to pay so much money a month. Well, he mad e during, during that whole period of time he made two payments and that was it. And I had a, oh, I ended up with a judgment against Dourney. And (clears throat) John Cicero was my attorney with ( inaudible ) the judgment against Dourney But, uh, so this, this is whenever I brought in Ryan [Martin Ryan] I was already at at, in at the government boot camp. And, so, I here's Dourney's not making any payments and not getting any money in off the place. I, uh, um so I made a decision Debbie and I was at odds. There's no way that I could felt like bringing Debbie into it. I r eally wasn't close to anybody. My brothers I didn' t want to g et them involved in the thing. So I Ryan I'd known for a number of years and he was a fairly good businessman. So I said, y ou know, I'll check with Ryan. So I get Ryan in and said "Let's boot Dourney out. You know, you'll pay me so much money." I had by the time I had Susan up in, in Kentucky with me and I needed some incom e coming in for her. So I cut deal with Ryan and he brought in this attorney from New York and it took him a lot of mon ths to really get Dourney out. And, uh, so they finally got Dourney out. And, whereas I thought I was going to be in prison for a year or two, it turned out to be that I was there for the maximum sentence of almost five years. And during that period of time I just saw everything disappearing. You know, before I went into prison I had a net worth statement of twenty six million dollars. O f course a lot of that was in antiques. Fourteen million do llars of that was in antiques. And the rest was in my ranch house, my restaurant, which I had high value placed on it. And I say this, that I'd have to say there's probably a lot of error in it. Cause it was it was bas ically a sound statement. Because one thing that the feds tried to do wa s to break my statement down. If they would've been able to break my statement down, they would've nailed my ass for a lot more years for giving banks and borro wing money from banks based on false statements. AH: I see. HH: So that was one of the things that they tried to do was to break my twenty six million dollar statement down and they couldn't do it. The biggest thing, like I said, was the fourteen mill ion dollars in antiqu es. They couldn't break that down because I had
#E " appraisers from Christie's [auction house] from the Metro politan Museum [ Metropolitan Museum of Art New York City ], I had good strong s tatements on my major pieces. ( rap ping sound on microphone) So, when I get back in town, one of the things that I did with Dourney was to put a judgment against him for going after money. By then Ryan had already declared bankruptcy. I had you know, Ryan owed me something like six million dollars a nd Dourney owed me two three, four million dollars. And, so, Ryan declared p ersonal bankruptcy and that wiped him out of the picture. A nd, so, that money was lost and along with a lot of my art and antiques. And, which, later on the IRS [Internal Revenue Service] auctioned off a lot of that stuff. But, anyway, with Dourney we tried John Cicero tried his best. He hired this guy that serves papers tried to find Dourney. Couldn't find Dourney. And, so, after six months or so I said, "Well, let me see if I can find him for you." So I went to, to work and, um, Dourney had a friend AH: Now was this were you still in? Or you, were you HH: I'm out. AH: Okay. You HH: I'm out. AH: Okay. HH: So Dourney let me back up and say this. When yo u're in you're not really supposed to conduct any business from prisons. There's business conducted. I had a visiting room meeting every day with Susan. But there's little she could do. I could make a (sound of door closing and women's voices in backgroun d) telephone call, collect, out. And, for a long time, Ryan would accept my collect telephone calls. Then he got to where here he is in my damned restaurant, he won't even accept my damned call. And the little money that was less than a thousand dollars a month that he was sending to Susan, he quit sending to her. And, um, selling off my antiques and whatever and A nyway, so I'm, I'm in prison and I see all of my my lifetime worth of work going down the doggone drain. And it'd probably cause a lotta guys to jump off the bridge. But, anyway, I took it the way it was and figured it was my fault for be for being there. Being caught up in that position. But back to Dourney. So they couldn't find Dourney. You know, I was thinking, "Well, maybe Dourney has got some money and maybe I can tap into that." Dourney's wife was supposed to have some money and she had died and I thought, "Well, maybe there's some money there."
#G " So I called I got in touch with this friend of Dourney. And I can't think of his name now. And I'm act like an old time friend of Dourney's New Jersey. He was from New Jersey. And I said, "You know What was his real name? But anyway, um, "I'm here in Florida. I'm just going to be here in a few for a few days and I'd like to drop in and see my old buddy Dourney. I used to work with him." "Oh, oh. Well, that's great. Well, Bob is getting ready to fly to New York this next week and, er, at such and such a date and he won't he won't be in town." I said, "Oh my goodness. I'm sorry What What airline is he flying?" They gave me the name of the airline. So then, I guess, this guy called Dourney and said, "Hey, I talked to an old friend of yours and he "Bullshit. I don't have no friend like that." So I'd already called the ticket ag ency and they had Bob Dourney's schedule. AH: Ah. HH: So I had let the paper server know that, "H ey, we're going to trap Dourney, okay? (AH laughs) This paper server had been trying for eight months and he couldn't wasn't having any luck in running Do urney down. We were going to have him cornered. And I said, "You're going to have to be there, there at a certain time and whatever." So, he says, "Well, I'll be surprised I said "Okay." So, um, anyway Dourney had called and changed the reservations in to another name. So I called back and "Dourney's not not on the flight." So I thought, Well, I'm going to be at that airport anyway. Something tells me that, that he's going to be there. So here I go. I get to the airport and I'm on time. The paper server is a half an hour late. AH: Okay. HH: I'm standing on one foot and the other and I see Dourney over here talking to people. So now we're going to trap this [guy] okay? And, uh, like I said he's probably over three or four million dollars. I don't know what the what the thing was the judgment that we had against him. And, um, so finally here comes the guy. He shows up. "Well, I had this problem, that pro blem." "Okay." "There's Dourney. "A re you sur e?" (AH laughs) "That's Dourney, I know him. "How about going over to Dourney and start a conversation with him." I said, "Oh, okay." So I go over to Dourney and say, "Hey, Bob!" "Hey, Gen e! Man, it's so good to see you and how you doing?" And um, so, um, anyway, um the paper server's coming up. I says, "Bob, this guy needs to talk to you about some paperwork but it's good to see you, buddy." AH: Uh huh. HH: Here comes the paper server and hands him the paper work. Well, to make a long story short, John Cicero was never able to extract any money from Dourney. So that was a dead issue there. So that that was just all lost in the shovel You know, whenever I I made myself a couple of notes cause I forget about all these doggone things. AH: Um hm.
#H " HH: One of the things that I did. I don't re member if I told you this earlier, Andrew. But when you're in bus iness you get like I was and you got a lot of, lot of irons in the fire and all the things that are happening, you get people tha t try to screw you. And, um, I got to where I was pretty good at turning the tables on them. What I call my checkerboard move Where I've made up my mind that, Hey, that guy ju st screwed me. He's trying t o screw me. He just screwed me. I'd secretly pull out my little game that I would play with that person. Did I tell you this story? AH: Was this the finding the thing in the dumpster? HH: No. AH: Okay. HH; So, I would, um, I would pull out my little, my little game that I would play with this individual that was trying put a screwing on me. And I would never say a word to this individual but ( inaudible ) "You're just trying to screw, me buddy." I'd go to work. And I wou ld come up with a method where I would turn the tables and I would screw him. And then I'd walk away from him and never have anything more to do with him. AH: Yeah. HH: And, basically, that is what it was with Debbie. I made a mistake with Debbi e, but then I let her back in. But Debbie left at one p oint, and I was really in a good position to follow through with a divorce. And, so, I pull out my checker game and I had played the checkers and I was in a good position with her. She come back in, you kn ow, the restaurant to be going for thirty days. "You know, I love you, love you, I'll do this and I'm sorry and, that I left, and all this and can I please come back." I said, Debbie, you can come back. But I want to tell you this. I work too hard, too m any hours to have someone destroy me like yourself." (background laughter) I said, "You can come back with all I want to know is that, in the event of a divorce, what I owe you." I said, "You just go ahead and tell me what you want. And make a list of wh at you want. Since you have the attorneys, just go ahead and get 'em to draw up the paperwork like a, a nuptial agreement. You draw up the paperwork and you tell me what you want." (television audio in background) "Well, I want this and this, this and this ." "Okay, that's fair enough." And she called me back on the phone and says, "You know, I decided this." And I said, "That's okay. Just get your guys to draw up the paperwork." Well, the ranch was not included in, in our handshake agreement that allowed he r to com e back into my life. I should've just cut if off right there and taken the losses and whatever. So, I let her come back into my life after pulling out my checkerboard with her. And, so, anyway, afte r about a month or so I asked Debbie, I said, "D ebbie, did you get your at torney to draw up any paperwork? By now Debbie's back living with me at the ranch house. And the ranch house, even though I had bought it after Debbie come into the
#I " picture it's part of my estate, that I used the monies to buy i t before I ever met Debbie. And I thought it was my piece of property. And Debbie said, "No, I haven't had a chance yet." "Okay." So after a week or so goes by I said, "Debbie, did you ask your attorneys to ? "I don't want you to ask me that again. I'll d o it whenever I get around to it. You just want a divorce anyway ." And so I thought to myself, Well, you you know? I shoulda nailed you when I had the chance So, by then I'm staying at my apartment over next to the restaurant and Debbie and her bro ther are staying out at my farm house. And, uh, so he steals all of my my gun collection Sells it for drugs and whatever. And, um, so anyway, kind of getting off base. But I'm just trying to this say whole checker game that I played. And, uh, so after I se ll the lease the property to Dourney, I, uh, I call in John Ad cock who's my insurance broker. And John died six months ago, anyway. And I told John, I said, "I don't like the position that I'm in with Debbie and her brother. I don't know that Debbie would ever hurt me but ten millio n dollars is, is a lot of money a lot of money." And I said, "I don't want to walk around with two bodyguards and a gun in my boot and whatever. I'm afraid someone's going to kill me. You know I've already had some things happ en that makes me real nervous." (clears throat) And, uh, so, um, John said, "Well, G ene, I had an idea." He says, T his is what you wanted so I've checked and with your net worth statements you can have sixteen million dollars worth of life insurance. An d I suggest you do it, since you're going to build that hotel, you're going to have to have life insurance, I suggest that you take out the other six million dollars. The ten million dollars, when you quit making the premium payments on it, it will be null and void. And then if we need more, we'll take out more." But either John Ad cock and I have an idea it was John Ad cock didn't want to lose the, that policy, told Debbie that I'd quit making the premium payments on it. Well, she started making the premium payments on it. You know, usually, anybody that tells my story gets this insurance thing wrong. Most people, they say "Well, what did you do with all the money you got, from the insurance company?" Well, this was, this was in my portfolio. I don't know if you've read it. AH: Okay. HH: Okay. What to tell you a year or so later, after I left this was in July, August, September someone was making the premium payments on this, uh, on this policy and it was Debbie. 4 AH: Yes. HH: Debbie and her boyfriend. AH: I see. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""" % "'()*+,-*.**"/01+-2-*34"5N*("@-00-9(AD
$J " HH: Made the premium payments on my life. AH: Okay. So what's interesting about it, and this is where, I guess, the newspapers got it wrong, so, here in 1982, that's when it finally went. HH: Yeah. AH: It it I mean the policy HH: I'm in I'm in prison by now. AH: Sure. HH: And, uh, Debbie paid up to that point AH: And then HH: I'm in prison AH: And then it was finally cancelled. HH: It was cancelled. AH: So, what's interesting about it is that there was articles talking about, uh, you know, there was a lot of conjecture. Where you disappear. Then, you know, you made a call to Pat Patterson. And then HH: Let me tell you the rest of the story. AH: Okay. Sorry. HH: (clears throat) Well, whenever I s aw this insurance wasn't I wasn't cancelled out, I'm my life was still in danger. And if I had not of left, Andrew, I'd been a dead man. Someone would have gotten to me. ( inaudible ) group, was a friend of Debbie. He was a gangster there in the Tampa area. Greg and Jimmy D'onofrio's right hand man, you know, whenever I come back home from Canada, when I was out on bail, Greg come by and was all buddy buddy and this big motorcycle guy who was Jimmy D'onofrio 's bodyguar d wanted to take me for a ride. "Why don't we just go out and discuss this." (they laugh) And I'd had a wire around my neck, you know, a block away from the house. So but anyway, before I left now I'm [mad] at the insurance com pany, you know? In fact, really, if I could ever find out who told Debbie that if it was John Adcock that told Debbie that and not the insurance company that they needed to start making the premium payments, I'm probably in a position for a big ass lawsu it. But, uh, I never really asked
$! " Debbie who told her. Whether it was this insurance company or John Adcock. I think it was John Adcock. AH: So I maybe you can clarify something for me. So, you're the one that started the policy but you couldn't cancel it? HH: Well, I did I was making the premium payments on it. AH: Yeah. HH: And, um, I the policy would be cancelled if I stopped making the premium payments. AH: I see. HH: But it was in her name in such a way that, that, you know, I couldn't AH: She co uld continue to make the payments. HH: Yeah. I think that's the way it was. AH: I see. HH: I can't remember, really, if it was in my name or hers. But the insurance company notified her and she started making the premium her and her boyfriend started making the premium payments. So now I'm [angry] I'm [angry] at John Adcock AH: I see just one more question. D'onofrio, how do you spell that? D o n a ? HH: D'onofrio ? AH: Yeah. Jimmy? HH: D'onofrio (??) Waitre s s : I just want to let you know I'm leaving. So Jessica is going to take over for you. HH: Oh. Can I let me go ahead and pay your bill. Waitress: Okay. Sure. Pause in recording HH: So, lik e I said, the mobster in Tampa. The old man's dead by now. But I'm sure the bodyguard's still around. But this is the way it come down. So, by now I pulled out my
$# " checkerboard and I'm [angry] I'm [angry] at the insurance companies. For one, when Greg stole all of my damned guns the insurance company figured out, and it was a heavy duty collection, not to pay me for this collection. So I didn't get paid for that for all of that. And I was ticked off. Ticked off with John Adcock either him or whoever let Debbie know that, that she needed to start making payments if she wanted it. So, anyway, uh, I set out AH: Al l right. So you got out the checkerboard. HH: I got out t he checkerboard. I had played that checkerboard many times before. In fact I'm going to change the subject a little bit but one was Ralph Lupton that used to own Lup ton' s Barbecue [Ralph Lupton's Fatmans Restaurant and Catering] Ralph Lupton Debbie used to stop up there for breakfast every so often and here comes old Ralph. He slides up to her and, trying to make out with her and, you know, really bad mouthing me, and he knows what a son of a bitch I am and whatever, and I had helped Ralph through a lot of things. I'd sent him some of my carpenters ( inaudible ) remodeling. Gave him some ideas. I was a good customer of his more so than he was of mine. And here's this [clown] trying to make a pass at Debbie and telling her what a no good [clown] I am. So Debbie comes back and tells me. So now I am [angry] at Ralph. I pull out my checkerboar d and so I order this big smoker barbecue thing (lou d woman's laugh in background) So I put in this big smoker and started serving I had these colored guys used to work for me make some righteous barbecue. And I put up on my marquee Ralph smell he had on his marquee "Smell this s moke" I put, Ralph, smell this smoke. (AH laugh s ) Okay? That was part of one of my checker games. But I had played that checker game many, many times befo re. So, anyway, back to my stories Where was I? Oh. So I'm [angry] at the insurance company. Okay? And, uh, s o, I said "I'm going to [be dead for] the insurance company. If I can. Well, first of all, you know, even then I knew that, that if I died supposedly, that before someone would pay off that much ins urance they'd probably want to see a body or have some pretty doggone good reason, you know, for a lot of years. So I put together my ( inaudible ) and Thrasher and Marlene Padovan which Thrasher ended up stealing three of my airplanes and, um, there wa s a l ot of money involved there. He'd stolen three of my airplanes from me. Uh, Marlene Padovan was part of it and she was caught up in that. I paid her attorneys' fees and I gave her twenty five thousand dollars for her problems. AH: I see. HH: Sheree whate ver her name was AH: Patterson. HH: [Sheree] Patterson was caught up in it. [I] paid her attorney (laughter in background). And, uh, so, um, anyway the deal when I was with when I was going
$$ " to first of all, then I'm involved in a heavy duty divorce with Debbie. She' s coming at me with with and I'm [angry] at Debbie and I've got my checker game out with Debbie. Okay? Um, so, I've I knew that, um, right then, that there was too much of my assets or whatever on top of the table, t hat I needed to shuf fle some things around and whatever. So I wanted to I had a divorce hearing, I think, a week before I disappeared. AH: Okay. HH: So I was, I was trying to waylay that divorce and Debbie was wanting big bucks and whatever and I was not wantin g to give h er big bucks. So I, I devised this plan that i t would appear that I was dead and that would stop the divorce proceedings. And if I got a chance to to nail a insurance company along the way that would be good, too. Okay? And, um, so, that was my, my reaso n for putting this thing together. Was that. And, uh, was to disappear off the face of the earth. Thataway no Jimmy D'onofrio and his buddies and Greg and whatever would be trying to nail [me] for ten million dollars. So, anyway, (clears throat) that who le thing backfired on me. The, um, there was never a claim made to the insurance company. 5 AH: Yeah. I never thought there was. So HH: Never. AH: So HH: How did they do it? AH: Yeah. HH: Well, I made a call to Pat Patterson from New York and I le t Pat Patterson know that that I was in New York and, and that I would be in touch with her every so often. So that call that I made to Pat Patterson was supposedly, in effect, put the insurance policies into effect. So they got me for wire fraud. AH: Yeah. HH: Wire fraud is what I went to prison for with that one telephone call. AH: See HH: In Canada, my my attorney told me, he says, "They'd never have gone they'd never have gone to trial with anything like that." AH: Yeah. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""" & "'()*+,-*.**"/01+-2-*34"5KB"@*"9+"1(B9(*AD
$% " HH: But I went to trial for that was, that was what I was charged with. That's what I went to prison for. AH: Just the phone call. HH: The phone call. AH: See, cause the the newspaper said that, after the phone call, Pat Patterson made several payments on the insurance on the insurance policies that you had. HH: Well, if she if she did I don't think Pat Patterson did it. I think that, um AH: Right. It was Debbie. HH: Debbie. Yeah, I'll tell you what Pat Patterson probably did. She probably made premium payments on the six million dollars. AH: Okay. HH: On the six million dollars AH: On your policy. HH: On my policy. But not not on Debbie's policy. AH: Okay. HH: That's probably what what that was. AH: I see. So, so, so basically that phone call was wire fraud because you were calling Pat Patterson and that HH: Yeah. AH: And that she made a payment on HH: Can I can I I want to tell you this. I n all honesty, sitting here looking you in the face and in the eye, I intended to [nail] the insurance company if I could. I intended to. That's w hat I told the people around me. "I'm going to [nail] the insurance company." And, uh, but bottom line, I and once I was away and, you know, it become even more impossible even Sheree and I talke d about it, "Well, Gene, you know that's an impossible dream." I said, "I know it, I know it." 6 """""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""" E "'()*+,-*.**"16634"5O93)"92")?*")-@*".?*("'"C01B*6"@B"/?*/8*+">1@*"'".9( M")?-3"9(*"'"093)A"K=)M"(9" @1B;*"'".9(A"'7@"3)-00"?*+*AD
$& " AH: But Sheree HH: (clears throat) No one is ever gotten this insurance thing straight. I never collected any money. I never there was never a claim turned in you read that one agreement there. Pat Patterson, I guess, probably made those payments AH: On the six million dollar one. HH: Yeah. At probably my requ est, I don't even remember now. 7 AH: Yeah. HH: Debbie I felt, you know, at one point there, tha t that was going to be cancelled out. But, you know, two weeks before I left I found out that no, it was not cancelled out and I was in jeopardy. And AH: So did she have that divorce hearing right before you left? Or did were you able to HH: No. No, I that's the reason why I left. I left a week before AH: Oh. Before the hearing HH: Before the divorce hearing. AH: Okay. Interesting. HH: So, that, uh, that right there was some bad moves on my part Cause I went to trial with the f ederal g overnment and I whipped [them] in the first hearing A nd if I had it to do all over again, I'd go to trial with them again. I plea bargained with them and that was a mistake. AH: Yeah. Well, they certainly didn't give you any breaks. That's for sure. HH: No. They gave me everything they could. And then, when I got back, it was the IRS harassment ( yelling in background) that cost me also. AH: And not only were you saddled with all these debts but that you had a lot of people like Dourney who weren't paying debt money that they owed to you. HH: If people would've paid me the money they owed me Ryan and, uh, Dourney any of the monies that I owed other I'd a paid off and still had most of the money in my pocket. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""" G "'()*+,-*.**"16634"5K=)"+*100BM".?B".9=06"3?*"@18*"1(B"C1B@*()3"9("39@*9(*".?9"-3"C+*3=@*6" 6*16P"Q=3)")?*"@*+*"21/)")?1)"'"/100*6"?*+"2+9@"R*."S9+8"3*)")?*"T=3)-/*".?**03"-("@9)-9(AD
$E " AH: Yeah. HH: But, uh, you know, they mismanaged my affairs and, uh Ryan and like I said I'm I really just didn't think I would be away that long. But I saw it all disappear. Whenever I left prison, I had a brown bag and that was, basically, everything that I owned. AH: Yeah. HH: So was t here any other ques tions about the insurance, or did I mak e t hat pretty clear? AH: No, I think you made it pretty clear. HH: Was that basically the way that you had saw it or was it ? AH: No, I actually, I, I just went by the, the newspaper sources HH: Newspaper. Yeah. AH: And they had it they didn't even, you know, know about the Debbie thing. They didn't investigate into that. So, as far as they were concerned it was all you and, um, they didn't they didn't know about all this other stuff. HH: Yo u see, if I would have gone to trial, I could have made a real good case about me fleeing with what I might be faced with. AH: Exactly. HH: And, um, if I'd have gone to trial I would've used it. AH: But you were just you were tired of the whole process HH: I was tired of it. AH: Yeah. HH: I was drinking too much and tired of it and whatever. AH: Yeah. HH: Just wanted to get it over with. AH: Yeah. Understood. HH: But here is, um, you said you ( inaudible ) with the portion right there.
$G " AH: Okay. We're looking at a newspaper article. (sound of newspaper page turning) It's the Tampa Trib [ Tampa Tribune ] February 9, 2000, page 6. And the it's something about Gary Betz here. (reading) H e put a lot of bad guys in jail, Ryan said. In recent year s Betz had joined Butterworth in tackling white collar crime including cases against insurance companies and sweepstakes empires, American Family Publishers, Publishers Clearinghouse. When he advised me a couple of years ago I should sue Ed McMahon and Dic k Clark, I thought the man must be nuts." What is the section you wanted to ? HH: Oh, this no, we need to read this, this AH: Okay. HH: Right here. AH: In his heyday at the Tampa Federal Courthouse, Betz prosecuted a Russian spy and deported a Lithuanian who participated in Nazi activities during World War II. He presented the government's cases against flamboyant Tampa restaurateur Gene Holloway, accused of faking his death at sea." [ Feb. 9, 2000 Tampa Tr ibune obit uary of Gary Betz] So there you have it. You've got a Lithuanian war criminal, and HH: What, what, what gets me is that, you know AH: That you would be mentioned HH: I would be I would be mentioned in the same breath as a Russian spy and AH: Yeah. It's kind of like the difference between Kenneth Lay and Martha S tewart or something and, uh, it's apples and oranges. HH: Yeah. Let me see what else I've got. I think that that was most of my not es. Sometime I would, um, like, when we start o ut again, I'd like you to really read through a little this closer and, uh, see if I've cut it. You know the thing that I like about this, Andrew, is that, you know, just scanning through it like I did the other day it just, kind of, all brought it toge ther and everything has been kind of piecemeal like here and there and whatever. AH: True. HH: And nothing is ever going to draw it together. And just having it all brought together was, um (male voice in background), was worthwhile in all this endeav or I'm doing with you. AH: Yeah. Well, I appreciate that. That's one one of the reasons why I wanted to tackle this story so much. It was because I read all these things but there was so much, in the
$H " newspaper article, so much speculation, and there was so many unanswered questions and, uh, nobody had ever attempted to really bring it together, everyone. There was, like, the Hal Robinson article was neat but that came out, like, shortly after all stuff happened. And, really not everything had settled dow n enough yet for, uh to be able to put it all together into one one big package. So so, yeah, so I appreciate the fact that that you put it all together now. But, what how did you meet Marty Ryan, anyway? HH: Marty Ryan, um, I used to buy these Louis Tiffany windows. And, um, there was this auction going on in New York someplace that they were auctioning off six or eight life sized Tiffany windows out of this church. And, uh, they were authentica they were authentic Louis Tiffany windows. And, uh so, um, I went to New York and, um, they were religious windows but they were still, you know, still Louis Tiffany's work, you know? Louis' religious windows didn't bring the prices of, um, like, some of his other windows that were not religious. AH: Su re. HH: So, anyway, I bought all six of them and they wanted someone to haul them down and I guess that, um, Ryan hauled them down and I met Ryan at that point. And Ryan's, kind of, become like my antique field man, you know? He was going around to these different places and whenever he saw something that he thought was first of all I didn't reall y buy anything unless it was a great buy. AH: Yeah. HH: And, uh (clears throat), I, uh, then I would get it appraised and, uh, that would increase my net wort h statement. If I bought it for two thousand dollars and it's worth twenty five thousand dollars, you know, I'd get a certified appraiser and (clears throat) one one thing that, uh, places Ryan All Angels Church in New York I don't know if I told you about that was having a auction And, so, so Ryan and I flew to New York they had a big they had some Tiffany windows. One was a thirty foot tall, twenty four foot wide Louis Tiffany win dow and it was called Angels Ascending to Heaven. All these figures, um, in this big window. And, uh, so (clears throat), the church had it appraised, uh insured for half a million dollars. And, so, uh, I felt that, um, I wanted wanted to buy it, but I wasn't going to spend big money, so Ryan had kind of wanted to know what I wanted to pay for it and I said, "We'll see when we get there." I really didn't want to let the cat out of the bag, you know. I had first thought that, I forget the name of ( inaudible ), I bid up to twenty five thousand ( inaudible ) pick it up to fifty thou sand. So (clears throat), when the auction started, uh, there was, uh, seven lancet windows ( inaudible ) windows as tall as this ceiling, Louis Tiffany windows, and I bought them at ridiculously low prices, five, six, seven, eight hundred dollars, somethi ng like that. And they should have been eight or ten thousand dollars. So I said, "Something is wrong here, Ryan. I something is wrong."
$I " But what was wrong Christie's who had never done an auction outside of their, um, auction house, sent all these flyers out, these booklets out that All Angels Church was being auctioned off. But they sent it to the wrong people. Instead of architects and dealers and whatever, they sen t it to doctors and this sort of stuff And a doctor come in and look at something that size, you know, and "How in the world am I going to carry that home in my briefcase?" AH: ( inaudible ) (laughs) HH: So, uh, what happened is that there was nobody th ere at the au the auction that AH: That knew HH: That knew what and how to get the stuff apart and whatever. So I walked away with the auction. But, uh, when we got to the window, I bought the window, I think that and Christie's made a terrible mistake They started the, uh, the auction off at, um, thirty five hundred dollars and it should have been a hundred thousand dollars. So it went up to fifty two hundred dollars and I bought it. And, uh, well then, let's see, was it Christie's? Yeah, I think it w as yeah, it was Christie's that appraised the window for nine hundred thousand dollars. So even though I paid thirty two hundred dollars or fifty two hundred dollars, my net worth statement was now based on almost a million dollars on that window certified by AH: Well HH: Christie's. AH: Yeah. HH: So. With this big painting that I had. (clears throat) AH: Is this the religious one that HH: Yeah. AH: You wanted the Pope to come pick up? HH: Yeah. AH: Uh h uh. HH: Well, that one right there, the Metropolitan Museum appraised it for a million bucks. And I, uh, I had five thousand dollars in restoring it, I think, and that and that's about it. AH: I see.
%J " HH: Uh, you know, even though and I showed those on my net worth statement. I have a net worth statement that's worth uh, twenty six million dollars but I got all these things at I might've paid. So that's what the government tried to tear down but they couldn't do it. AH: So, then, whatever happened to that, uh, that painting? HH: It was bought at auction along with AH: Okay. The IRS, yeah. HH: I'm not sure where all that stuff ended. AH: Yeah. Interesting. HH: Anyway, that's all that I had all on my mind. Do you have any more questions that you can think of? AH: Not that I can real ly think of. Um, definitely the, uh, one, uh, you know, if you don't want to answer it it's fine. But I wanted to ask you about you you had cancer a few years ago, right? HH: Uh huh. Yeah. AH : And, uh, so what did you did you have surgery or chemo or ? HH: Yeah. What happened was as a young man, I got struck in the back by lightning. I had a big scar on my back and, um, that, uh, I didn't take care of that scar. I got it sunburnt out in the sun with my shirt off and whatever. AH: I see. HH: So it dev eloped into a big tumor on my back and became cancerous. (clears throat) I had that removed surgically removed. It was a big tumor and then I had radiation. AH: So how did you get struck by lightning? HH: (coughs) AH: What were the circumstances? HH: I was, um, working I was a young man. I was working up under the eave of my house. And, um, this I was on my hands and knees and this big, black cloud, se ems like it was no higher than the tallest thing comes started coming over and, um, I sensed something was going to happen, something was wrong. And I started to get up. At that
%! " time lightning (loud male laugh in background) caught the flashing around the house and went down and caught my back. Knocked me out there for a few minutes. AH: So, how old were you when that happened? HH: I must've been in my early twenties, twenty two, twenty three AH: You had your own house at that time? HH: Yeah. AH: Yeah. Oh. (laughter in background) What about, um, one thing I wanted to ask you Mt. Erebus. That was an um, an active volcano? HH; Um h m. In fact there's a really a real, real good article and, when, if I find out when it's going to show I'll let you know. (more laughter) And it's called, um, hot Hard Water with the Block, I think, I think that's it ca lled, the Discovery Channel. But it shows Mt. Erebus and how it controls all the weather around it and conveys how the how they tried to get down into the crater. There's actually (more background laughter) a, a lake of molten lava. And th en way down belo w that is the earth's and the hot, and it pumps up that molten lava into this lake. And, uh, we had tried to go down to the lake, um, and, uh, but, uh, it's really, really it's the best I've ever seen on it. AH: Yeah. Interesting. Yeah, definitely, let me know. (background laughter) Um, yeah. I don't know. I can't really think of anything else. Uh, we've covered our ground pretty well. HH: Yeah, Like I said, I'd like to get together with y ou some other time and scan this AH: Sure. Pause in recording AH: Okay, so we' re talking about Homo sassa? HH: Homosassa. And (clears throat) the reason why one of the reasons why my failure at the Sea Wolf Restaurant there. Uh (clears throat), whenever I, I went to open the Sea Wolf, I, uh (clears throat), I just felt that I was going to need some bouncers. Those people up there in that area they started drinking AH: Oh, yes. Yes, w e did talk about this. HH: We did talk about it? AH: And it was the undercover agent.
%# " HH: Undercover agent that finally nabbed all these people that were my customers and, uh, whenever that article come out in the paper and they started prosecuting those those people, next day after that article come out the day before my place was filled with people. The next day it was zero. AH : Yeah. Nobody wanted to tangle with that kind of stuff. HH: Nobody everybody was ticked off at me because they thought that I was in cahoots with, um, with the government trying to and but anyway, I had already told you that story. AH: Yeah. And you h ad cleaned up in prison. Right? I mean, by the time you went to prison that was it? HH: Yeah. Yeah. AH: You never relapsed after that? HH: No. I've never I was a heavy alcohol drinker, but I was really never much of a drug user. AH: Yeah, I see. HH: It, um, yo u know, maybe some of my girlfriends were AH: Yeah. HH: Were drug users. But I myself never was into that. AH: Well, alcohol was usually the only thing mentioned and if there was anything e lse ever mentioned, um, it was V alium. HH: Yeah Yeah. AH: And that was when you were getting all stretched out with the Sea Wolf HH: That's true. AH: Yeah. But, uh (sound fades) end of interview [Interviewee adds: "We are put here on this earth to learn. I've had/have a lot of learning to do. I'm grateful to have all the wonderful things that a person can have, art, antiques, beautiful homes, offices, beautiful women, business that I founded, a love of exist animals and I had these things at a young age. No matter who we are or what we have, at
%$ " some time we have to give it up. My life is a long ways from over; in the year 2008 I'm in great health. Each day of my life is a challenge to be successful in what I have been doing for eighteen years: a hunter of gold, jewels, treasure. My life is far f rom over. How wonderful it is to have opportunity. Thank you, America."]