Advertisement
  1. Florida Politics

A recall, an ouster, an election, now a do-over in Seminole Tribe

James E. Billie, shown here in 2001, was ousted as Chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida in September. The tribe's board of directors are having problems finding a replacement. [AP Photo | Miami Herald]
James E. Billie, shown here in 2001, was ousted as Chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida in September. The tribe's board of directors are having problems finding a replacement. [AP Photo | Miami Herald]
Published Nov. 15, 2016

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is considering conducting yet another election to select a chairman, after members complained that the winner of an Oct. 31 vote did not meet residency requirements.

The tribe's board of directors ousted chairman James Billie on Sept. 28, after a recall petition and vote by the board. A month later Marcellus W. Osceola Jr. won the election to be chairman.

But now the tribal council might void the election. Seminole rules require office-holders to reside on one of the tribe's reservations. Osceola owns a home on the Hollywood reservation, but it was undergoing repairs for mold damage and he has been living elsewhere.

A statement from the tribe read: "As a result of meetings open to all members of the Seminole Tribe, some of whom have challenged the election outcome based on a Reservation residency requirement, the Tribal Council is expected to further consider the situation later this week. Additional public information will be provided, as it becomes available."

Osceola, 44, had garnered 319 votes to Billie's 297 on Oct. 31. Billie, 72, was allowed to run because tribal rules allow an ousted person to run for office. The petition against Billie cited "various issues with policies and procedures."

Billie was vying to be voted chairman a third time. He served as chairman from 1979-2001, when he was impeached after charges of financial mismanagement and sexual harassment. He again won election in 2011 to the chairmanship and was re-elected in May 2015, defeating Osceola 45 percent to 39 percent, with three other challengers sharing the remainder of the votes.

The tribal council handles all Seminole affairs, including selecting executives to oversee their seven casinos, which garner more than $2 billion annually. That revenue is shared among the tribe's 4,000 members. Those familiar with the situation say the selection of a chairman likely will not affect gambling decisions, which are overseen by Seminole Gaming CEO James Allen.

Through Allen, the tribe has been negotiating with the state to extend an agreement that allowed the Seminoles to offer blackjack and other table games. The agreement expired in July 2015. But a court case last week ruled that the state of Florida, by allowing "designated player" games in poker rooms, encroached on the portion of the agreement that gave the tribe exclusive rights to table games, and that ruling allows the tribe to legally offer blackjack through 2030.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Visitors head to Florida's Old Capitol building on Tuesday, the first day of the annual session. The same day, the advocacy group Equality Florida denounced four bills filed by Republican lawmakers, calling them “the most overtly anti-LGBTQ agenda from the Florida legislature in recent memory.” [SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Most of the bills try to eliminate local ordinances, and Republicans say they’ve been unfairly labeled.
  2. Attorney Joseph Bondy tweeted this photo of his client, Lev Parnas (right) with former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi on Friday, Jan. 17. Bondi on Friday was named on of President Donald Trump's impeachment lawyers. [Twitter]
    Parnas’ lawyer tweeted out the photo of the former Florida attorney general along with #TheyAllKnew.
  3. In this Feb. 22, 2018 file photo, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, speaks to reporters outside the West Wing in Washington. President Donald Trump's legal team will include Pam Bondi, the former Florida attorney general, former Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr, the former independent counsel who led the Whitewater investigation into President Bill Clinton, according to a person familiar with the matter. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) [J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE  |  AP]
    The former Florida attorney general reportedly will join former Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr, the independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton.
  4. Florida Senator Rob Bradley, R- Fleming Island, watches the action on the first day of the session, 1/14/2020.  [SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES]
    A popular bill would allow judges to dole out punishments less than the mandatory minimum sentences spelled out in state law for many drug crimes if the defendant meets certain criteria.
  5. Vice President Mike Pence take selfies with supporters after giving a campaign speech during the "Keep America Great" rally at the Venetian Event Center at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, January 16, 2020.  [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    ‘Come November the American people are going to have our say,’ Pence said.
  6. Rep. Stan McClain, an Ocala Republican, presents a bill that would allow Florida public colleges and universities to sponsor charter schools, during a January 2020 meeting of the House PreK-12 Innovation subcommittee. [The Florida Channel]
    Alternative authorizers have been found unconstitutional in the past. But that isn’t stopping the effort.
  7. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, members of the Florida Cabinet, left, and the Florida Supreme Court, right, stand at attention as the colors are posted in the Florida Senate during the first day of the Florida legislative session in Tallahassee, Tuesday, January 14, 2020.  [SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES]
    The court ruled that Amendment 4‘s “all terms of sentence” include the payment of all court fees, fines and restitution.
  8. Thousands rallied and marched from the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center to the Florida Historic Capitol to demand more money for public schools Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. Thousands of school workers from around the state thronged Florida's Capitol on Monday to press Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Legislature to more than double the nearly $1 billion the governor is proposing for teacher raises and bonuses.  (Tori Lynn Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat via AP) [TORI LYNN SCHNEIDER  |  AP]
    The PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee cutting exercise would come in nearly 25 percent below Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposal.
  9. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.,, center, speaks as fellow candidates businessman Tom Steyer, from left, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. listen, Tuesday during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) [PATRICK SEMANSKY  |  AP]
    The candidates’ proposals reveal differences in how they plan to approach the issue.
  10. Vice President Mike Pence points to supporters before speaking during a campaign rally at the Huntington Center, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, in Toledo, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) [TONY DEJAK  |  AP]
    Vice President Mike Pence will take the stage in New Tampa, at the Venetian Event Center at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, at 1:30 p.m. It wasn’t planned that way.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement