FROM THE ARCHIVE

Billie's flamboyance led to his downfall

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MONDAY, MARCH 24, 2003

Ousted last week as chief of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Jim Billie built his life on tall tales and big deals that brought tribal members out of poverty but also kept them in the middle of controversy.

The St. Petersburg Times recalls some of Billie's storied history. Like his claim of exemplary service in the Vietnam War that is not backed up by military records.

Or his multi-million dollar deals that tribal members said favored non-Indian outsiders. Federal regulators fined the tribe $3.4 million for a bad deal and broke another one because some outside investors did not pass background checks.

Through it all, Billie was elected six times. Tribal members say he greased voters with gifts and money.

Get the Story:
Toppled by his tribe's distrust (The St. Petersburg Times 3/23)

Relevant Links:
Seminole Tribe - http://www.seminoletribe.com

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