• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Copyright
 Interview






Title: Interview with Robert Hawkins (July 12, 1990)
CITATION PAGE IMAGE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00006971/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Robert Hawkins (July 12, 1990)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: July 12, 1990
 Subjects
Subject: Nantucket Preservation Institute.
 Notes
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00006971
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Nantucket Preservation Institute' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: NPI 2

Table of Contents
    Copyright
        Copyright
    Interview
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
Full Text
COPYRIGHT NOTICE

This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of
Florida.

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limits the amount of materials that may be
used.

For all other permissions and requests, contacat the
SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.


NPI.2B
Interviewee: Robert Hawkins
Interviewer: Samuel Proctor
Date: July, 11, 1990
P: Okay, continue on, sir.
H; When a fellow gets in that shape, he is desperate to save
his business. He knows it is out of his ability to control
it and you generally can make a pretty favorable deal for
yourself to come in and try and salvage something. In the
case of ACS Industries, it was a woven wire business in
Woonsocket, that was the base business this fellow had
inherited from his dad and done very well with. He then
bought into Paul Folkling Yarn which ultimately led him into
carpet making. He had gotten pretty far afield from his
base.
By the time I came in, he had of course the wire business in
Woonsocket; a carpet plant in Miami, Oklahoma, largely under
lease with a business group there; a carpet backing plant in
Silverton, Georgia; and was in the process of building a
yarn plant in Woonsocket (a big Rifenhauser Extruders). It
ran about three stories high. They literally become part of
the building once those things are installed. He had bought
five, had two installed, two still in the crates and one
partially installed. And was losing an enormous amount of
money monthly.
In sizing the thing up before I even went in, I tried to
isolate the areas where we were bleeding the worst. I
decided it was carpet plant. So the first day I never even


went to work. I just got on a plane and went to Miami,
Oklahoma and met with Business Development Authority and
told him I was going to close the plant down. They were
losing so much money, we really did not have a choice. I
knew it was a violation of the lease and if they would give
me forty-five days we would come back with some type of a
plan and review it with them. That is not really giving
them a choice.
P: You have already told them what you are going to do.
H: I was introduced to a couple of guys from Houston, who had
been involved peripherally as suppliers to this company, at
the airport in Oklahoma, flying out. They indicated that
they might be interested in buying the business down in
Silverton. But we had a number of Seltzer looms down in
Silverton.
P: What kind of looms?
H: Seltzer. They are Swedish made, I believe, and they were in
short supply in this country at that time.
P: Do you know how to spell seltzer, because I do not.
H: No, but it is just like you would the effervescent seltzer.
P: Okay.
H: We structured a very fast deal the next two weeks for a cash
deal of the plant. I believe the price was something close
to two million, but it brought in well over a million
dollars in cash by the time you get done retiring loans that
were related to that business. That gave us some latitude
to begin to maneuver.


I went back to Oklahoma. Those fellows out there were
intrigued with the plant manager. A guy by the name of Hans
Luchen, a former German submarine commander who immigrated
to the United States, went down to Dalton, Georgia and
learned the carpet business. He had convinced the Oklahoma
authorities that he could run that plant if he was only left
alone. So I said, "If you believe that, why do you not help
me raise the money? We will organize a plant and here is
what we can do." We will get working capital for old Hans
to run his carpet business. Then ACS Industries will
organize a wholly owned subsidiary. We will re-write all
these leases that you have got on the equipment and the
building and everything to run to the subsidiary. I will
give you guys an option to buy all the stock in that
subsidiary for one dollar. So anytime anybody from ACS
starts to meddle in Oklahoma, you can cut her off.
P: It is your carrot that you were offering.
H: If Hans could do what he says he can do, we will agree to
file consolidated tax returns. The cash that would
otherwise be paid out in income taxes, we will pay to the
authority. Within five years, if Hans does what he says he
can do, you guys will be paid out, you will be free. On the
other hand, regardless of what happens, whether he makes it
or he does not make it, I have taken something like fifteen
million dollars in loans off of ACS and put them into a
subsidiary.
P: You relieved the pressure throughout.


H: So we did that and to this day we get a card from some of
the guys out there. I mean it was a good experience both
ways. I learned why a guy wants to be president of a small
town bank. Because he knows everything that happens in the
county. I guess, in retrospect it did not work out, but
nonetheless, from a work out perspective it worked fine
because ACS was free of all of that debt load. If we make
the thing profitable and if banks had a belief in the
management then of the business, we were a bankable entity
again.
We still had to deal with the woven yarn plant that was
going under, Rifenhauser Extruders. There I went down to
some of the yarn mills in New Bedford--Fall River. I tried
to work out a deal whereby they would buy our yarn and
intermix it with nationally known brand names. But you had
to make it worth their while to do that. So, if they would
put up the money to finish the installation of those
extruders, we would give them something like sixty percent
of the business. It is on a put and take basis. You put up
five or ten percent of the cash and you take ten percent of
the output on a cost basis.
So we got the woven yarn business up on its feet. Of
course, the woven copper business, the base business, was
always healthy. That was a successful workout. All of that
took about eight months.
The fellow that got himself in trouble, he got his
confidence back and his courage back and "by God, I want my


company back now", because it had been salvaged. That kind
of thing often happens, too.
A fellow I had worked for at Acme--I said I was the
financial guy for them--the operating man that had the rest
of the non-steel activities at Acme. He had gone to work
for International Minerals and Chemicals outside of Chicago.
They had acquired eighty percent interest in Sobin
Chemicals. But there was still a twenty percent minority
interest with the Sobin family here in Boston. Sobin
Chemicals, predominantly, was an international chemical
trading company. But, because of the association with IMC
[International Minerals and Chemicals Corporation] they had
gotten into production of chlorine; caustic soda; and a
plant up in Orrington, Maine; and were developing a
specialty chemical business in New Jersey. IMC needed a
financial/ administrative guy to come in to what was largely
an entrepreneurial trading company. Try and give it some
balance and financial control, I guess. At that time, we
were just coming onto the first of the oil crunches that we
had--long lines of oil. Not only oil was in short supply in
this country, all basic chemical commodities.
P: We are in about 1973 now?
H: Yes, 1973.
P: That is, of course, when the oil crisis.
H: Companies like Sobin were making millions of dollars trading
commodities in short order. For example, they bought a ship
of caustic soda in Germany. They had the ship sold before


it ever left port. The buyer was desperate to get his hands
on the product. The ship started out across the ocean and
got a few days out of port and broke its crankshaft and had
to go back. The buyer then decided maybe there really was
not a ship, or maybe he could make a better deal somewhere
else to get caustic soda to get here faster. So, on the
second trip out it went a little further but it broke the
crankshaft a second time and had to go back to port. It
finally made it over here, but to make a long story short,
they had sold that shipload of caustic soda four times in
trying to get it across the ocean. Of course, it made much
more money on each one of the successive sales.
The Sobin family had a put to IMC based on a formula that
predicated on earnings. Of course when you have got
earnings going like that, you want to test your put. You
may get as much for the twenty percent as you get for the
eighty percent and that was a problem. It was during that
period that I had a heart attack.
P: You were kind of a young man for a heart attack.
H: Well, yes.
P: You were still in your thirties--no, you are older than
that.
H: I think I was forty-four at the time. My dad died of a
heart attack at fifty-seven.
P: Let us see, again, you told me you were born in 1930. Where
were you when this attack?


H: Oh I came to work in the morning, I think I was on the
telephone.
P: So you were in your office?
H: Yes. I never lost consciousness. The personnel guy that
worked for me and my secretary came into the office. I felt
a little woozy and sat down in the chair. They said, "Boy,
you look different. Maybe we better take you to the
hospital." So one of them went and got a car and the other
one stayed with me. I just walked down stairs, got in the
car and went over to Massachusetts General [Hospital].
P: And they gave you the good news.
H: Nothing to it.
P: Did that incapacitate you for a while?
H: No more than anyone else. I mean, I think I was in the
hospital a week or something like that, then to stay home
for a month. You are supposed to do all the things and I
guess guys that get heart attacks generally have
personalities that do not allow them to do that anyway.
But, about a year later, IMC had acquired the balance at
Sobin. I had a chance to do some more workouts and off and
on that is really what I did. Getting into the 1976/1977
period, I was working with Reliable Fence, which was the
largest independent fence company in the northeast.
P: Both commercial and residential fencing material?
H: Yes. The owner had had lung cancer and had a lung removed
and went down to Florida to recuperate for a year and left
his business in the hands of partners and associates who did


not do well by him. So I came in as a financial advisor to
him; the fellow's name was Anthony Orlando. We were making
good progress but Anthony up and died on me.
At that point, the banks would only be comfortable if I
succeeded him. So, I became president of Reliable Fence.
At this time--you talk about the transferability of my
accounting abilities--I have been in steel, business
machines, text book publishing, chemicals and now fencing.
P: You might be called the industrial renaissance man.
H: That was a successful workout. Ultimately we got it
bootstrapped up, bank loans out, and then sold the business
for the family.
P: So you saved it for the estate really, then.
H: Yes. Took on another workout in Andover; a company that was
already in bankruptcy. That was the only bankruptcy I
really was ever associated with. I never took any in; I
came close--Beinecke was going in. One day I got a phone
call from a retired personnel man here on the island that
did work for Pacific Bank and Walter Beinecke and others,
saying that Walter Beinecke would like to see me. Wanted me
in Nantucket.
P: Had you ever heard of Walter Beinecke before?
H: I never heard of him before. I said, "Who is Walter
Beinecke and who in the hell wants to go to Nantucket?" I
envisioned isolating myself like Napoleon on some island
thirty miles off the coast.
P: You were living then where?


H: I was living in Easton, most of the time in Massachusetts.
We lived in Sherborn, Massachusetts. But I had four kids.
They were all grown, all gone, all married.
P: When were you married?
H: When was I married? In 1952.
P: To whom?
H: Jean MacMillan, a girl I met at Michigan State [University
located in East Lansing, Michigan].
P: So it was an old romance then, and you had four children.
H: Four children.
P: And at this time, the beginning of the 1980s, your children,
you say, are grown.
H: Actually, in 1978, I think it was, that we sold the big
place in Sherborn. A ten room house, an old dog and two old
parents.
P: You sold them all in one fell swoop.
H: Sold the house and bought a condominium in Easton [Conn.?]
We have been there a few years. Jean thought (this was in
the middle of summer, July), "Why do you not just take a day
and go down and enjoy a day in Nantucket in the summer."
P: This call came just completely unsolicited and the guy calls
you on the telephone?
H: Yes. As it turns out, there is a connection to everything.
P: Of course.
H: Beinecke was looking for a financial guy. He had had one, a
fellow by the name of Bud Sauer, he died out here of a heart


attack on the golf course out in Sankaty, about four or five
years earlier.
Walter thought he might be able to restructure what he had
here in Sherburne and not really have to replace him. But
as it turned out, that was not the case. He was very, very
close to Bud Gifford. He had been his entire adult life.
C.H. Gifford was the chairman of the Rhode Island Hospital
Trust [National Bank] in Providence. Gifford opted to take
early retirement and became a professional director of
various companies and actually made more money being on the
boards of Textron, Allendale, and Hasbro and some of these
companies, than he ever did as chairman of the bank. His
bank was the second largest bank in Rhode Island and
ultimately was bought by the Bank of Boston, where his son
is now president. Gifford knew me from the Royal Little
days. Narragansett, their primary bank, was the hospital
trust. Then they would take their portfolios companies into
the largest bank in Rhode Island, which was Vanoff Fleet.
Most of my dealings had been with the Fleet Bank, not with
the Hospital Trust. In restructuring the Bevis loan, we had
to re-finance Bevis after the big loss, so we had cash flow
to operate while we were busily dismantling the thing. I
got the lion share of the money from our own base bank, but
I needed more. So, on a last in, first out basis, I went to
the hospital trust. In the process, became familiar with
the people there and Gifford knew who I was.
P: So Gifford was then the link between you and Walter?


H: Yes. I did not know that until a few years ago. But
anyway, I came down here.
P: You followed your wife's good advice and you came down here
for the day. Now this is in July of what year?
H: July of 1981. I went back and my conscience was bothering
me. It cost money to fly over here and fly back and take
the guy's time when you know damn well he has no intention
of going there. Well, three or four days later I got
another call from Petzel saying come back, Mr. Beinecke
wants to see you again. "Look, I got no interest in that
job, I am too young a guy to go into retirement. I am not
going to isolate myself on that island." But he insisted
and that I bring my wife. Now my wife is starting to get
worried.
P: Well, before you get there, go back to the first meeting
with Walter and tell me about that. You came to shore or
you came into the airport or however you got here.
H: Yes, and I was met by Petzel.
P: Give me Petzel's full name if you will.
H: Henry Petzel, he is on the board of the Preservation
Institute.
P: I know.
H: I believe it is. Henry showed me around the island, drove
me around.
P: Before you meet Walter?
H: Oh, yes. We just went into Zero Main Street, went up to
Walter's office, met for maybe an hour.


P: You first get a lay of the land. He is softening you up.
H: Well, it did not mean anything at all, I mean, what the
hell. Like driving around on the cape.
P: And where was Walter's office?
H: Zero Main Street. They may forget our names, but they
always remember our address.
P: What was your impression of Walter?
H: Well, he is a nice guy and a tall, white-haired gentleman
full of stories.
P: What was he offering you on that first meeting?
H: He was not offering anything, we were just meeting, just a
get acquainted session.
P: He told you about himself?
H: Not much, essentially what his needs were. But, Walter is
not one to lead off with "here I am and here is why you
ought to get to know me." That you pick up later and you do
it on your own.
P: You had lunch together that first day?
H: No, we just met for an hour and then Henry took me out and
we drove around. We had lunch, Henry Petzel and I. We
drove around some more; I knew all about Petzel. I did not
know very much about Mr. Beinecke. On the second trip,
however...
P: And your wife comes on this trip.
H: Yes, and Walter wanted to meet her. Then we started to
.really begin to probe. I could tell it was serious and
after about an hour with him I started to turn my impression


of the whole thing 180 degrees. This situation just may be
different enough and interesting enough that you really do
not want to walk away from it. It is not just coming down
here and isolating yourself on a little island, in a little
business. In any event, I came down here and started to
work the first of August.
P: What did Walter offer you?
H: In addition to compensation?
P: Yes, in addition to compensation.
H: Nothing.
P: You would make your own way?
H: Anybody coming into a situation like this, you will either
wind up a year later loving it or hating it. There will not
be a middle ground.
P: Did your wife like the island.
H: No, at first she did not want to come, like I did not. Then
I guess I changed my mind and in Jean's case, she was
teaching. We had lived in Sherborn [Massachusetts]; she was
teaching school in Sherborn.
P: She had a job and a career.
H: When we got married she dropped out of college and had a
family; got the family growing while we were still in the
Chicago area. We were living in Naperville [Illinois], she
had gone back to finish her education at North Central
College right there in Naperville. When we went, then, to
Rochester, New York, she began teaching for the first time
in a private school. Then when we moved here,


Massachusetts, she got involved first as a substitute
teacher, then as a full time teacher on the staff at
Sherborn. This was continuing when we lived in Easton. She
was teaching in Sherborn. When I came down here in August,
she had a contract for the next year to teach up in Sherborn
She fully intended to do that. So, I came down. The real
estate market...
H: But it was nearly a year before we were able to sell it.
So, she lived there in Easton and taught. We agreed we
would commute. Well, I commuted twice and she did the rest
of the commuting.
P: You spent the whole year here, all that winter?
H: Yes. Well, it wound up--actually I lived in the third
cottage, the press cottage.
P: Where we live; we are in that one now.
H: The two bedroom?
P: Yes.
H: Let me tell you, it gets cold in October.
P: It is pleasant now. I wonder if it was a winterized house.
H: It is not.
P: Those floors were cold then.
H: Yes, it was cold. I bought a house and with a minimum
amount of furniture, moved into the house. The following
June, Jean moved in and she started out doing some odd jobs
for the superintendent of schools here. She caught right on
and really from September of 1982 on, she has been involved
with the elementary school here on Nantucket.


Part of the trick of living on an island like this is
keeping busy. She has done that so she had adjusted very
well. She loves it here now.
P: Do you like it?
H: Yes. I am getting to the age where I am maybe a little
arthritic and cold weather begins to bother me occasionally.
P: Where are your kids?
H: One is in Salinas, California and the other three are all in
the metropolitan Boston area--one is in Andover; one is in
Fitchburg; and one is in Derry, New Hampshire.
P: So you are fairly close to them?
H: Yes. The two girls, their families are renting a house this
first week in August, down here on Nantucket. It is getting
to the point that there is more of them than will fit into
our house.
P: Grandchildren.
H: So their two families are renting a place and usually every
year they all get here for a week or so.
P: So you come to this island to work with Walter Beinecke?
H: Yes, I was the financial guy for all of the Beinecke
holdings. At that time it was Sherburne Associates, which
really was their business interest on the island of
Nantucket, it was the partnership; Christmas Club, a small
company in eastern Pennsylvania; the Nantucket Historic
Trust; and the Osceola Foundation, both of which are private
Beinecke charitable organizations. There were twelve family
trusts and I guess that was it.


P: Well, what did you do? What was your job? I know you came
in, it was kind of a vague thing. What did it turn out to
be?
H: Well, I was involved, as a financial guy always is...
P: Before a financial decision was made, you were...
H: A good financial man becomes the chief of staff for whoever
it is he is working for and that is what happened here. On
a day to day basis, I hired people to do the accounting for
these various entities; getting out financial statements;
preparing tax returns; trying to find ways of saving some
money, particularly saving cash. A trick I had learned from
Royal Little that the payment of income taxes is a waste of
money.
P: So you figured out not to pay that.
H: Walter, obviously, is a preservationist. I guess he was one
of the founders of the National Trust. Peripherally, his
association gets you involved in some of their activities.
I never really had any involvement with preservationists
other than to see [F.] Blair Reeves [FAIA, PI:N Director
Emeritus and Faculty] come in every summer. But I was not
involved in the activities at all.
In 1986, Walter and Blair had been talking about putting a
situation together which would go beyond the two of them.
They were concerned about PI:N [Peservation Institute:
Nantucket] being too closely identified with the two of them
If they are not here, where is the momentum and the assets
and what not to keep the preservation activities of PI:N


going. There was a matching fund program down in Florida,
where a certain amount of funds would be put up, the state
would match it and ultimately you would get a chair. That
would provide the wherewithal to continue some of these
activities beyond a mortal man's existence. Preservation
Institute, over its years here, really existed because of
Sherburne.
P: What was Sherburne?
H: Sherburne was a partnership of the Beinecke activities on
the island.
P: And it got its name because?
H: Well, the original settlement on Nantucket was called
Sherburne. And ask yourself--I lived in the other
Sherburne. We had two Sherburnes in the same state.
P: I remember you saying that yes. And both of them probably
derived from the English.
H: It took me a year to figure out. Oh, yes, they both came
from the English. There are Sherborns in a lot of states.
You do not have two towns with the same name in the same
state. Well, Nantucket, in those times, was part of New
York and that accounts for the two colonial Sherburnes.
P: So that was the name given to this partnership.
H: To the organization, yes.
P: Who were the partners, besides Walter?
H: Well, there have been a number of partners in the history of
Sherburne. Originally, some outside the family. The
organization of Sherburne was Walter owning fifty-one per


cent and a guy by the name of Larry Miller owning forty-nine
per cent. You know the history of Nantucket, it went
through its hundred year depression and land was very cheap.
Larry Miller had, over the years, acquired a lot of
Nantucket land, some at tax sales. Of course since it was
not worth anything, a lot of what he acquired was the deeds
were put in dresser drawers and forgotten about. Larry had
control of the control. He owned the lion's share of the
waterfront. It was through association with him that
allowed Walter to put together the large waterfront parcels
that today have become Straight Wharf; Old South;
Swainsworth; the Nantucket boat basin; the parking lot down
there. In Walter's re-doing of the waterfront area, he
looked on Main Street as his shopping mall. You cannot have
a shopping mall unless you can have parking lots so he built
a parking lot. He moved a food store in because you need
your foundation.
P: This is where A&P came from.
H: Well, A&P had been in the area for years. He just simply
built them a store, that is all. At one time the A&P was in
what is now our plant office and later became the Pacific
Bank branch. The A&P had also been located in what is now
Hardy's Hardware Store.
P: Not Hardy's Hamburgers though.
H: No. Sherburne essentially is the White Elephant, the Harbor
House and the waterfront area together with a collection of
commercial stores in a core area. Maybe forty percent of


the commercial property was part of Sherburne Associates.
On one hand it was a commercial landlord to a lot of stores.
On the other it was an operating entity of hotels,
restaurants, marinas.
P: You had a formal association, obviously, with Sherburne?
H: Oh, yes.
P: As his financial advisor, then, you played a pivotal role in
that.
H: Yes.
P: Were you the financial manager of Sherburne?
H: Yes, and the Christmas Club and the charitable foundations.
P: And all of the things--Christmas Clubs, radio stations, Big
"B" Ranch, Executive Airline.
H: The radio stations and Big "B" were gone before my time.
Executive Airline, thank God, was gone.
P: Walter told me that. What a fiasco that was. And the radio
station in Orlando was gone, also.
H: Yes, all of the Florida operations were gone.
P: So the Christmas Club: a Corporation was what remained.
H: It really was.
P: And it was a profitable organization?
H: Absolutely. The way it was structured, Sherburne, on the
surface, lost money as a partnership. It had a positive
cash flow. On the other hand, Sherburne was consolidated
with Christmas Club. The Sherburne losses sheltered the
Christmas Club profits and the Beinecke family, at the time,
were the minority interest. There was a holding company,


Osceola Investment, that held seventy-five per cent of
Sherburne and twenty-five per cent was held by the Beinecke
family.
P: Now the Beinecke family includes Walter, of course, and his
children.
H: That is right.
P: Was his sister involved in this?
H: No.
P: So it was just Walter and the children from the several
marriages--the first marriage and second marriage.
H: Primarily it is his three daughters and son. I was going to
say the first marriage.
P: Well, Wally is from the second marriage.
H: Wally is an equal partner with the girls.
P: And the stepdaughters, Joy's children, have not been brought
into this yet.
H: No, those daughters were not involved.
P: Well, Sherburne was sold before he was married.
H: Mary Ann, the second wife, she had four kids by her first
marriage. Maybe, in total, her kids had a very minor
fraction through trusts that Walter had set up for them
twenty years before.
P: I see.
H: Walter and Joy were not married until after the sale of
Sherburne.
P: He told me when they were married.


H: And Joy's daughters were not involved in ownership
capacities. One of them worked for Sherburne for a while.
P: But as an employee.
H: As an employee, yes.
P: What about this Nantucket Historical Trust, what is it?
H: Well, I started to say that PI:N, over most of its history
was able to operate because of Sherburne and let me back
that one up.
P: Okay, please.
H: As part of that, we will get into what is the Nantucket
Historic Trust.
P: See, I do not see the full picture yet and you do so I do
not want to leave anything out.
H: Sherburne owned dormitories, one set of those dormitories
was the dorms that PI:N now have.
P: What was the original purpose of those dormitories?
H: Employee housing. One of the big problems doing business on
Nantucket--you can always hire employees. The question is
where the hell is the employee going to sleep.
P: This means waiters and so on for the White Elephant and all
of these people working at the parking lot.
H: Yes, any hotel or restaurant is really labor intensive. The
problem you always have on Nantucket is housing. You can
get kids by the hundreds. They all want to come to
Nantucket and sit on the beach in the summertime but, you
cannot sleep on the beach. What do you do for housing?
Commercially you can rent a room for $500 to $1,000 a week.


These kids cannot afford that. So you have got to be in a
position to provide housing. We had a big dormitory complex
associated with the White Elephant and the Harbor House.
The second one was out there at the old farm which is the
facility you are familiar with.
P: You mean the cottages were referred to as the old farm?
H: The Summerset Dorms were--it is not the cottages on Coffin
Street now, I am talking a bank of dormitories, though.
P: Where the students are presently living. I saw those last
night near the cemetery.
H: Now that was Sherburne employee housing and during the
summer some portion of those were made available for
Preservation Institute Students.
P: You said the old farm, would you identify that?
H: Summerset, that was a farm at one time.
P: Oh, originally it was a farm and so the name carried over.
H: In Nantucket you never refer to anything in terms of the
present owners.
P: It is always something of the colonial past, I get it.
H: The Nantucket Historic Trust owned three cottages on Coffin
Street which are today used by PI:N for faculty housing.
P: How did the Nantucket Trust come into operation? What is
its history?
H: It was organized, I believe, by Walter's father and
initially funded by him. Then later on Walter picked it up.
Walter organized the Osceola Foundation but never really had
any money in it until after his mother died, then a portion


of her estate went to Osceola Foundation. That was the
funding of the foundation.
P: That was its endowment.
H: The purpose of the trust was largely limited to Nantucket
activities. Osceola Foundation, on the other hand, was not
limited to Nantucket but could and did engage in charitable
activities anywhere the Beineckes wanted to put it.
P: Now PI:N relates to both of these?
H: Well, I will get into that.
P: All right.
H: The Historic Trust also owned commercial property on Main
Street. They owned a building--2628 Main Street where the
Spectrum, Janet Russo, and upstairs is a video rental--they
owned that as income producing to support the historical
objectives of the Nantucket Historic Trust. So on one hand,
they owned a bunch of cottages and some vacant land on
Washington Street. On another, they owned commercial
property on Main Street as an income source to fund their
activities. Those were about the only assets. I think they
may have had some stock in the electric company at one time
and they may have had some stock in Pacific Bank.
P: How did they acquire the three cottages?
H: I do not know.
P: Do you think they were constructed by the trust or were they
already there.
H: No, I am sure that they were there, but that goes back years
and years.


P: They almost look like they were built specifically for this
purpose, but obviously they were not.
H: Witness the fact that I lived in one, one summer. The head
of the conservation foundation lived in the first one, which
is winterized. We had, at one time, a Sherburne employee
that we needed to house on a year around basis in there. We
had a consultant working in the restaurants living there one
summer and one winter. The doctor at the animal hospital
lived there for a year. So it has had a mixed bag of use.
P: And it predates, then, the trust, presumably and certainly
it predates PI:N.
H: Well, I am not sure if it would predate PI:N because PI:N
goes back a good many years. PI:N used those facilities,
however, as they did other facilities of Sherburne. Trust
cottages were made available for PI:N faculty, periodically.
P: On the Nantucket market, are those cottages and the
dormitories valuable?
H: Yes.
P: The cottages are so beautifully well-located to downtown
Nantucket.
H: They had been appraised out at short of a million.
P: Those three cottages?
H: Well, the three cottages and the dorms.
P: A million dollars would buy you a lot more than that, would
it not, on the main land.
H: The value is what is in the eye of the beholder.
P: Always.


H: Until you get down to the actually selling. Now as we move
into the mid-1980s, there is obviously not a lot of cash in
the Historic Trust, but there is some real estate. There is
some cash flow from the commercial property. There is a lot
of cash in the Osceola Foundation because of the inheritance
from Walter's mother's estate.
P: Let me ask you, the property on Main Street, the income
producing property, was that a purchase item, as far as you
know, by the Trust? It became available for sale and it was
bought?
H: Walter and some of the real estate people in Sherburne, from
time to time say, "My God, this does not make any sense."
You have got commercial property that ought to be in
Sherburne, sitting there in the Trust, where it should not
be. Because charitable trusts should not be owning
commercial real estate anyway.
P: I see. Was there a lot of money?
H: There was one fundamental problem in all of this and that is
you cannot have business dealings between a non-profit,
private trust or foundation and a commercial entity where
the principals are the same. In other words, Sherburne
could never do business with the Historic Trust or with the
Foundation. We had to be very, very careful. It was the
Sherburne maintenance department that maintained the Trust
cottages and also maintained the Main Street store. It was
the Sherburne grounds department that came out and took care
of the yards, and trimming the bushes, and whatnot around


the cottages. All of the property was treated as if it was
an integral part of the whole of Sherburne. As far as
preservation is concerned, if we had people in those
cottages unrelated to Preservation Institute, we would take
PI:N people and put them in the hotels or put them in wharf
cottages. Blair Reeves, for several years, had one of the
cottages down on old South Wharf.
P: He showed it to us.
H: He lived in it.
P: He has lived in a variety of housing, he said.
H: The cottage he lived in on old south would rent seasonally
for about 30,000 a year. Obviously he was not charged. But
that worked very good, because it fulfilled the need for
Preservation Institute, got the program going. What did the
University of Florida contribute toward the program? They
contributed the people.
P: Now, before you get into that, you, as the financial
manager, you are really juggling three agencies--the Trust,
Sherburne and the Osceola Foundation.
H: Among others.
P: Among others. The Osceola Foundation it is sponsoring these
various companies--Executive Airlines was once owned by
them.
H: Oh, no. Osceola Foundation had, during the period of
Executive Airlines, no money. See, the money came in 1982
from Walter's mother.
P: Up until that time, Osceola was a holding company.


H: There was an Osceola investment company.
P: Okay.
H: It is a holding company of Sherburne, Christmas Club,
Executive Airlines, Big "B" Ranch.
P: All of these things then came under Osceola and Sherburne
was one of the arms of that.
H: That is right.
P: I was not clear on that. I have the names but I did not
know they relate.
H: There are a lot of Osceolas; you have got to keep them
street. Osceola is like an adjective.
P: We have got one in Florida and it was interesting to find
Osceola here in Nantucket and then to see that magnificent
portrait of Osceola in Walter's dining room.
H: That hung in the front door at Sherburne at Zero Main Street
for many years.
P: It is a beautiful piece.
H: The name, there was an Osceola Investment, Osceola
Operating, Osceola Foundation so you have got to have the
second word to go with it or you will never know what you
are talking about.
P: Well, the only one I had was the Osceola Company and that is
where I was going on the Christmas Club and the radio
station and so on.
H: When we sold Sherburne, what we really sold was Osceola
Investment Company in a stock deal. Winthrop [Winthrop
Financial Associates] bought the stock of Osceola Investment


Company and that is why they wound up with Christmas Club.
They did not want to buy Christmas Club; they did not know
what to do with it. They still do not. They bought
Sherburne but they had to buy the stock of Osceola
Investment Company and the minority interest of Sherburne.
That was an easy deal because the owners of the stock of
Osceola Investment were also minority owners of Sherburne.
That was not always true. When Larry Miller died, Walter
bought out his interest. Perry Ashley, the family lawyer,
had a small interest at one time.
P: Perry Ashley, he is a Nantucket lawyer or a Boston?
H: He is a New York lawyer. He lives in the Rye, New York area
and Osceola's headquarters for many years was New York City.
P: Yes, Walter told me that.
H: It was not until, I guess, about 1980 that Walter himself
really set up shop on Nantucket. Bud Sauer moved to
Nantucket and he was, at one time, a minority partner right
along with...(tape two)...office was closed and formed a
partnership with a fellow who had been Walter's tax advisor,
Bob Seaman.
P: Robert Seaman.
H: Over the years, those minority interests, a value was
established for them and Walter bought them out. So, that
by 1981 Sherburne and Osceola Investment was really Walter
and his four kids and periphally Mary Ann's four kids, the
trust that Walter set up for them.


P: How did it happen that Walter's mother left her money to the
foundation?
H: I think that was Walter's doing. He waives something like
sixty per cent of his inheritance and it went directly to
his four kids. Some portion of her estate was his doing. I
am sure that led to that going to the foundation.
P: What was the size of her estate?
H: I do not know.
P: Was it a large hunk that went to the foundation?
H: Upwards of three million. Somewhere between three and four
million.
P: And it went in then as an endowment?
H: Yes. But prior to that time the foundation really did not
have any funds to speak of; it did not have any assets.
P: Well, of course it has given it a lot of flexibility now.
H: But, the significance of the foundation is that when Blair
and Walter started thinking about how to be sure that these
activities, they had started some fifteen years before, last
beyond them. Walter started giving some thought to the
Sherburne, Nantucket Historic Trust involvement in it. That
kind of underlying support was not there. It had to be
replaced in some way or the activities of PI:N just could
not exist.
So, most of the assets of the historic trust were donated to
Preservation Institute. So, Preservation winds up with a
building on Main Street, three cottages and some vacant land
on the corner of Washington and Coffin, and we had to get


some dorms for them. So what we did was subdivide the
property on the corner of Washington and Coffin, so that the
vacant property which had some commercial market value could
go to Sherburne. Sherburne, in turn, would swap out the
dormitories. We had to get appraisals on both, because
relative value has to be there.
Since Walter had never been involved in an official capacity
as an officer, director or anything of the Preservation
Institute. He could deal with the Preservation Institute
and all of the sudden we had an entity here, that in theory
anyway, we could do business with. Which we did not have
with the trust.
So we created the real estate swap giving Sherburne some
vacant land along Washington Street in exchange for a bank
of dormitories at Summerset. That is your student housing
for PI:N.
For years, Walter had wanted to get his hands on what is
known as the Sherburne Hall. Originally he wanted to, it
really is not a historic building because its first building
built after the great fire of 1846 and in Nantucket terms,
that is not old. But it was a building that had some
significance and Walter is a frustrated carpenter to start
with, I told you. He loves to take on these renovation
projects.
P: Are you beginning now to describe the present building they
are in?
H: On Centre Street.


P: On Centre Street, all right.
H: We tried to buy that, I think, in 1984. It was owned by the
Odd Fellows [International Order of Odd Fellows] at the
time.
P: What attracted Walter to that particular building?
H: He wanted to rennovate it.
P: It was there and he wanted it. That is where the frustrated
carpenter comes in.
H: He, through the historic trust, made an offer on the
building to the Odd Fellows.
P: Now they used the upstairs, I presume, as a meeting place,
and the downstairs always had the stores?
H: Always had the stores, yes. We came up with a typical deal
that we kind of proposed which is convoluted and the Odd
Fellows, true to their name, could not understand it. So
they opted to take a competitive bid. At the time, I
thought we were just luckier than hell. We were offering
what I considered to be an outlandish price for that
property. No way in the world would we come out of that
thing whole. So, I wound up paying twice that for it two
years later.
P: You were offering more than the appraised value?
H: Well, we were offering the convoluted deal to get it. There
were a lot of downstream future payments and whatnot.
P: Only a financial wizard that would understand what you were
offering.


H: I was not sure why we were offering that much for the damn
thing.
P: Or why you were offering anything at all by the sound of
what you are saying.
H: I could have passed on it.
P: But you were only an advisor.
H: That is right.
P: You advised against it and the advises thought otherwise.
H: Sometimes, as an employee, you just bank your druthers and
help the boss figure out a way to do what he wants to do.
P: Since he is going to do it anyway. So the Odd Fellows then,
opt to take somebody else's bid.
H: There was a real estate operator from Connecticut, a fellow
by the name of Ewing that came in and acquired it. Ewing
took on a Nantucket real estate broker by the name of Pepper
Frazier.
P: How much did he buy it for?
H: I cannot remember that deal.
P: Less than a million?
H: No, it was more than a million. It was about maybe a
million and a quarter. The price we paid, the two and a
half million was damn near double what he paid two years
earlier and he had not done anything. He just bought it and
sat on it.
P: Sounds to me like he was a smart man, too.
H: He did quite well. He had big plans to do things with it,
none of which were ever approved by the Nantucket Planning


Board. He became frustrated with the town politics and
trying to get permits to do things he wanted to do. So he
finally just sold out and moved to Hilton Head [South
Carolina].
P: Decided to go south.
H: He made a deal i 1985 or 1986 to sell the property to his
partner, Pepper Frazier. Nantucket being the kind of place
it is, everybody knows everything. Certainly we have our
CIA and then if there was a deal there, we knew it. Walter
called Pepper and said, "Come on in. Let us talk about
this." With Walter Beinecke, you are being one of the great
salesmen of the world. Walter proceeded to explain to
Pepper why it would make a lot more sense, from Pepper's
point of view, to let Preservation Institute step in his
shoes and complete his deal with Ewing to acquire the
building. Preservation Institute would do the same thing
that he planned to do, that is condominiumize it. Only
Preservation Institute wanted to renovate the building.
P: They needed the space, the working space for the students.
H: Well, the building needed renovation; and Walter needed a
construction project; and PI:N needed a school. Because
heretofore, their academic activities have been conducted
from a variety of buildings. The years immediately prior to
this, they were down in the Profit School. But that space
was no longer going to be available to them and if you are
going to have a permanent program on Nantucket, you need a
permanent academic facility. So the logic was we would have


Preservation Institute by the Centre Street property, the
Sherburne Hall property. In lieu of Pepper Frazier, we
would renovate the building; condominiumize it; and then
sell off the stores on the first floor to pay for the costs
of the building and the renovation; winding up with the
upstairs, the old Odd Fellows meeting hall, as school space
for Preservation Institute.
P: Debt free.
H: Debt free. The hope being, at the conclusion of all this,
the assets of the Preservation Institute would be donated to
the University of Florida along with, possibly, some Osceola
Foundation cash.
P: Which would then go for the chair.
H: Would go for a chair to continue the activities. Hopefully,
in the renovation and sale of stores, we would generate
additional cash and ultimately cash for the chair would be
available through the whole process. At the same time in
1986, Walter was negotiating the sale of Sherburne. It was
clear that Walter's family had neither the ability or the
interest in running Sherburne.
Probably for ten years he had various plans of selling
Christmas Club anyway. Because Christmas Club is not the
kind of thing that you want to leave to your kids. It is a
highly specialized, personal business. It could be about as
successful as the guy who is doing it make it. It is not
the kind of thing that an amateur can manage. It is a hands
on doing thing. It is like a distributorship.


I convinced Walter in the early 1980s that he could not
afford to sell Christmas Club, even if we could find a
buyer. He needed the cash flow and he needed the sheltering
of Sherburne. The Sherburne book losses and the Christmas
Club really is a cash cow for he and his family. You are
taking a million dollars a year out of there.
Finally, I guess I convinced him. A combination of C.H.
Gifford and I convinced him and he grudgingly acknowledged
that we were probably right. Since we had come to that
conclusion, it was our responsibility to run it. So for a
period of three or four years, once a month, C.H. and I
would either travel to Easton or travel to New York City and
meet with the fellows out there, carry the religion.
P: And then you found a buyer?
H: No, we never found a buyer, it was just part of Osceola
Investment and the deal he struck in selling Sherburne was
the sale of the common stock of Osceola Investment. So,
Christmas Club went along with it.
P: Now, what is Winthrop?
H: Real estate syndication type thing.
P: Out of where?
H: Boston.
P: How did all of this arrangement take place?
H; Well, even before the spring of 1986, Walter had been
debating how to sell Sherburne. Sherburne itself is a mixed
bag. It is not what you would call "a" business. What is
involved in running a resort or a hotel or a restaurant, is


different from acting as landlord to a bunch of buildings.
So, on one hand it was a real estate company, on the other
hand it was a resort business. We talked to several people
in Boston about, "how do you sell Sherburne?" Do you find a
single buyer over a period of time? are you better off
liquidating it or liquidating parts of it so what you are
selling is a resort business? a real estate business? but
not a mixed bag.
Ashley and I were under the impression that we would do
better over a three or four year period liquidating it.
Possibly even condominiumizing the marina. Other Boston
real estate people involved in looking at it had just the
contrary opinion. In the final analysis, you never know
which way to go until somebody is ready to put money on the
table. I think, also, Walter vacillated.
P: He hated to give it up.
H: He was very, very close to the Gifford family.
P: Who are they?
H: Well, C.H. I have described.
P: Okay, all right.
H: C.H. had three sons, tall, charismatic, good-looking guys.
One of them is president of the Bank of Boston today.
Another guy is artistically inclined, is an architect. A
very successful restaurant operator and resort operator,
John Gifford. Then there is the oldest of the boys was Dunn
Gifford. Dunn got involved in politics. He was on Bobby
Kennedy's staff, was with Bobby Kennedy when he was shot in


L.A. He had been a navigator, I think, in one of the first
America's Cups following World War II. Then had a rather
checkered business career, largely an opportunist. Of
course all the Giffords were very close. Walter looked on
the three Gifford boys as sort of surrogate kids of his own.
P: Almost family.
H: The momentum and impetus to sell Sherburne is really because
the inheritance of his family was invested in Sherburne.
P: And it was obvious to Walter that his own kids had neither
the interest nor perhaps the ability to take on this
operation.
H: That is right. And if that were the case, it would make
more sense, from their point of view, to cash out rather
than be collectively be involved in an investment in real
estate operation.
P: Which they could care less about. They wanted to the money.
H: And they should have it. I mean from their own financial
planning point of view, they would be better off investing
in marketable securities elsewhere. So, from that
perspective, if Walter could find somebody to come in and
take out his kid's involvement and investment in Sherburne,
he might even have opted to stay in.
Well, along came Dunn Gifford after all of the leg work had
been done and offered to see if he could raise a purchase
price set by Walter. Which, in Walter's eyes, would take
out his kids and he and Dunn would continue to run
Sherburne. In Dunn's eyes, he was buying out the Beinecke


family, including Walter. The two of them never came to
grips with that fundamental impasse. But Dunn was like the
surrogate son and in Walter's eyes he could do no wrong.
Most of us were very doubtful that Dunn would be able to
pull this thing off because, obviously, he did not have
funds like this.
But Dunn's idea was "Nantucket has a certain magic to it and
there is a lot of money here involved in summer people and
what I will do in come in and raise the purchase price with
a bunch of summer guys that want to have a piece of the
rock." It never panned out that way and we had three
different closings and Dunn defaulted on all three of then.
I guess this went on for nine months or so. In the
beginning, Walter recognized that his desires might not be
in the best interest of his family, his kids. Because on
one hand he was dealing with somebody that he was
practically one of these kids and on the other hand he is
trying to do the best he can for his own natural kids. So
he went to Milbank-Tweed in New York City, one of the big
law firms. He got the head of Milbank-Tweed to take on the
job of representing his kids and protect his kid's interests
from he and Dunn.
So when Dunn began to default on all of these closings, the
up-front ante kept going up to the point where Dunn had two
million dollars at risk and probably close to a million
dollars invested in various advisors who were trying to help


him to raise fifty-five million dollars which was, all of us
thought, a very good price for Sherburne. Ashley and I
figured we could probably get somewhere between thirty-five
and forty million liquidating over a period of time. So if
you can find a group that will pay you fifty-five million up
front, that is a better deal.
Walter was absolutely convinced, through all the defaults,
that Dunn, in the final analysis, would pull this off. Not
a doubt in his mind. He saw in Preservation Institute, a
chance for Dunn to acquire even more commercial property
than that held by Sherburne. There is the property on Main
Street. He is just buying a building that has six stores in
it. Walter needs somebody who can raise money. Because
here is Preservation Institute that does not have any money,
nor an income stream, about to buy a buy a building for two
and a half million dollars and renovate it.
So he cut a deal with Dunn Gifford to have Gifford raise the
money to renovate the building in return for which he would
give Gifford and his group an option to acquire three of the
stores on Centre Street and the Main Street Building which
again, is three more stores, at a very attractive price.
All of which would be logical if Gifford were the buyer of
Sherburne. Figuring that with this acquisition, together
with Sherburne, Gifford would be controlling upwards of
sixty or seventy per cent of the core district commercial
property.


Dunn organized an entity called Aquatane Property Trust, of
which he was trustee, to acquire independently of Sherburne,
certain commercial retail store properties.
P: On Nantucket?
H: In the core district of Nantucket, yes. Sherburne had a
right of first refusal on two stores on Salem Street that
were owned by Morgan Levine. Levine had a deal to sell
them.
P: Who is Mr. Levine?
H: A Nantucket person who has since retired, left the island
for health reasons. But Morgan was a well-established
retailer and owned some down town commercial property.
Dunn, acting through Aquatane, stuffed into Morgan's deal,
and using Sherburne's right of first refusal, acquired the
two stores on Salem Street. He acquired another store on
Easy Street, again, directly from Sherburne. Sherburne had
owned it and thought we had a deal with Pepper Frazier.
That deal fell down and this store was marked for
liquidation anyway as part of the Alpha Real Estate going
on.
We wound up selling [to] Aquatane the store on Easy Street.
Gifford also acquired a convenience grocery store out of
town across from the fire station. Which he renamed Fire
House Market. These real estate transactions were all
highly leveraged. That is, Morgan took back paper for a
number of months.


He got a mortgage on the Fire House Market. There was also
a second mortgage which was part of the deal with the owner,
paper given to the owner. Dunn was able to raise some
money, obviously, to get these transactions off the ground,
in the way of down payments and initial funding. He and
Preservation Institute entered into a deal whereby he would
agree to undertake the renovation of Centre Street in
exchange for options to acquire three stores at Centre
Street and the Main Street property at significantly
advantageous prices.
P: This is the proposition you had made originally to him.
H: The Preservation Institute concluded its deal with Pepper
Frazier. Whereby it acquired the Center Street building
under the terms of Pepper's deal with Ewing. Part of that
deal was that Pepper would buy from Preservation Institute
right at the closing of unit number six. The reason for
that is unit six would not be involved in the renovation
other than the store front itself, the skin on the exterior.
But there was a fire wall. That unit happened to be a two-
story unit and it really was outside of the lion's share of
the scope of the renovations.
P: Was this the unit that Walter talked about possibly
providing the income for PI:N?
H: No. Pepper was also given the option on two other units at
very advantageous prices. So, that from Frazier's
standpoint, he would come out where he would have come out
with his own deal, anyway. That is he would have his real


estate office next to his wife's store and sell unit four,
pocketing the cash. That would have been the profit he
would have had in the deal anyway. Only he would be
involved in a lot better building, if he had allowed us to
renovate it for him. Of course he did not want to, up
front, acquire two units which soon would not be much more
than a hole in the ground. So he took an option until the
conclusion of the renovation on four and five, but he went
ahead and picked up six right at the outset.
Osceola Foundation advanced the funds to Preservation
Institute through loans which allowed them to close the
transaction then with Ewing and acquire the building.
P: Always when you are talking about preservationists, you are
talking singly about Walter Beinecke.
H: I am talking about PI:N.
P: I say but this is Walter Beinecke. People like Blair Reeves
and the University of Florida, they are not involved in
these negotiations at all.
H: No, no. This was Walter acting for them, with their
knowledge.
P: I understand. Yes, but I mean he is making the deals.
H: He is making the deals. Although Aquatane was to do the
renovation, in this sense, it is really Walter Beinecke.
Because how it was renovated, supervision of the renovation
was all Walter. As I said, a frustrated contractor and he
needed a project and Preservation Institute acquired a
sidewalk superintendent.


P: During the course of which you broke his leg.
H: That is right. The renovations started. The idea being
that you would go through the 1986 season, start your
renovation in the fall, go through the summer season, which
really runs until after Columbus Day. Then go through the
winter with the renovation, try and get the renovations
substantially done by the spring of 1987.
P: When the students arrive.
H: Then start selling those stores to pay for the cost of the
renovation. In this scenario, you get two transactions
going on with Gifford in parallel. One Aquatane and the
renovation of Center Street; and secondly Gifford's trying
to raise money to buy Sherburne.
On the Sherburne front he failed. He went through three
different defaults on closings. As I indicated earlier, he
had close to three million dollars at risk. Two million in
deposit that he was going to have to forfeit coming through
the year, bearing in mind that the tax laws were changing at
the end of 1986. Significant changes in the tax laws and
some of the tax advantages available in 1986 would be gone
in 1987. So from a seller's point of view, we had to
conclude the transaction in 1986. If, for some reason,
Gifford was going to fail, we had a backup plan. Which
would have allowed us to trigger the gains that would have
been in the sale anyway. Ashley and I then would have
liquidated Sherburne. I would have had to borrow enough
money to pay the taxes on gains that were there, but for


which there would have been no sale and therefore cash to
pay the tax. I would have borrowed the funds to do that and
we would have gone to work liquidating the place in 1987 and
retired the debt.
So we had an alternate plan if everything failed and we just
hit the wall there at the end of the year. Gifford failed
to raise the money. In the last thirty days prior to the
end of the year he finally recognized and gave up on the
fact that he was going to be able to raise the money and
began desperately looking around to find some way to recoup
the three million that was at risk.
The New York law firm was adamant they were going to
confiscate the two million dollars that had been put up. In
other words, you are just not going to give them their money
back and say nice try fellows. Gifford got a hold of Arthur
Halleran.
P: And who is he again?
H: He is the chairman of Winthrop Financial Associates, a real
estate syndication firm in Boston. Dunn had Winthrop step
in and take his deal and Winthrop wound up buying Sherburne,
actually buying the common stock of Osceola. So, he picked
up Christmas Club right along with it.
P: And it saved Gifford's neck.
H: It saved Gifford his three million. Gifford cut his own
deal with Winthrop and there were minor modifications made
to the Beinecke deal with Gifford to accommodate Winthrop.


The Beinecke's were able to realize the fifty-five million
dollar sale price.
P: That they wanted.
H: Winthrop, in the next three months, took about ninety-
percent of what was then Sherburne and turned around and
syndicated it for eighty-six million. So from that
standpoint it was a satisfactory deal all the way around.
The Beinecke's have a carried interest in Sherburne. That
is, in seven years from the date of the sale, Sherburne will
either be revalued and any further appreciation, to the
extent that they had carried interest, they will get that.
Or if there is a sale of Sherburne by the syndicated
partnership, within the seven year period, to the extent
there is an appreciation, the Beinecke family would realize
that.
Gifford also failed in raising money for Aquatane. Which,
obviously, is in parallel. When his acquisition of
Sherburne failed it was guaranteed that Aquatane would fail.
Dunn was then unable to complete his financial obligation to
fund the acquisition and renovation of the building,
although the renovation had already started. I think the
day after the closing to acquire the Centre Street property.
P: Walter arrived with his saw and hammer.
H: The great white father was out on Centre Street directing an
army of carpenters.
P: Was Robert Hawkins, did you have any vested interest in any
of this?


H: Vested interest, no.
P: I mean, you were still operating as an employee?
H: As an employee, yes. I guess at the conclusion of the sale
of Sherburne, as a gesture of loyalty, the Beinecke family
gave me $125,000.00. But, I had no equity anywhere along
the line.
I believe something like a half a million dollars was owed
to various contractors on the renovation of Centre Street
when it was clear that Gifford would be unable to perform.
So, we collectively sat down and tried to figure out what
the hell do we do now. Here is a guy who has an option to
acquire one building and three stores, but the way the
contract was written there was nothing he had to do in order
to earn the option. The option was granted to him in the
contract going in. In exchange for the renovations which he
failed to perform. Nor was there any time frame on his
option to acquire this property at the bargain prices so he
was perfectly free to exercise his option at the front end
rather than the back end.
He did have upwards of $100,000 into the renovation on
Centre Street. But nowhere near what level of work had been
performed by the contractors and there was no was
Preservation Institute could step in front of Aquatane and
say as long as that deal with Aquatane is in place.
P: They did not have the resources anyway.
H: Well, they could get the resources from OFI [Osceola
Foundation, Inc.]. But if we did that, Gifford could simply


say, "Well, I have no time frame to do this renovation. I
have not planned to do it now. I planned to do it three
years from now. Thanks very much for paying these
contractors for me." We would never see that money again.
So it was a bad deal with Aquatane. It was a badly written
contract and we had some problems.
We had to cut another deal with Gifford to get ourselves
separated, ourselves being Preservation Institute--get
separated from Gifford and terminate the two options. Since
there were no obligations with Gifford time framewise to do
anything to earn the right to have the option, I had to get
him on the default. The only defaults I could get him on,
since he was not obligated timewise to do anything on the
renovation, was the failure to pay real estate taxes and
insurance. That was not a lot of money. He had not paid
the insurance and he had not paid the real estate taxes
which were collectively, I think, less than $11,000. I am
sure he could raise $11,000 pretty easily. So, we sent him
the termination notice, a default notice on the payment of
taxes and insurance. He had something like ten days to cure
the default, otherwise he was going to lose his options.
Just as I expected, checks started to come in.
But Gifford is not a meticulous, careful guy. What he did
was pay two real estate tax bills and one insurance bill but
forgot to pay the other. So we thought he had cured the
default; in fact he did not and on a technicality we sent
him a termination notice on the option. Absolutely


convinced that he would immediately turn around and sue and
were going to be involved in costly litigation. So we opted
in lieu of the litigation to try and reach a financial
settlement. Walter's objective was to get done the funds
that he had put into the renovation, get those back to him.
P: Walter was still looking upon him as a family person.
H: No, not at this point.
P: Too much had happened.
H: Way too much had happened. The last week of the closing on
the sale to Winthrop, Walter realized how he had been
betrayed by Dunn. The things Dunn had done to bring
Winthrop in and cause them to take Dunn's place at the
closing, which involved some matters concerning Nantucket
Electric Company. Part of the side deal Dunn had cut had
been to commit to deliver the Nantucket Electric real estate
to Winthrop. That came out of the closing and it made
representations that this has all been discussed and
approved by the board of the electric company. I was a
member of that board and I do not remember any discussions.
P: So Walter realized that Dunn had done him in.
H: Yes, he had been betrayed. Dunn had gotten very close to
Walter and had used that to betray Walter in his own best
interest. There was not an attitude of punish or
vindictiveness, it was just sadness at the tragedy in it and
a desire to separate and go his own way.
P: After all of these many years of association and friendship.


H: Yes, but here again, I think it is illustrated in the
negotiation with Aquatane through Preservation Institute
that "let us get the guy his money back, recognize he is not
going to be able to do what he committed to do" and he would
have made some money on that Main Street Store. We figured
he might make a couple thousand dollars on that store.
Walter's desire was to see that he got half of it anyway,
for trying. So that there was not a bitter vindictiveness
at that point. I to not think there has ever been any
vindictiveness but there certainly has been a lot of
bitterness since then. At that point it was just sadness
over the tragedy of it all.
P: Walter has maintained his relationship with the other
members of the Gifford family?
H: The relationship with the father was disrupted because of
the son. As far as the rest of the family is concerned, he
has maintained his relationship with the two boys and the
daughter.
From Walter's perspective, he was not attacking Dunn in any
sense, he was just simply separating himself from it. Dunn
had a lot of problems. So, under the circumstances, he was
chairman of Nantucket Electric Company. He was drawing an
$85,000 salary. He had not only betrayed Beinecke and
Beinecke's trust, he had betrayed the stockholders of
Nantucket Electric, making representations and warranting
this and that he could not deliver on.
P: So he retreated from the island?


H: Essentially that is true. During the electric company stock
holder meeting in March of 1987, Gifford was informed he
would not be re-elected chairman. As a face saving act, he
was allowed to remain on the board of directors for one year
but his association with the company would have to stop.
P: And his $85,000 presumably stopped.
H: Yes, and Dunn, naturally, took this all as a personal attack
on him. So the father's attitude, immediately was, "Well,
an attack on my son is an attack on me." So that
interrupted the relationship that Walter and the father had
enjoyed their entire adult lives.
P: Meanwhile the work is continuing on the Centre Street
property, the renovation.
H: And the bills are getting bigger. There are no funds there
to see the contractors. So, it was obvious with the
termination of the arrangement with Aquatane we had to find
another funding source. Whether we wanted to or not,
Preservation Institute was going to have to go in the real
estate business and complete this project. So, with the
conclusion of a termination agreement with Aquatane, then
OFI could safely advance funds to the extent they had money
to PI:N. And then on top of that, I went out and got a bank
loan for PI:N with Bank of New England.
P: Now, once again, this is Walter. None of these other--Blair
knows nothing about financial arrangements and the
University of Florida is a long way away.


H: No, this is Walter. And what would induce Bank of New
England to loan a million and a half dollars to a non-profit
charity with no revenue source? guarantees from the Osceola
Foundation and Walter Beinecke. The renovation finally was
done.
P: Was it above budget?
H: Quite a bit. I am not sure whether the renovation was ever
professionally laid out, thought out, planned out and costed
out. There was a budget, something in the vicinity of
$800,000. What was done was about something in the range of
a million and a half.
P: That is a big above budget.
H: Walter is not known to be held back by budgets.
P: Or to cut corners.
H: The renovation took much longer than anticipated, cost a
great deal more than anticipated and it took all of our
borrowing ability and stretched the liquidity of the Osceola
Foundation Endowment to keep the project going and see it
through.
At the conclusion, I do not think it was ever happily
concluded. We quit because we ran out of time as well as
ran out of funds. The students were ready to go the next
day and the sewers had not been connected. The tenants were
ready to move then, the time was here, the bell was ringing,
the season was starting. They had to get the damn
carpenters the hell out.
P: School was starting.


H: Whether they were done or not. That is kind of the way it
ended. Some of the things planned for out back were never
really done.
P: I forgot to look out the back windows.
H: We then had to find buyers and the most logical buyer,
obviously, is Winthrop. Winthrop, after acquiring
Sherburne, sat on their hands for one year. They did not do
a thing. The Sherburne syndication was a successful
syndication; it sold out in very short time. They then
decided that Nantucket real estate had a syndication value
and we started buying up other commercial property.
Anything they could lay their hands on at enormous prices.
They wound up with a hodgepodge of properties. They wanted
to acquire all of the Sherburne Hall commercial property
that we could deliver. At that time, it was really three
stores was all we could deliver. Pepper Frazier had an
option on units four and five and already owned and was
operating a store in unit six. We at Preservation Institute
had a building on Main Street and so we entered into a deal
with Winthrop to buy the Main Street property and three of
the stores on Centre Street at very good prices and
concluded a sale in I guess the winter of 1988.
P: Pepper Frazier--let us go back to Pepper and his options to
acquire four and five.
(tape three)
H: The deposit of $50,000. Essentially, Pepper's deal was that
he could acquire four and five for $500,000 in cash and a


note for $200,000 payable two years downstream. The units
had a market value, we felt at that time, of $600,000 each
or a million two. So that, of course, that value is pretty
well confirmed by what Winthrop was willing to pay.
Pepper is a guy that is not naturally likeable. He is not
particularly straight either. Has a track record of, "if
you give him an opening or shake his hand, you better count
all your fingers." Pepper gave us a notice that he intended
to exercise his option, which is, that he did not trust
Walter. He did not send him $50,000. The local lawyer,
Arthur Reed, pointed that out. First of all, his option had
expired. He had an option, through, I think March 1 of that
year and this was the end of March. He had not come in with
a $50,000 deposit with a notice that the option is required.
So, you got a legal basis to claim that he had not exercised
his option and if he wants to buy the property, you have to
re-trade the deal. So, that was the position the
Preservation Institute took, obviously Walter Beinecke took.
My thought was, the best thing they could do was re-trade a
reasonable deal, come up maybe $100,000-200,000 and then go
ahead and close, but get the money and get on with our
lives. Pepper saw it differently. For some reason he was
in a litigating mood. He was suing three other realtors on
Nantucket and as long as he had the attention of half the
litigators in Boston, he figured he might as well throw us
in the hopper too.


He filed suit on us and, of course, the title to units four
and five were tied up during the course of that litigation.
That is two years at a cost of maybe $150,000. That meant
that the unwinding of the plan to buy, renovate, and sell
the downstairs stores could not be concluded in the time
period we planned. Consequently bank loans had to stay in
place, interest was expended and it got to be a real
boondoggle.
We won the lawsuit. We should have won it in two months but
it ran for two years at a tremendous cost. Still
undetermined is whether or not Preservation Institute can
collect the legal fees put out. When we won the suit and
Pepper opted not to appeal it, the cloud on the title was
lifted and we were then free to sell. We now had no buyer
and the real estate market on Nantucket was heading south.
Things were getting very soft. One season, one of the
stores just simply sat idle and had no tenant. Otherwise,
just to keep cash flow coming in, Barbara Bennett, Walter's
secretary, was scrambling around trying to find tenants to
keep the place at least occupied.
We finally made a deal this spring with a young woman who
has made a big name for herself on Nantucket selling tee-
shirts, Ann Teasdale. Walter cut a deal with her for a
$600,000 price which is probably a bit high and Ann Teasdale
had a difficult time getting a mortgage. So we finally had
to, in order to keep the $600,000 price, we had to take a
couple of hundred thousand back in paper ourselves.


P: But if her business is successful, it is a good investment.
H: Two years ago, or two seasons ago, really, an architect came
in as a tenant with an option to buy. The option is
$575,000 all cash, I believe running through September or
October of 1991. His business started to falter and it
really was not a good location for him. Being an architect
you do not need a storefront. So he made arrangements with
one of the artists down on old South Wharf to display her
products in the store, literally subleasing. A second round
of litigation started as we use in default on his rent. We
alleged that he had sublet the place without our consent.
Walter was hopeful that he could get the guy out of there
quickly. It had been my experience and had Walter thought
about it, it had been his experience, that when you got a
lease and you are trying to throw a tenant out, it is a
year's job. But we started down that avenue so we were
involved in other litigation.
P: Walter told me that five of the six had been sold.
H: That is right, five of the six had been sold. One remains.
P: And one remains. This is the one you are talking about now,
the architect.
H: Yes. As long as that thing is in litigation and the guy is
in there with a lease, you are not going to be able to sell
that store.
P: That is exactly what Walter told me.
H: At the same time, recognizing Walter, his personal
situation, his health.


P: And his sadness and all of those things.
H: It seems to me that the best thing we could do is conclude
this thing this summer. One way or the other so that
Preservation Institute would be where we started out three
years ago together. That is it would have the trust
cottages, the dormitories and the school free and clear and
then see what kind of deal could be worked out with the
University of Florida.
P: Is that going to be achievable?
H: That is done.
P: It is done.
H: Preservation Institute had net advances of $660,000
outstanding from all of this, from Osceola. After the
Teasdale sale, it had a note receivable from Ann Teasdale
for $200,000, payable in three equal installments, I guess--
September 1991, 1992 and 1993. And some sort of deferred
obligation to the broker in that real estate transaction.
The broker was not paid out of the closing and the broker is
going to get paid out as Ann Teasdale puts up the money.
When she pays the note, then we pay the broker.
P: Now when President Lombardi and Bob [Robert R.] Lindgren
[Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs,
University of Florida] were here recently, I mean is all of
this going to be now done within a reasonable period of
time.
H: It is all done right now.
P: I see.


H: I worked out with Perry Ashley a deal whereby unit five, the
one unsold unit and the note from Ann Teasdale for $200,000
be transferred to Osceola Foundation. In connection
therewith OFI waives any claim on the $660,000 that had been
advanced to PI:N and assumes the downstream obligation to
the real estate broker. So, settlement of the lawsuit is
now the problem of OFI. The sale of unit five is the
problem of OFI and the collection of the note from Ann
Teasdale is the problem of OFI. OFI no longer has any claim
against PI:N for funds advanced during this period. So
today, Preservation Institute stands with real estate
represented by the faculty housing and the student housing
and the school, free and clear.
P: Now, I understand PI:N is incorporated in Massachusetts. It
would dissolve that?
H: Not for profit corporation. What you would do is simply
convey the assets out of PI:N for the Foundation
P: To the University of Florida Foundation. Has this been the
reason why the University of Florida Foundation has not
acquired this earlier, it had to wait until all of these
things took place.
H: Yes.
P: So it has not been any reluctance on the part of the
University to acquire?
H: No, it is just what we were trying to do took a couple of
years longer than what we thought it would.


P: I know that the University of Florida Foundation does not
like to hold real estate and this is real estate a long way
away from Gainesville, Florida.
H: The University of Florida Foundation knew about the overall
plan at the outset back in 1986. Bob Bryan [Univeristy of
Florida Foundation, Inc.] was president of Preservation
Institute, he was also the head of the Foundation down
there. The objectives were well-known and clear in
everybody's mind.
P: So everybody understood.
H: There has been one fundamental change. Because of the time
period and the cost of the renovation and the litigation,
the funds that were anticipated in 1986 are not there. The
Foundation does not like to hold property outside of the
state of Florida, unless there is an endowment to maintain
that property.
P: It does not even like to hold it within the State of Florida
unless it is endowed. It tells you that right fast.
H: So what needs to be worked out is whether the University of
Florida now has an interest in continuing the program,
taking the property and if so, to what extent is Osceola
Foundation then willing to put up cash to endow the
continuation and the maintenance of the property?
P: So it is going to be up to Osceola and the University of
Florida Foundation to work this arrangement out of who is
going to be responsible for maintenance, et cetera.
H: Yes.


P: Who is going to pay the electric bills and who is going to
mow the lawn and do all of those wonderful things. Did you
get any commitment from Lombardi when they were here last
month.
H: No, I just met Lombardi at a cocktail party. I talked to
him for maybe ten minutes. Walter had an extensive talk to
him. My understanding there is no commitment. If I were
Lombardi, I would want to get my new dean of the school of
architecture on board.
P: He has just been appointed.
H: And see where he is with regard to this.
P: And Lombardi himself has just come aboard in March so he is
trying to learn the whole university.
H: Lombardi told Walter that he was inclined to do it but he
wanted time to evaluate things, that he really would not be
in a position to sit down and discuss the thing in any kind
of depth with Walter probably for a year and that is where
it was left. From my standpoint, I think I have done what I
started out to do and that is get us to the point where we
have faculty housing, dormitories and school, free and
clear.
P: Just let me ask you, just out of curiosity, rather than for
the historical record at all, I saw the dormitories last
night for the very first time. Blair took us touring on
Sunday but we did not have time to go. They looked pretty
dilapidated to me and I was just wondering why there had not
been more maintenance of the properties all along.


H: Well, the dormitories looked dilapidated to me too. But
most employee housing on Nantucket looks the same way.
P: So everything is relative than and I was only seeing that
one example. Okay, you answered my question. The cottage
we are staying in is very nice. So, I guess I was comparing
everything to that.
H: The Winthrop dormitories are right there too and they are in
no better shape.
P: Well, I saw something that looked very dilapidated. It
looked like it was closed up next door to it and I thought,
"My God, are they getting ready to tear this down or is this
a historic building or something.
H: Well, the farm building out there, that is abandoned and it
is about ready to fall down. That is a problem though,
because of that structure, everything is grandfathered. You
could not reconstruct the dormitories today with Nantucket
zoning. So, when we owned Sherburne it was in our best
interest to keep that damn farmhouse from falling over so we
can preserve everything that is there.
P: I see. Bob, how did you get into the electric business?
H: Well, in March of 1987, Walter had the problem with Dunn and
came down to the electric company as chairman and chief
executive officer. I came with him as financial
administrative officer and then became president a year
later.
P: You succeeded Dunn then.


H: Yes. The electric company, like everything on Nantucket, we
think we are all unique. There are a lot of unique problems
associated with this little company. We are the smallest
industrial owned utility in the state of Massachusetts, by a
factor of four. We have a base load twenty mega-watt
generating plant down town. We are the only company even
approaching this size totally dependent on its own
generation. There is no cable interconnecting the island
with the northeast grid. So were isolated. Thirty miles at
sea with no interconnection, totally dependent on your own
generation. The useful life of a diesel generator, and that
is what we have here, we burn number two diesel fuel, your
home heating oil, as our fuel in the generation.
The useful life of a diesel generator is about twenty years.
There are no utilities in the United States with generators
in operation and on-line more than twenty years old. We
have seven base-load generators. The newest was acquired in
1977. The next one was 1972. So, five years from now, even
the newest and the largest of our generators will be
approaching twenty years. We have generators now that are
in use, in operation that are over forty years old. There
has never been a plan to replace generation. So, we are
rapidly reaching a point where you got a base-load twenty
mega-load plant that is going to hit the wall. All of it is
going to have to be replaced in a rather short time. That
is a twenty million dollar problem.


We have gone through a period between 1983 nd 1988 of just
explosive growth. We had double digit growth in demand.
There is no other utility in the United States that has had
double digit growth. If somebody has six per cent growth in
demand, that is run away growth. The company has had very
little data. It was a one dimensional business, generation
and distribution. It had no billing data. It had no data
base; generation data was not maintained; the accounting was
a manual accounting system, the type you would see at the
turn of the century. So, in terms of getting a grip on what
the heck our business is, what is our data, what kind of
business have we got, who uses power, and where is our
generating pattern? We had been three years in building
this up and coming to grips with where the problems are.
Our other big problem is we are just too damn small a
utility to exist in this type of regulated environment. We
had a rate case. The cost of the rate case was well over
800,000, for a company with a net worth of 3,000,000.
P: That is a lot.
H: That means you have got to borrow $800,000 to pay lawyers,
consultants, professional witnesses and whatnot. Then you
get to recover that $800,000 over a four-year period but all
you do is recover it. The cost of money is not included in
the recovery, you cannot earn on it. We have, supposedly,
an annual ten-year supply and demand forecast that should go
into the Citing Council. We probably got $275,000 invested
in the Citing Council filing that we made in April of this


year. Hearings probably will be held beginning in
September. I do not, in here, have a copy of that damn
thing.
P: Do you continue to work with Walter Beinecke as a financial
advisor?
H: No.
P: Did that end with the sale?
H: Well, it really has not ended with the sale because the two
of us came into the company here together. He has not been
active in the company for two years. He continued as
chairman, really in name only, until this March. Then
agreed to continue as a director, but his personal situation
being what it is, he opted to resign even as a director,
which he did last week. My involvement with the Beinecke
family, in other words, his kids financial affairs, stopped
with the sale. And I was involved with OFI and PI:N.
P: You said that your relationship with Walter ended or at
least as financial advisor to his children, the family,
ended with the sale.
H: I have been close to him as a friend and still am, but we
were closer when the two of us were down here than we may be
today. I see him maybe two or three times a week.
P: Does he come to you for advice?
H: Only when he wants to hear it. Walter, once he knows you
pretty well, he knows what kind of advice he is going to
get. So if he wants to hear what you are going to tell him,
why he will come and tell you.


P: What is your role as treasurer of the Preservation
Institute.
H: My role, as I view it, for the last three years is to
complete the project that we started out in 1986 to do. I
am not an architect, artistically inclined. I started out
to help Walter accomplish what he wanted to accomplish
through PI:N in 1986. As I saw time was beginning to get
short and we better get to where we were going to try to get
to soon. Because somebody may not be around here to see it
through, otherwise. And that is why I was pushing this
summer to conclude this and get it to the point where OFI,
which is now really Walter's family, more than it is him,
and the University of Florida can sit down and decide what
it is they are going to do. But my job, as far as
completing the financial aspects of the thing, getting the
banks paid out, is done.
P: Did you ever play any role in budgeting PI:N's day to day
operations? None of that entered you?
H: Oh, I have been involved in helping Ron Haas and Susan Tate
[AIA, Director, PI:N] occasionally but I really do not have
that close an involvement. I am not involved in the
operation of the school and have no interest or time to get
involved in it.
P: Who pays the telephone bill or who tends to those kinds of
things?
H: Originally, obviously Sherburne did for seventeen years.
Now there is no more Sherburne so Osceola did.


P: When you say Osceola you meant somebody like Barbara?
H: Yes, the Foundation. I guess the University of Florida has
begun to lay out some cash in the last year or so. Their
contribution heretofore was supplying people to operate the
program. But they have expended some money. Something
probably in the range of eight to ten thousand dollars so
that the telephones that you see at Centre Street I think
are being paid by the University of Florida.
P: I was just wondering, telephone, lights, office expenses,
those kinds of things.
H: My objective all along is that we put PI:N in the real
estate business reluctantly. We did not want them in the
real estate business and they did not want to get into it.
I did not want PI:N to get caught up in it and that is easy
to happen so we kept everything separate.
P: They wanted to teach students.
H: And not have to worry about leasing property. They have got
to learn how to maintain property, though. Because if they
are going to continue, they have got property.
P: And I can see that is a problem because Susan was out there
mowing the lawn on Sunday.
H: That is right. I think in a nutshell, that was the problem
with Ron Haas. He wanted to teach school; he did not want
to get involved with managing anything and you have to
manage.
P: That will not be easy since most of these people are down in
Gainesville most of the year.


H: Some type of arrangement to maintain the property has got to
be worked out. Somebody has to assume responsibility to do
that.
P: Maybe that is why Lombardi is going to need to think about
this for a long time. Do you see its continuing?
H: Oh, I hope it does.
P: Of course, it is so significant. There are so few
universities in the United States that are into this
preservation activity.
H: I think that the impact it has is illustrated when your new
dean showed up here this summer. There was a visiting
lecturer who came up and introduced himself and indicated
that he was up here giving a slide show and talk the
following Monday morning. He was here with his wife, "By
God, I am a 1974 graduate of this program" and he is now in
charge of the Ellis Island renovation. There was no
equivocation.
P: They say that there are three of them like that now.
H: No equivocation, this guy was enormously proud of his
association. Although, obviously the association had to be
limited to a period of weeks. It is now like "By God, I
went to Michigan State for four years." Not only was he
proud of his association, but interested enough that he
wanted to do his bit to carry it on and to help it now as
part of the faculty.
P: I just hope that it does not stop when Blair and Walter, for
whatever reasons, move off the scene.


H: Well, I do too. Obviously it is entirely possible that it
might and that is one of my objectives. While both of those
guys are around to sort out what the alternates are.
P: And to put it on a businesslike basis.
H: Let us bring this thing to a head so that one of you guys
does not go off into the wherever and leave it to guys who
really did not have the foresight that they did in getting
this thing off the ground.
P: How do you see Walter Beinecke as a man. I know that you
obviously have great affection for him. You have worked
with him for a while.
H: I think he is a guy with an enormous breadth of interest,
great vision. Among the people I have known in my life, I
would say that Walter would certainly rank among the top two
or three guys; he is a giant among men.
P: You two have worked beautifully because it seems to me, as
an outsider looking at it and meeting you and talking to you
only for the very first time, that he is the guy that comes
up with these big, grand concepts and you have been here to
say, "This is the way you can go to achieve those particular
goals." Have you been able to say, "No, you cannot do this
at all."
H: All the time.
P: And does he stop there?
H: Sometimes. I may, as a financial guide, may be more
inclined his way, than most financial guides would be. I
will try things that we should not get into.


P: And some of them have worked?
H: And some of them have worked. Obviously, the description of
how we got involved in the renovation program on Centre
Street, it is a program that a sane person would not have
undertaken, but we did and we got there.
P: You finished it.
H: There are a few loose ends but the loose ends are swept off
into OFI and they can be handled and will be handled in
time. But as far as Preservation Institute, we are at where
we intended to get to two years later and without some of
the cash that we thought we would have.
P: I guess though it has come a very long way since Blair and
Walter first became associated way back in the early 1970s.
H: Oh, absolutely.
P: They certainly could not have dreamed at that time what was
going to develop--space and cottages and real estate and
foundations and all of this kind of other activity.
H: Well, right up until 1986, PI:N was nothing more than a
summer extension course for the University of Florida. The
business handling, the space end, and everything else was
handled by the business activities of Walter Beinecke.
P: And to the degree that Walter made it available for them,
really as an annual gift. It was out of his own
philanthropy and benevolence that it continued up until that
point.
H: He really had no need for getting somebody like me involved
in this thing until 1986. Now you are dealing with real


estate people and with real estate and the banks and
financing.
P: Will you continue an association with PI:N?
H: That is hard to say.
P: Let us say the University of Florida Foundation takes over
this property by the end of the year.
H: I would think they would have no need or use for me. What I
need to do and concentrate the lion's share of my time at,
is trying to figure out how to solve the problem of keeping
the lights on out on Nantucket.
P: You are going to become an electrician and get away from
preservation. What have we not put on the record here in
terms of the history of PI:N and the things you have been
involved in. I do not want to go back to Gainesville and
find that something I should have asked or something we
should have discussed was left off.
H: I think largely my involvement is what we have described
here. I have been a bit player in the overall scheme of
things. The last three years are, really, my only
involvement. For the most part, it was trying to get a
scheme accomplished whereby the school becomes a property
owner on Nantucket to take care of its future needs. If it
has a future? I do not anticipate being involved in any
negotiation between Foundation and Osceola Foundation. That
is a matter between the Beinecke family and the University.
If the conclusion is that this is not a program that the
University wants to carry on or feels it should carry on,


then I will probably get involved in one of the alternates
and I am not sure what those may be.
P: Let us not even be concerned about that because that makes
it sound dismal and all of us, I think, are committed to it
continuing and I think the University of Florida is
committed to its continuance.
H: Oh, I think so. We had a blip here a year ago with the
attitudes of some of the people.
P: The chairman of it but he was short lived and they removed
him. Anybody that stood in the way of Walter Beinecke they
got rid of. Well, Bob, it has been a real pleasure talking
to you.
H: None of us are immortal though and we better see this thing
through.
P: I thought we were. I thought the people from Florida who
knew where the Fountain of Youth was located were all
immortal.
H: Well, maybe they are. Bryan tells me they are not.
P: Oh, Bryan. You know, he had that slight stroke so he feels
more vulnerable now than he did before, but he is going to
be all right. I really appreciate you giving me all this
time. Susan was very anxious for me to talk with you and
when Walter was in Gainesville this February, I guess, and
he agreed to do this, he said, "Now I do not know the whole
story. You have got to talk to Bob."


Places, Names and Things
ACS Industries Woonsocket
Paul Folking Yarn Silverton, GA
Rifenhauser Extruders Seltzer Looms
Hans Luchen Acme
Anthony Orlando Jean MacMillian
Easton, ME Bud Sauer
Bud Gifford Textron
Allendale Hasbro
Royal Little Narragansett
Vanoff Fleet Bevis
Andover Fitchburg
Derry, NH Larry Miller
Straight Wharf Old South
Swainsworth White Elephant
Harbor House Summerset Dorm
Coffin Street Janet Russo
Ewing Pepper Frazier
Profit School C.H. Gifford
John Gifford Dunn Gifford
Milbank-Tweed Aquatane Property Trust
Morgan Levine Alpha Real Estate
OFI Arthur Reed
Barbara Bennett Ann Teasdale
Bob Lindgren Citing Commission
Ron Haas Susan Tate


University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs