Interview with John Warren, 1987-12-10

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Interview with John Warren, 1987-12-10
Warren, John ( Interviewee )
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Subjects / Keywords:
Lee County Oral History Collection ( local )
Spatial Coverage:
Lee County (Fla.) -- History.


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.

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Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
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This interview is part of the 'Lee County' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
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D--We're doing an interview with John M. Warren at his house on Mandell Drive in

Ft. Myers, Florida. It's the 10th of December, 1987. It's about 10:20 a.m.

The interviewer is David Dodrill. We are beginning now. John, tell me a

little about your background, even before you came to work for the Corporation.

J--Before I went to work for the Company, I was originally born in High Springs,

Florida. I was raised in Philadelphia. My father was with the Marines for

44 years, and he was stationed with the U.S. Marines Quartermaster Depot. He

was an officer in charge there in Philadelphia, so we moved to Philadelphia.

I was raised and educated up there. After I graduated high school I went into

chiropractic studies and opened my own office and practiced. Then we finally

decided we were going to come back to Florida. I had one son that has died

recently. I have my oldest girl she was 60 years old in June. She was born

in 1926. I have another daughter living in her 40's. My son was the second

child. I was in the real estate business when I came back to Florida in 1944.

I took an examination with a broker and got a license to practice as a broker

and realtor in the Ft. Myers area, County Lee. Shortly after receiving my

certificate as a broker, I went with M. H. Davis Development Corporation.

We developed Davis Island in Tampa. We developed the park in Naples Park. We

also developed Ft. Myers Shores in Ft. Myer. We owned the Isle of Pine in

Cuba. We went over there and decided we were going to put a development on that

when the revolution took place in Cuba...

D--That was with the Davis Corporation?

J--Yes. And Castro took the island away from us and made a prison camp out of it.

We never did get to do anything with that island. However, I was still with M. H.

Davis Development Corp. in the east end of Ft. Myers and Ft. Myers Shores,

when Connie Mack had recently became acquainted with Leonard Rosen, and was

opening a new division called Cape Coral in Ft. Myers in Lee County. It's the

other side of Ft. Myers and is now a development of its own. Connie called me

on the phone and asked me to come and meet Leonard Rosen. They wanted to talk

L 2
to me. When I went to see him we had lunch together. Leonard offered me a

salary to give up where I was and to come work for them. I had experience in

land sales. I had never gone into real estate house selling or property

selling. I did strictly all land development and land sales. What know-

ledge I had was, I suppose, more than what they had. They had none in land

sales. Connie had just recently gotten his license as a real estate broker

or an agent, I don't know which. He was in property real estate sales.

D--That was in 1957?

J--That was in 1958, in January. I went with them in February, 1958.

D--How old were you then?

L--Well, I was born in 1905, so in 58 I was 53 years old?

D--How big was the Corporation by that time?

J--Well, we had...actually we had like you see that pla-t you see out there,

the original pla't, if I remember right it was 2200 acres that we had.

2207 or something like that acres of land. The jets went to Cape Coral Parkway

south to the river. Eventually we bought another small piece west of that

and we went westward on Cape Coral Parkway.

D--Do you know who they bought those pieces from?

J--No I don't. That was through Leonard. Then we went a little bit north and

it was just open fields. However, when I started at Cape Coral we didn't

have anything in the Cape at all then. The office (sales office) was on

41 North at Pine Island Road in Cape Coral at the corner there. It was...

Kenny Schwartz was president of the Company at that time. Connie Mack was

vice president. When I went to work for them they were just selling the lots.

I don't call them lots. In fact I instructed the men never to use the words

"We're selling lots. And we have no canals we have waterways. A lot of

people think when you're selling a canal or a lot it's a back place where

the kids play ball or something, and the canal is something that maybe empties

a drainage system for a residential area. So we started to call them waterways,

6V 3

which I always use, and home sites instead of lots and canals. We were then /

working out of as I mentioned the office of 41, and anyone worked from a plat

on the wall and pointed out the different locations and showed the people what

was available and what had been sold. I remember I had talked to someone...I

had received a letter from someone about asking or inquiring about Cape Coral.

He was a retired army sergeant. He and his wife...I have forgotten the names.

We had a dirt road going down from Pine Island to the river. It was just a

plain old dirt road, no black top the cows ran across it.

D--That later became Delprado?

J--Yes. That was later called Delprado and developed into Delprado Boulevard.

We went down this dirt road. Of course, there was nothing there at all. We

didn't have a house or even a tent. I took this man and his wife...this happens

to be one occasion when I was down there...and when we got down there, he was

just fit to be tied. It was about a 7 or 8 mile drive from the office down to

the river. I showed him where the yacht basin was going to be and that plan,

and where the home sites were going to be developed around the yacht basin, and

so forth. We had a very small plot at that time. He was so angry about going

to this god forsaken place, or as he called it, the hell hole of the earth,

(excuse my language), and we got out of the car out walked around to the side

between the river and where the basin was going to be, and I said, "You sound

like you're kind of colored this morning." And he opened the door and said,

"you bet I am"...BAM! And he hit me right in the mouth and knocked me

actually unconscious. I fell down on the ground and finally shook my head

and staggered to get up. His wife jumped out of the side of the car and ran

around and picked me up (helped me get up). I split my lip open. Then I said,

"I guess we've had about enough of Cape Coral. Don't you think?" On the way

going back she was very apologetic. Then he apologized. Anyway, I took them

to lunch and I sold them the highest piece of property that we had to offer -

right on the river. $3,390 was the highest priced property at that time. Of

S) 4

course it increased in value...all the park increased in value. Our lowest

priced property was $990. Our highest priced property was $3,390. Our

commercial used to sell for $50 a foot. You couldn't touch it today. You

would tell so many people how the property would ... of course, being in the

land sale business, I knew the valuation of property and how it would increase

after development would start, and would make an improvement over their raw

land. It became more valuable to those who got in on the ground floor. I

urged...didn't urge, I felt in my own heart that I was selling them something

that I wasn't ashamed of or wouldn't be ashamed of. I planned on making my

home their myself. In fact, one day Leonard Rosen said to me...When we opened

the office down at the Cape, then we started hiring sales people. We had a

plaque on the wall. I was selling more land/ I don't mean to be egotistical

when I say this than any two or three men. Not because I had experience in-

land sales, but because I was sold on the product myself. When the men

started to gripe as we opened up more land and finally got up to Pine Island

Road, they were griping about having to take people way up to the boondocks

and show them nothing but a piece of raw land, I said, "I did that down in

Cape Coral and we didn't even have a road, just a dirt road." Anyway, I

talked to them and my secretary took notes on what I had to say. If you want

me to read it I'll be glad to read it to you.

D--That's alright. I'll be able to read that. That's that thing you showe me?

J--I didn't criticize the men but I told them that if they had faith in what they

were doing, there was no reason in God's world why they wouldn't be able to

sell there as well as down on the finished product. A man goes to the

dentist because he has problems with his teeth. Why does he go to him?

Because he has faith in that man and that's why he goes to him. When people

come here to look at land, they have no one to put their faith in except the

man who's showing it to them, which is you. If you lose faith and don't have

faith in yourself, how do you expect your prospects to have faith? So this

brings up what I was going to say to you a minute or so back when Leonard


Rosen said to me, "John, how is it you sell more land than anyone else? What-ii

do you attribute it to?" I said, "To God." He said, "What's God got to do

with it?" I said, "Well I'll tell you Leonard, I have to drive about a half an

hour or more to come from my house to Cape Coral, and on the way over here I

talk to God. I ask Him to give me opportunity to meet the people and to be

honest with them, and to show them that there's no way they could be offended

or hurt or affected in any way if they purchase land in Cape Coral. Because

sooner or later, especially later, it would be worth a whole lot more than

what they could buy it for today. And if I could just have the privilege

of talking to them to explain to them the opportunities they had, I feel I

would be doing the right thing by them and I would be able also to make sales.

And on the way home I always thank Him. I talk to Him on the way back and I

thank Him for the opportunity He gave me, and the privilege I had to meet

these wonderful people."

D--That's fantastic.

J--From then on, Leonard (I don't know if he told you or not) did you tell him

you were going to talk to me...I mean Kenny?

D--No. I...

J--Well Kenny used to needle me once in a while. He'd say, "Hey, preacher. Come

in here. I've got somebody who wants to meet you." He used to call me

preacher when I said what I just told you to the men. Anyway, I think it

gave me a lot of hope and a lot of faith and encouragement. We had two or

three boys...well one red head boy, his name was Bobby...I can't remember his

last name now...he was about ready to give up because he hadn't made a sale

in about ten days, and that was unusual. He was about to give up because he

thought something was wrong with him. He stopped in to tell Connie Mack he

was going to leave. And he said, "Why do you want to leave?" He said, "Well,

I'm not doing very well. I'm not making any sales." He said, "Why don't you

go talk to Johnny Warren? Listen to what he has to say." So George came over

to see me in my office and told me he was going to leave but Connie told him


to see me before he left. And we had quite a time. He was rather new. He

wasn't there the day I made these remarks to the men about having faith in

themselves and having faith in Leonard Rosen and his brother, Jack Rosen.

They had faith in us or we wouldn't be there working for them. So I explained

to him what I had said to these boys. I said, "I want you to tell me just how

you're doing. Keep me posted on what you are doing." And everyday he'd knock

on the door and say, "I just made a sale." It wasn't very long before he was

making three, four, or five sales a day, and he had been ready to give up

because he didn't make a sale in ten days. But he gained faith in what he was

doing and in himself.

D--Do you think that was fairly common. Did most of the salesmen have faith in

the product?

J--Definitely. If a man doesn't have faith in the product that he's selling, what

is he doing it for, unless it's just for money. I wouldn't want to sell anybody

anything that I didn't believe in myself. If I don't have faith in it how

would I expect for someone to have faith in my product. I wouldn't even

handle it.

D--So was there a kind of feeling in the organization that everyone was about

something great here...

J--I think we created that. We had a lot of men coming there that were looking

for work, and we hired practically everybody that had a reputation. Finally

we decided that it was about time we start building homes there. Now we had

property finished. And we were just selling at random in the finished area.

I spoke with Leonard and Connie in his office one day. I said, "I think we

should stop selling this land immediately down in this finished area." And

they said, "Why?" I said, "Well first thing you know we'll have nothing left

to sell but in the boondocks again like when we started, and we won't have

anybody building homes in here unless we put restrictions on the land as it is

now in the finished area, that if they buy in this area they must build

0l 7
immediately. We're working now toward the west, and anybody that wants to

build in six months from now, if they buy the land just west of where we are,

they'll have to build within six months or a year. If they buy beyond that, we

don't care when they build. By that time, it will be another ten years before

we get to that area approximately."

D--When approximately was this 59, 60?

J--58 and 59. We just started. We had 2100 acres that I mentioned to you and we

started down at the yacht basin. That's where we first started and worked north.

We hadn't gone westward, we had just gone north up along the river as far back

from the river as we could possibly go.. That was the location that was being .

developed first. The highest priced location on the river sold for $3,390.

Back beyond the river and on strictly on land sales, no waterways, they sold as

low as $990. That was the price for that land. The highest price was $3,390.

The commercial property sold for $50 a foot. Those locations were 50 feet wide.

The home site lots varied some were larger and some the way the streets were

going to be laid out, where one would be a little bit deeper, so on and so forth.

We had prices ranging from $990 to $3,390 on the river. After we started

restrictions on building, no one was allowed to buy in that area down there where

we had finished and had the streets in. If you bought in that area, you had to

build immediately. We had people that bought property further out in the

boondocks as we called it, and had now come back to see the property a year

later or two years later, and they found that we had homes in there and

waterways, and boulevards, and streets, and it was growing rapidly. They

would immediately want to get in that area. Then we transferred them from

the location we did sell them and gave them what they paid for that and

transferred them onto the property where they would build immediately.

D--Was that a fairly common thing? Did a lot of people do that?

J--No. Not many. That's where so many developments went out of business. They

would come into a location in various parts of Florida and start a development)


sell all the property off, put the streets in there, and the boulevards, and

the home sites would just be a row of dirt from one end to the other. They

would put lot 34, 35, 36 and that's all it was. People would come in there

and see it was nothing but just a field or an open territory. When they came

back later they would see these streets that weren't paved yet. The roads

were in and the lots were marked off. No one would be living there. Everyone

decided they weren't going to be the first to break ground and build a house

in there they'd be living in the boondocks all alone. Why would they do

that? There was nothing there of interest to them. We built the yacht basin.

That attracted people. We had a fishing pier. I moved in and Kenny Schwartz

moved in and two or three other people came in. First thing you know, we had

quite a nice array of people living there. Every Saturday night we used to go

down to the yacht club basin and have a party. Those of us that were living

there we had square dancing, and just had a wonderful time. We had a New

Year's party, a Christmas party, and anything at all to create a party, we

would. We'd have a lot of jokes. We had a Halloween costume dance. We had

so much fun, it was just enjoyable to not only live there, but to work there,

because it was just a live bunch of people.

D--I understand that the Corporation footed the bill for a lot of the parties

and different things.

J--After we moved in, we built our own homes and paid for them, naturally, we

had bought the homesites and the Company was only interested in selling land

at that time. When we decided to build homes, I was then asked to take over

the home site owners division. I was in charge of the homes. Leonard says,

"Who are we going to get to build our homes?" I said, "I guess about the

most common builder in the state of Florida...I'm trying to think of his name...

D--Are you talking about Rutenberg?

J--Yes. I said, "Art Rutenberg has about the best reputation." He said, "You're

so ready, and you know more about these people than we do, how about you go


see Art Rutenberg?" Well I had to go to St. Petersburg to see him. He was

up there at this time. So I went up there for three or four days with Arthur

in the development he had. I brought him down here and he met Leonard and Jack,

Kenny and Connie, and we all sat together. He brought some plans down. I

brought some plans back of the models he had, and Leonard decided we want

this, this, and this. So Art came down and we gave him some land where he

could build his models. He built his model homes. I was appointed, then,

home site director. And we sold homes. Then I thought the people were not

being treated properly that owned real estate in Cape Coral. Not the house,

not their homes, but people that had bought locations to eventually come here

and live...that were eventually going to come here and retire in 10 to 15

years from now. They would come down and the salesmen were all, naturally,

hungry to get a customer because they worked on commission basis, and this

looked like a good prospect because he was probably driving a nice, big, high

priced automobile, and well dressed, and we thought that this...they thought

this was a good as we call them, suspects, not prospects. But they'd say,

"Here comes a good suspect." The men would grab him. They were in equal

rotation. The first in in the morning was the first up. The second one in

registered in and punched a card (we had the timecards for them then) and

went out and picked up the customers--suspects as they called them--as they

came in. They would have their turn to show them the property. I think

we wound up with maybe 50 men on the sales force, or close to it (38 or 45,

something like that).

D--Approximately when was this, 50 something...

J--This was back in 59. Or maybe 60. This was about 60. Then I decided, when

I would see these men I was...I got out of housing and I went to Leonard and

spoke with Leonard and Connie and said, "I think our biggest mistake is

selling this property down here in the finished area and not having

compulsory building. We have model homes that we can build for them if

5? 10

they make a selection, and if we sell property here we will not give them the

title to the property, and they must build in six months. If they pay cash we

don't give them the deed to the property until they start building their home,

and then we will issue the deed to them." Leonard says, "Why would we do

anything like that?" I said, "If we don't do that, all these locations will

be sold off and people are going to build in 15 or 20 years from now, and

we won't have any development here. You'll sell all the land off and you

can walk away from it, but these people will never come down and build on an

open location with no one living there and nothing to offer to them." So

Connie thought that was a good idea. So we decided that was what we were

going to do. We would sell this land and reserve it for strictly building

homes. Then I was appointed housing director and got Rutenberg down here and

built the model homes. I was showing the model homes. I had the company

working for me. In fact, that's when the hurricane struck us. I was in one

of the model homes when Donna came. I have my daughters' picture on my desk.

When the hurricane struck, it drew the windows out of the home, and the next day

when I came in, I found my daughters picture laying out on the front lawn

of the model home that I was using as an office. I wanted to get into the

land sales. Back to the land sales again. So I said to Leonard, "I think

we should open up a home site owners division." He said, "What do you call

a home site owners division?" I said, "That's strictly for people who want

to build a home. They cannot buy in this area without deciding. They cannot

go there unless they build a home. So we'll have the home site owners

division at the model homes, and the people will come here. After they see

them they'll come in and if they want to build, and they're up in the boondocks,

we'll transfer their location down to an area we'll select for them, or we'll

have them select what they like in the finished area and they can start

building their home." That's what we did. We created a home site owners

division. I sold more locations in July and August, as the home site owners

/6 11

division for immediate building in the immediate building area, or in the six

month building, or in the year building, I sold more than all the men put

together in land sales, in the month of August, which was a quiet month.

They just couldn't believe it...that we could do that in the home site owners

division. So they built a great big rotunda for me to handle that division,

along side of the home sites.

D--Where was that rotunda at?

J--The rotunda was right along...well practically across from the land sales

office on Cape Coral Parkway. It was southeast of Cape Coral Parkway. We

cut another road through there and put the rotunda in. But then they reopened

up further up north and built model homes up there, and we built a rotunda for

me up there. I had 17 men in the rotunda. Sixteen offices. and myself. The

people would come in and we had a registering desk with a young lady there to

greet the people. She would have a listing of what salesmen was the next to go

out with these people. She would call them on the intercom and tell them that

they're wanted in the front office, and they'd come out of their office and go

over, and she would introduce them to these people. They wanted to go through

and see the model homes. They also wanted to be taken for a ride and show them

where their property was and so forth.

D--So while you were directing the home sales, the land sales were still going on?

J--Oh yes.

D--Who was in charge of that?

J--Connie and Kenny. Connie was vice president and Kenny was vice president also.

Kenny handled the sales. Connie was like, I would say, he was a good will man.

A representative of Cape Coral. Anybody who had a complaint or anything, we

would send them to Connie because Connie had a very nice personality and he

was well liked. He was known not only by himself, but through his dad. He

was the owner of the Philadelphia Athletics at one time. He was known by a

lot of people all over the world. Not only in Florida, but all over the

Ho 12
world. When they heard Connie Mack, Jr., son of the great Connie Mack, they

knew who he was. If they didn't know him they knew who he was. He was a

good person to refer anyone to because he handled them so nicely. Then in

the housing division...let me see if I can remember where I went from there...

I had a heart attack in 1965 and I was off for quite a while. Finally, I had

a yacht at the time, i 26 ft. cabin cruiser and I kept it down their, and the

doctor said I had to get rid of the yacht because they couldn't get to me if

I went out on the boat and had another attack, which I did have. Finally, I

was just in the home site owner division. I had charge of the men. Just

people that came down and wanted to see where their home site was. Our men

took them to it and showed them where they were located. They weren't coming

down there to buy land, they had already bought it. They had to be treated

with kid gloves. That's where I stepped in because I went to Leonard and

Connie prior to that and said that these salesmen are out and are hungry to

make a sale. But as soon as they find out that these people have already

bought property, and they are only down there to see how we are progressing,

and if possible to see how near their property is ready to build on, soon as

they find out what these people are here for, they drop them like a hot

potato, and they don't handle them with any courtesy at all. They just treat

them as if they shouldn't be here and that they're taking up their time. To aggravated me for them to take this feeling toward a prospect that had

already bought property... they were no longer prospects, they were home site

owners. They were part of our family that we were trying to bring into Cape

Coral to be residents and to live there, and we planned on living there with

them. And they shouldn't be treated like that. So I was really tee'd off

about it and I told Leonard that we should open a home site owners division.

He said, "What is a home site owners division?" I told him and he said, "Good.

You are in charge of that. From now on you run the home site owners division."

Which I did. Anybody that came down and bought property, I would say to them

when the salesman would take them out and show them the property and show them


their location, and they were so happy with it and what we were doing, I would

say now, you be sure to bring them to me before they leave, I want to talk to

everybody that comes in this place. I want to talk to them personally. I

sold more property in the month of August than the sales force (myself) did

combined all their salesmen. Connie and Leonard said to me, "How do you

do that? How do you sell those people again, they already own property?"

I said, "I just use about one or two words and say to them I'm so glad that

now you are here you see what we have done in the past year and what we're

planning to do in the next years to come, I think you made a big mistake

when you bought that location." They would jump in surprise, "What do you

mean we made a mistake. What did we do wrong?" "You should have bought two

of them. One to build your home on and one to sell that will probably pay

for your home that you're going to move into. That was the mistake you made

when you bought your first home site." And I sold an additional piece of

property to either keep for investment purposes or maybe decide they'll build

later instead of where they were because the home site they did build is now

worth three times what they paid for it and they're not ready to build for

another ten or fifteen years. If they hold onto it, they will have more money

out of that to build their home and give them a profit besides. In fact, we

even bought some of the home sites back from the people that met with misfortune,

or lost their job, or he/she had died and never did come down to live here.

We bought the property back and sold it at a higher price than what they paid

for it, and we gave them a profit. We gave them today's price for it and

turned around when the prices went up, sold it at the higher price and got

our money back with a little profit. So it was an educational thing for any

man on the sales force a development like Cape Coral. It wasn't small.

It was large. It grew and got larger and larger all the time.

D--So you handled the home site owners from 1960 through 1965?

J--Yes. Until 65. That's when I had a heart attack and the doctor said "You'll

HqL 14
just have to give it up. So I did. I gave it up. I had a ranch up in Ocala

and I moved up over the ranch for quite a while. I had property down in the

Cape. I had homes that I had built there. Then I built another one right

across from the yacht basin.when I came back from Cape Coral.

D--How many of the sales, percentage wise, do you attribute to the home site

owners division opposed to just the raw land sales?

D--A great many of the home sites, we not only sold them new property, some

of them kept sites they originally bought. Other ones we would transfer off

that location onto the home site area and they would build immediately or

within six months. As we moved north we gained more property. We were

moving north to Cape Coral Parkway and we eventually went across Cape Coral

Parkway. Some people kept their home sites they had built there and even

bought a home site up there with no intentions to build. They were just

going to buy it as an investment piece of land. Later they came down and saw

what we had developed and had completed in the short period of time and they

decided this was for them. They're going tomove here. Some of them have

already moved into Cape Coral and found work in Florida, and had been living

here for a great many years. They never had planned on coming here for 25

years when they were going to retire. That's where a lot of younger people

came into Cape Coral, as well as the retirees.

D--Back when you were involved with just the land or land sales, were you

responsible for training the sales people?

J--Leonard...Kenny rather was responsible for the men. I was appointed as the

chairman or president of the land sales division and I took the men (I had my

own office)...any complaints they had, they came to me. If the Company had

any complaints they would refer them to me and I would take the men aside and

straighten it out. They would bring their sales into me and I would o.k.

them and sign them. I was in charge of the land sales division. Then we

had another lad that was a friend of Kenny's that came there to work.

He was from Miami. They brought him in the office with me. He had quite

"i 15

a bit of experience in land sales too on the east coast in Ft. Lauderdale.

He worked in Ft. Lauderdale. He was a great help to us too. I could tell a

lot of funny stories in land sales but I don't know if that's what you want to


D--Go ahead.

J--When I was with M. H. Davis Corporation, we were developing the park in Naples.

We had one fellow, God rest his soul, he's dead now, he worked with me out at

Ft. Myers Shores also. He was the only one that stayed with the company and

myself. The rest of them drifted away. But anyway, he was a sort of a hungry

kind of a fellow. Instead of waiting for his turn to be up next, when the

prospects came in, he would skip ahead of somebody while maybe they were using

the washroom or were talking to somebody in the back room or they were reading,

and the customer would drive in with the car, and he would jump up and say,

"Oh there are the people I talked to Wednesday last week." They'd never

been there before, but they were his prospect. He tried to grab everything

that came in. I'll never forget the day...we had a large bottle with orange

juice in it, kept cold all the time, and cups beside it, and when the people

would come in we would say, "Would you care for a nice fresh orange juice?"

Of course they all would say yes. And one man said to me one day, "When I

was in Georgia I paid 500 a cup for this and I cross the line into Florida

and I got it for a quarter. I got near Tampa and it was 150. In Ft. Myers

we had some for a nickel. We get down here and you're giving it away! But

this man, we called him cheater because he was always cheating. If he could

steal an up he would take it before it was his turn. So these people drove

up thi day and he reached around and grabbed a glass of orange juice. We had

two steps from the floor of the office building down to the ground. This

man and his family drove up in their car right along side of the front door.

Joe spotted them before anybody else, and he reached over and got a glass of

orange juice and he runs out to meet him and he missed the bottom step. And

he went forward and said, "Good morning." and as he went forward he threw the

0 16

juice right in the man's face. It went all down his shirt. The man cursed

him and was really put out about being saturated with a glass of orange juice.

Joe was trying to steal him and it wasn't even his turn! We always kidded him

about that.

D--You were with Davis. Were some of the did Gulf American sales

operation compare with some other development corporations. Were they...

J--They did more advertising than the average developer.

D--Gulf did?

J--Gulf American spent a lot of money advertising. I don't know whether you

know the whole history of Leonard Rosen trying to get this thing off the

ground. He begged, borrowed and practically stole what he could get his hands

on to make this thing go. He was in debt up to his throat to pay off the money

he had borrowed to make this thing go.

D--Tell me a little bit about that. Do you know very much about the financing

of the whole thing?

J--No. Connie could be the one to tell you more about that because he was there

before I was. When I was hired to work there, I was hired as a salesperson and

Connie was the vice president of the company. He was Leonard's right hand man.

I don't think Leonard did anything without consulting Connie. And Connie

didn't do very much without consulting Leonard.

J--So they needed money?

J--They were able to buy more and more land and it took quite a bit of money

to buy because people that owned the land there knew what we were doing, and

the property became very valuable. You couldn't even touch it today for

near what Leonard paid for the first 2,100 acres. It was just out of sight.

The more he bought the higher the prices went. And that's why the value of

the property went up. Not only because we were developing it and turning it

from a waste land into a finished product, it naturally went up in value.

But it was also because of what we had to pay for the land at a later date

every time we would need another 60 acres or 1,000 more acres. The prices

( Q 17
were no where near like the very beginning. I wanted to show you these.

This is the original plat of Cape Coral. This is Cape Coral Parkway. Then

we bought this land west of it here. This is the little piece of land we bought

north of it. This is the original here. This is where we started first.

Then we bought this land up here. Then we bought this land out here. Now

t e there way up to Punta Gorda.

i0 D--I heard from somebody that later on what they did was a lot of times land

was marked on a map like this that had not actually been purchased. In other

words, all that the Rosens had was an option on it.

J--We had options on quite a bit of the land.

D--So lots were sold in areas where the Company didn't own the land but just

had options.

D--That's you're speech I think.

J--You have that don't you?

D--That's it.

J--That might be worth reading to have it on record.

D--Yes. I can have my secretary type it into the transcript. What we'll do is

when I'm through with this, I'll have my secretary type a transcript of this

and send it to you. So after 1965 you were no longer with the Corporation?

J--In 65 I retired. I haven't worked since. This is a certificate Leonard

presented me with. Here's a picture of when we first started. That's me.

We had the office opened up in Miami where Leonard was stationed quite a bit.

He and his brother. We had to correspond with the Miami office. We had a

fellow there by the name of Dick Williams. He was ... sort of took care of

all communications between the Cape and Miami office. We had to keep him up

to date pretty well. If you like me to I'll just read this letter. If you

want to record it that's up to you.

To: Dick Williams
From: John Warren
Date:. October 17, 1964-
Subject: Warranty Deeds

Inasmuch as a warranty deed to land existing in the immediate
building area are being held by me, I feel that it is proper
to bring you up to date as to how these deeds will be handled.

When property has been exchanged or purchased in the area
where building compulsion is required, the purchaser agrees
to build in a stipulated time, and has a contract signed
with the builder in Cape Coral.

J--Now we had builders come into Cape Coral. We didn't do all the building in

there. We had outside builders that came in and they started to sell their


D--Did they start immediately?

J--Yes. They moved in before we did, actually. If the purchaser doesn't

sign a contract to build, he has to give forth that property. They had to

build immediately. But anyway...

The cash up on these properties will be handled through
the HSO Department and forwarded to Miami with instructions
to notify the legal department to prepare a warranty deed.
When these deeds are prepared, they are returned to me for
distribution and I first make sure that all necessary papers
have been signed and the betterment fees paid and permit has
been taken out through Ft. Myers Construction Engineering
Department before releasing the deed in the following

If a home is to be built on a cash basis, a contracting
company does not necessarily need the deed to start
building. Therefore I request that they notify me when
the footers have been put in the ground and the building
has commenced. Then I will issue the deed to the
purchaser for recording

If the construction is to be handled by mortgage, I will
notify the mortgage company that the deed is ready for
recording. The deed will then be issued to the said
mortgage company with instructions not to record this
deed until full closing of the mortgage by the purchaser
has taken place. If for any reason the mortgage is not
consummated and construction is not to start, the deed
will be returned to me and not recorded.


The operation being handled in this manner, I feel, should
eliminate the warranty deed's being recorded in the
purchaser's name before construction starts, and would
therefore, also eliminate any necessary court action by
Gulf American to retrieve the land in the event of a
breech of contract by the purchaser. The writer is open
for any constructive criticism or suggestions that might
improve this operation.

J--I got a letter back from Dick Williams:

In reference to your October 17 memo regarding the
handling of unrecorded warranty deeds, we feel that
the procedure as outlined in your memo is in line with
our understanding and there are no apparent loop holes.
If Lester Engle, or George Callahan have any suggestions,
I feel sure you will be hearing from them.

D--So in other words, requiring the people to build within a certain period of

time, in your opinion, really helped to get the Cap'e started?

J--Definitely. If somebody wanted to build a home, they naturally wanted to

build in the finished area. A lot of them wanted to buy land in the finished

area that never wanted to build. They were going to buy it for investment

purposes or they were going to retire 20 40 years from now. They were

people probably in their 20's, and they were going to retire when they were

60. So a lot of people had no intentions of ever living in Cape Coral until


D--And it was very important to get at least part of the city building, to really

say that it was a city.

J--Right. If we didn't, it would just be all home sites here and nobody living

on it. The streets would grow up with trees, grass, and shrubbery, which

many developments did here in Florida. I know. I can take you to

developments that were really had a lot of money spent on them, and sold to

people that never could find their location. They can't even find the

development, let alone their location. I can take you down Pine Island Road

and go back in the woods and that was at one time a development. Nobody ever

built a home on it. A lot of developments went to pot just because they

weren't handled properly. If you were going to open up any business at all,

you couldn't open up a store and not have merchandise in there to sell. You

) 20

couldn't sell merchandise unless you had people to come in there and buy it.

Well, the same way with land and developing of land. If you don't produce for

the people that you are selling it to, they're going to lose faith in you and

say, "I made a mistake. I put my money in the boondocks down there and it just

went to weeds and trees. That's all. There's nothing there at all but just the

wild open country." But they can never say that about Cape Coral. They can't

really say that about any developments at M. H. Davis Development Corporation,

except for the Island Pines in Cuba. We never did do anything over there because

of the revolution. And that was taken away from us all together.

D--Was there competition. Did the salesmen feel competition from some of the

other developments?

J--No. Actually, Cape Coral was the biggest development in the area. We had

Lehigh Acres, and we had Port Charlotte. People would come down from buying

property in Port Charlotte and. Lehigh. Acres it was so misleading the way

it was advertised and the way it was handled by the people. The man who bought
Lehig"h Acres bought the land was actually in the very beginning, a Chicago


D--Who was that?

J--I don't want to mention any names. He had a lot of money and didn't know

what to do with it. He came down here to Ft. Myers and went out and bought

the land in Lehigh Acres. He advertised. He spent a lot of money advertising.

Don't get me wrong. They developed Lehigh Acres and it's lovely. But it

took quite a little while to get started. This man had a lot of money and

it was illegal money back of him that he could make use of him. Anyway, the

way they started Lehigh Acres, and the way it was misrepresented to the

public, they had a truck with a camera man on the back of it. There was a

driver and someone else in the front seat of it. They came over the bridge.

We had one bridge then in Ft. Myers. They went across the bridge to the north

side of the trail 41, and turned around and shot a picture of the river and


the yacht basin on this side of the river, from the back of their truck.

As they came across the bridge, they kept the motion picture on the yachts

down in the harbor. They turned right in front of the yacht basin and took a

picture of the yacht basin. Then they went down First Street and showed the

stores. They showed Sears and Singers, and the few stores that we had here

at the time. Then they went down MacGregor Boulevard and showed the beautiful

palm trees and the few magnificent homes in that area that's where the

wealthy people first started to come into. That's where Edison lived, and

Henry Ford lived next to him on MacGregor Boulevard. They took pictures

of the beautiful road down to MacGregor Boulevard. And they went,down to

the beach and took pictures of the beach and the Gulf. In Lehigh Acres

they had a one man tractor and a scoop shovel. They took a picture of the

scoop shovel and said this is .Lehigh Acres. They put that on the screens

of theatres throughout the United States. People would look at it and say,

"Isn't that nice. Look at those palms and all those magnificent homes. Look

at the stores. They have everything there." This was not at all true. This

was Ft. Myers they were taking pictures of, and they said this is Lehigh

Acres. They sold starting with $100 or $150 a lot. But you paid $10 down

$10 a month. Of course, a lot of people bought them. Well when they came

down and they went over to Lehigh Acres and saw the houses -- they had

started the houses, and they were built just on the lot. If you wanted a

driveway it was extra. If you wanted doors on your rooms, except the

bathroom that was the only room that came with a door on it your bedroom

had no doors on them, that was extra. They had just a few streets in where

they would put a house up for you. This is the way they sold the property.

They had ditches that were filled with water that went all the way down and

played it out in the river. Underground ditches and pipes and some across

the land and down into the river. They would say, "These are all going to

be waterways."


D--So the people tend to go out there and see that...

J--Well, they came down. They bought sight unseen through motion pictures in

theatres. Then they would write for information and they would send them pictures

of the same thing they looked at in the movies. Then when they came down maybe

three to eight years after they bought, while paying $10 a month on these

home sites, they came down and would stop at Port Charlotte. They would see Port

"Charlotte come along and would say, "Where is Lee High Acres?" "Oh, that's

in the boondocks, way down Ft. Myers you go east and then go another 24 miles..."

They'd come down here and say, "Where is Cape Coral?" "That's down there too.

It's across the river on the other side. You'll have to...before you get to

Ft. Myers, you'll have to go over Pine Island Road and it will take you into

Cape Coral." Well, they would come into Ft. Myers then they would wind up

over in our place (we didn't have a bridge going across there then) and say,

"We're going over to Lehigh Acres. We like what you have here but we own

property in Lehigh and we haven't seen it." So we'd say, "Well, go over

and see what you have there and compare it with what we have here?" A lot

of the people would come back and want to know if we would take their

locations in trade for a home site in Cape Coral. Or they'd say they weren't

going to pay any more money on that place out there. Some only paid a few

monthly payments. Some had paid many monthly payments. But that's the way
Lehigh Acres was sold it was misrepresentedto the public.

D--Was their much competition from Pt. Charlotte?

J--No. People would come down here and see Port Charlotte and they wouldn't

do anything until they looked at the Cape. They would come down here and

buy Cape Coral and say, "Boy, my wife said, "let's buy in Port Charolotte,"

and I'm glad we didn't buy there. Here you're on the water and you've got

this and..."

D--Was that the big criticism at Port Charlotte was that it wasn't on the water?

J--Well you know, if you're in Florida and you're not on water or have water,


you're not a Floridian. That's what they come to Florida for. They want to

swim in the Gulf. They don't realize that waterfront property is very

expensive. They decide that's what they want. They come down here and find

out they can't afford it, so they buy a home site in Ft. Myers or someplace

near where they can see the Gulf. And of course if they can't see the Gulf,

they go on the river. We used to have a lot of criticism about the

Calootchahatchee river. People couldn't even pronounce the name. They

would get us to spell it and half the time we couldn't spell it ourselves.

D--In the late 60's, I know you were retired by that time, the Land Sales Board

accused Gulf of making different unethical sales practices like lot switching

and refusing to refund money and promising too rapid increases in lot values.

Do you think those were pretty much groundless or were some salesmen getting

out of control?

J--The salesmen weren't getting out of control for the simple reason ... one

particular deal I'll mention to you. In the home site owners division, I was

in land sales at that time (when I was in charge of land sales at that time),

one of the men...I had my door open and I could hear him talking across the

hallway, and he had a prospect there. He said to the people he was a retired

minister "Why don't you buy this piece of land while you're here today, at

this price, and next year when you come down again, I'll sell it for you and

make a profit. We'll sell the land for you and make you money." Which was

a lie. We don't buy anyone's property. We had our own property to sell and

we weren't selling somebody elses. If they bought it from us we weren't going

to buy it back from them unless we built a home on it or exchanged it for a

home site that they would pay the difference and build a home on, or move into

a higher priced location (category location). So I walked into him and as I

walked past I said, "Oh, I didn't know you were busy. Can I meet your company?"

So he introduced-us and I shook hands with him and sat down. He said, "This

fellow here is trying his best to sell me a piece of property. He tells me


that if I buy the property from him that I can come down here next year and

he'll sell it or buy it back from me and show me a profit. Is that true?

You're the sales manager. Do you do that?" I said, "I think you misunderstood

him. I think you really misunderstood what he was saying to you. He was

telling you that if you bought the property now and you decided a year from

now you weren't satisfied with it, that you'd like to move into the area where

you can build your home immediately, we'll exchange it for property in that

area and build you a home." He said, "No. He said he would sell it for me."

I said, "He wouldn't sell it for you, but he would give it to a broker.

.we had a broker at the Cape who was selling the property to sell because

we are not into real estate business. We don't sell people's property unless

it's our own. The only part we sell belongs to us. We're not allowed to

sell your property because we aren't' licensed as a real estate program. I

think if he didn't say it he meant to say that he would give it to a broker

and sell it for you." "Oh. I didn't understand that. He told me he would

sell it for me." I said, "That's what he meant." When the man left he

bought a piece of property. I was ready to fire that man. He was supposed

to be a minister. I said, "I'll tell you. I had an awful lot of faith in

you because you're a man of God. To think you would sit there and tell this

man a lie to sell a piece of property...we don't need you. We don't need a

lie to sell a piece of property anyway. If you have to resort to that type of
tactics to sell this land, we don't need you here. You can make up your

own mind. You're either going to tell the truth or you don't work here

anymore. Now you make up you own mind. I don't want to fire you, but I

will if I ever catch you doing it again." He was an ordained minister and

he lied to this man.

D--Do you think that type of stuff went on quite a bit?

J--Certainly. We had one man there, I won't mention his name, but I used to

hear him lie to these customers. He would promise them the world with a

circle around it if they would buy a piece. He sold more property than

7 25
anybody else. He was one of the top men in land sales.

D--What were the things he would promise?

J--He would lie to those people. "I remember when we started you could have

bought that property (we didn't even own it them) for as low as $50. Now

it's $1,700. I sold 500 pieces of it for $990. Now it's $1,700 and it's

going to go higher." But he was shooting them a lot of stuff and that

property never sold for $50 or $990. It was $3,800 to start with ... or $500

to start with. But that's the way he'd lie. He'd tell them anything. Then

he'd take them out and tell them we're going to have this here and this is

going to be built over there, and told them all this stuff that they were

going to do, which we never planned on doing.

D--Most of the people that early on came to look at stuff, were they just people

that came off the street or ...

J--We advertised in every city...every state, and we even advertised in Europe.

The world got to know Cape Coral. Wherever they would go they would hear about

Cape Coral. And if you were going to go to Florida, look up Cape Coral because

I see their ads and listened to their ads on radio. "You know Connie Mack

and that Philadelphia ball team? Well he's the vice president. You ought

to stop and see old Connie." He was a kid along side of me.

D--Was there any particular type of person that the Company would target? Was

it mostly middle class or retirees or young families?

J--No. Anybody that came to look at Cape Coral...we were instructed...or we

instructed the sales people to interest them in buying property at Cape Coral.

We didn't care where they lived or how old they were. I would always say to

them and I instructed the men the same way, "Before we start showing you this

property, I'm going to tell you what the monthly payment structures run on

this price property. How much down and how much a month. If these prices

are going to affect you or your family in any way, I want you to tell me

because I don't want to take up your time or take up my time and try to push

you into something that's going to effect you or hurt you. The last thing I

<> 26
would ever do would be to do something that would hurt you or that you'd be

sorry for later. So you tell me if you can effort $10 a month or $20 a month.

What you can afford without upsetting your family, or your children will suffer

by it, or you'll go without to do this, tell me ahead of time and we won't

even talk about it. I'll be tickled to death to show you Cape Coral, whether

you buy or whether you don't, but I want you to tell me what you can afford

without upsetting your budget. Then I'll show you what I have in that category."

They would say, "Well, what do you think, could we go $25 or $30 a month? We

could do better than that. We could probably go $50 a month." "Fine. I have

some beautiful property you could buy for $50 down and $50 a month." I'd go

to the plat and I'd point it out and say, "This is the location right here.

Now this particular property is just getting finished and there are some home

sites in there that are finished. Now you're going to get up to where it will

cost you $80 a month."

D--What would happen with people who wanted to see a lot and part of it maybe

wasn't developed?

J--We would take them way out in the boondocks. When I had my homesite division & we

sold them home sites, people would come down...I had one fellow, a Jewish boy,

and he would take them down through the property and say, "Here it is right

over here." When I found out I said, "I'm going to get rid of you tomorrow.

I understand these people own property way up above Pine Island Road and you're

taking them up the road here and showing them where the houses are being built

and saying their property is right over there, and they're way up in the

boondocks. We wouldn't be ready for the next five years."

D--I heard that sometimes they would take them up in small planes and point

out some place....

J--We never took sales up...Connie and I used to fly those planes everyday. In

fact, Connie took his license. I'll never forget that. We went out fishing.

We'd just find an island where he could land the plane on, and we'd go out

there and fish. Anyway, when he was first taking his solo flight, they had

f 27
another instructor and there were two other planes also taking their solo

flights. They were supposed to go east here and fly around...I don't know

where it was, but they were supposed to fly around and land. The instructor

was going to land with them. Connie got off balance and wound up way in

Miami. They were sending up planes. It was the army base over there. He

landed right down in the army base. They surrounded him with jeeps and guns

and everything else like they were going to blow his head off for bringing

in the plane. Anyway, they found out he made a mistake and he was just learning

to fly and was getting his final flying lesson before he got his pilots license.

They knew Connie Mack so they made friends with him. When he came home, he told

Sue, his wife, what happened and she said, "You've got to give it up. You're

not going to fly and that's all there is to it. You'll wind up dead. What

am I going to do if you kill yourself? What are the kids going to do if you

kill yourself? You know better than this." She just jumped all over him.

So about a week later, here comes an automobile up with the brass in it. All

the army officers were in their uniforms and brass and shesaid, "Here they

come. They're going to put you in Leavenworth. You're going to jail. You

had no right to land over there. I hope they make you give up flying." They

came in to visit. He had invited them over. So they came over to see the

Cape and to see Connie (Connie lived on MacGregor Blvd.).. They came in and

he introduced them to his wife. She said, "I thought you were going to put

him in Leavenworth for flying on the airstrip."

D--About when was that?

J--That was in 59. Then we had a fellow that flew, and everybody that came in,

we'd take them for a flight and land on Cape Coral Parkway. I would take

people up and once in a while I would have the pilot Pete Petrie used to do

the flying. He was a salesman too I'd say to Pete when we got up there,

"Pete, see how that tree is bent down there? You hit it last time we were

up and bent it. Do you think you can hit it when we go back up and straighten

iOpi .28

it out?" "Oh my God. We're going to hit a tree. Do we have to fly?"

Then we would laugh and say, "No. We're just kidding." We'd take them out

over the river and bring them back down and let them see the yacht basin, then

we'd fly back and land right on Cape Coral Parkway. We didn't take any

salesmen up. We had one girl and a boy in uniform. He was a Navy boy. He

was enlisted in the Navy. He had his girlfriend. I said, "Would you like

to go up in this plane? I'll take you up and let you see it by air. You'll

really appreciate it when you see this by air. You can see the Gulf, our

yacht basin, river, all the water we're surrounded by, the waterways coming

in." He said, "Come on. Let's go." "No. Not me." Finally he said, "Alright,

I'll go." So we got in and by golly he got sick and threw up all over by back.

Right down the back of my neck and all over the back of my clothes. Boy, he

never lived that down. We got up there and had to bring him back down again.

D--Tell me a little about Leonard and Jack Rosen.

J--Jack I don't know too much about because he wasn't there as much as Leonard.

In fact, Leonard and Jack both were quite busy in the beginning. Leonard

was there, if any, with Connie. Both he and Jack were out doing the best they

could to raise money. If Leonard wasn't doing it Jack was doing it. But

Leonard was the dominant figure in the whole outfit. Jack, to me, was like

a silent partner. He didn't have too much to say. He was a real nice guy.

I have a wallet that he gave me. He just came up to me one day and said,

"Johnny, I bought this for you. You're doing such a fabulous job, I couldn't

get you off my mind." We had a meeting and I was telling the men, Leonard

was at the meeting,

and he bought me this wallet and said, I want you to have it. You really

did a nice job there." He died. He had a heart condition. He was in

the hospital. I was in the same time he was in. We were both in at the

same time for a heart condition. But he died. He never did come out. He

came out the first time, but then when he went it wasn't very long before

he died. And Leonard is dead now. I didn't know it myself, but I just

4i 29
happened to read it in the paper that he died out in California.

D--Las Vegas.

J--Las Vegas? Yes. I guess it was. I picked up the paper and it said that

Leonard Rosen, the President and developer of Cape Coral, died in the

hospital in Las Vegas. He was a good guy Leonard was.

D--What motivated him. Did he have a dream to build a city or was he just

wanting to make money.

J--Well, his ambition was to build a city- always. He always wanted to build

a city. He was from the Baltimore area originally. He couldn't build up

there because it was all city. But down in Florida, he wanted to build a

city. He happened to rent a plane and had been flying around and he spotted

where Cape Coral is now. He spotted that area and said, "I'm going to buy

that." So he went in debt and borrowed he begged, borrowed, and stole to

get that property. Then he opened up an office. Of course, Connie Mack was

in the real estate business. When he heard this, he needed somebody to handle

real estate. He couldn't do it, he couldn't sell his own -property. But he

didn't know that much about real estate, so he needed somebody that was in

the real estate business that was licensed, to be able to operate properly.

So he hired Connie. Then Jack came into the picture. They bought property

in Baltimore and they had quite a few people that went in with them at the

time. There was I think 10 or 11 of them at one time, and they each put

I think, $10,000 in it. He said if they would go along with him and help

him with $10,000 that he would show them a million dollars a piece if they

would stay with him. Some of them, I understand, he ended up buying them

out, but I don't know if he paid a million. He payed them plenty. One in

particular, he couldn't see it at all. He was always arguing with Leonard

about it will never get off the ground. Nobody will live in the boondocks.

"You're selling, but what is it? You have nothing there." He expected to

buy a piece of property with houses already built on it and people living on


it, that's where he thought his money was going to go. He couldn't see

beyond his nose. So he pulled out of it. So Leonard had to go borrow money

to pay him off.

D--I heard that Leonard, more than anything else, respected people who

could do their job.

J--He did. Like I say, he said to me, "Johnny, I don't know what it is you do,

but you can sell more land than any two others here in the office. What do

you attribute it to?" That's when I told him I attribute it to God. "What's

God got to do with it?" From then on I used to talk to the men and I would

talk to them about faith and understanding. They would say, "Let the

preacher tell you something." One day I said to him, "Kenny, I think that

is mockery. That's all it is. I believe in God and I put my faith in him.

I ask him for help and guidance. And I thank him for what he's done for me.

You make mockery of it. I'm a Christian and you're a Jew. Maybe that's the

difference." "Oh no Johnny, I don't mean it. I know that your heart is in

the right place and that you believe in your faith and I admire you for it."

But we had that understanding anyway.

D--Was there any conflict in the organization because the majority of the people

in the organization (at least the higher ups) were Jewish. Was there any

antisemitism or anything?

J--No. Leonard's brother-in-law came in.

D--Sol Sandler?

J--Sandler. He was a real nice guy. Couldn't ask for a nicer person.

D--What was his job?

J--I really don't know. He was an overseer. He came out when I was in the

housing division. He treated me like I was his brother. He said, "Johnny

you're doing a fabulous job." I said, "Well, I don't know. I think I'd

rather be back in land than on this housing bit." I had to sit down and

handle all the credit applications. Everybody that came in and wanted to

buy a home. I was working through a mortgage company at one bank First


Federal the only place in Ft. Myers we could get a mortgage. I took

...I didn't sent them in there to get their credit application or to meet

the bank's officers, I took all the applications and I would submit them to

them and say, "Let me know how it turns out and how soon can we pick the

check up." Then we drew up an agreement with them that they would pay so much

down and then we would break ground. Then when the footers were up we would

get another portion of it. When the building walls were up, we would get

another portion of it. When the roof went on, we got the next to the last

and when the people took title to the property, moved into it, or settled on

it, we would take our last check. But I'd take all the credit information

from everybody and submit it to the First Federal for investigation purposes.

D--Was there...When Gulf American began to open up other properties like Remuda


J--I didn't get in that at all. I never bothered with it at all. I always said

I know what it is down there that's for Indianas. I never wanted to have it on

my conscience that I could sell somebody something that I didn't believe in

myself. They knew how I felt. But Kenny said one day, "Why don't you go down

to Remuda Ranch and see what you can do down there?" "No. Not me. I don't

want no part of that."

D--Was that a typical feeling in the organization?

J--No. They hired people and put them to work down there the same as here in

the Cape. They worked right there period. Then a lot of them wanted to get

out of there and come up to work at the Cape. I had nothing to do with any

of them.

D--I heard some people say that if the Rosens had stuck with Cape Coral and

developed it properly and had not gone in to buying all these other land

properties, that they probably wouldn't have gotten into as much trouble as

they did with the Land Sales Board and different things like that.

J--I think that had a great deal to do with it. To my knowledge we were never


in trouble with them. There would be a little conflict every now and then.

They'd say look you're selling property...It would really be remarks that

were made by the salesmen. That's why I always said tell the truth. If you

can't tell the truth we don't want you. We don't need any liars here to sell

this property. The property stands on its own merit. You don't have to lie.

When you resort to lying, then get out of the business. First of all you take

an oath when you become a real estate salesman that you'll do the proper

thing to follow that particular .trade if you want to But the real estate

board would take your license away from you faster than anything else if they

knew you were selling it my misrepresentation. Misrepresenting yourself or

misrepresenting the property you're selling. They'd revoke your license just

as quick as to look at you. I'm still a member of the board. I still get

papers every month that come from the Board and tell you so and so got their

license suspended and what it's for. Six months suspension or revoked.

D--Who do you think, in your opinion, besides Leonard and Jack Rosen were the most

important people in the organization that made it successful.

J--Connie Mack was the number one asset to the company, I think.

D--Why is that?

J--I think because he being known the world over not he but his father. When

they say Connie Mack people knew who he was and what he was. The average

person who was interested in athletics, especially baseball, everybody knew

Connie Mack. They'd say, "Oh Connie Mack. That's the guy that owned the

Philadelphia Athletic." Well, he's in real estate. When they'd come in they

would ask to see Connie Mack. Sometimes Connie wasn't there and they would

call me on the phone and say, "I have some people here to see Connie Mack.

I'm going to bring them into you John." I'd say o.k. They'd open the door

and say this is Mr. so and so. They'd say, "Oh Connie Mack I'm so glad

to meet you." It would be me. I'd say, "I'm sorry but I'm not Connie

Mack." I had people that were introduced to me and never even called me that


until we got in the conversation. They'd say,,"Well Mr. Mack what do you

think?" I'd say, "My name isn't Mack. I'm not Connie Mack." My name would

be right on the desk, but they wouldn't even see that. They thought I was

using John Warren's desk or something. I think Connie Mack was an asset

the greatest asset to the Company. Leonard was...what would you say...

dogmatic I guess you would probably say he was. He wasn't at the office

doing it, but he was out plugging here and there. He would go all over the

United States. He'd pick up the phone and say, "Well I only need $40,000.

Or I only need $108,000 and I'll give it back to you. I'll see you get it

back within a year."

D--So Leonard would spend the majority of his time raising money.

J--The majority of his time was spent getting the money to pay for this thing.

To keep it going. Once the money started rolling in...I think not to be

egotistical in saying this or thinking this way...I think, with my

knowledge in land sales and past experience in land sales, and the developing

to bring people in to build...or I mentioned to you if we don't stop selling

this land now and restrict it to immediate building, we're not going to have

any land to sell for immediate building. They're going to wait until our know they're not coming down for forty years or twenty years.

We're going to have land