|Naturally, I cannot be unbiased when relating the difficult and often
hurtful account of Dad's breakup with his brother Robert.
A simple way to put it is that there came a point - after the Marco
permit denial - when the brothers saw things from different
perspectives. They were at different points in their lives. Robert was
ready to retire and Dad was not. Dad had a son who was dedicated to the
business. Robert did not. Dad and I were willing to fight and risk what
we had on the future of Deltona and Robert and Robert Jr. were not. In
any event the differences resulted - after months of dispute - in
an agreement to divide the their jointly owned assets. The final
agreement was signed on February 1st, 1977.
Once the separation agreement was signed Robert resigned from
After nearly forty years, the Mackle Brothers partnership was over.
The Mackle Company would go on under Dad's sole ownership.
Dad was nearing his sixtieth birthday when breakup with Robert began.
He had had at least one heart problem. The permit denial and the breakup
were devastating. A lesser man would have been broken.
Dad was not a lesser man.
He dealt decisively with the public announcement and legal responses
the Corps decision. The pursuit of a measure of justice through legal actions
was his main focus for the next few years.
Late in 1976 he made another important contribution to Deltona's
By this time Dad had several significant positions with two other
companies and one beloved university.
In the past ten years he had been named a Trustee of the University of Notre
Dame, to the Board of W.R. Grace & Co and the Board of Mutual of Omaha.
The W.R. Grace and Mutual directorships came about as a result of
contacts he had made on the Notre Dame Board of Trustees.
All three boards were made up of some of the most influential men and
women in the nation. Dad was very well liked and respected and as a
result he was able to bring several important opportunities to Deltona's
One that made a real impact was a joint venture - signed in late 1976
- with Clint Murchison
to complete the development of Tierra Verde.
Another which held our attention for about a year but never came to
fruition was a potential joint venture to acquire and develop land in
He had a way - even in times of adversity - to keep his - and our - creative
I especially remember is Dadís announcement in June just two months
after the denial of two new hotels on Marco - in spite of the fact that
we were near bankruptcy!
At the time I thought he was crazy but, in hind site, it was a bold
move which reflected his life-long optimism and did bring a ray of hope
to employees and stockholders.
The two hotels would include one geared to families on a budget and
the other - which we actually did preliminary plans on - would be a
luxurious five-star hotel catering to the super rich - a hotel a
substantial cut above the incredible Marco Beach Hotel!
Of course we were soon forced to sell the Marco Beach Hotel. New ones
were just not in the cards.
After the closing on the sale of the Key Biscayne Hotel in February
began to turn his attention to investing the proceeds. The Mackle
Company was staffed up. In 1980 Bill Quarles was recruited
from Price Waterhouse to lead the effort. Richard Ladd, also from Price
Waterhouse, soon joined up. Before long several new operations were
acquired. Other cash was invested in stocks and mutual funds.
About the same time Dad built a second home on the golf course at
Marco and bought a summer home in Spring Lake New Jersey. At Marco -
around 1980 - he and mom built a new home on the golf course and a year
or two later closed on a Summit House Condominium. Marco - in spite of
all the difficulties it had caused - was still his favorite get-away.
He began to
spend more time on his horses as well.
In 1979 Bill O'Dowd resigned
and although he would stay on as a Director for several years - and
would remain a life-long friend - he would no longer be the daily
business ally that he had been since the early 1950s. Only Dad and Neil Bahr remained from
the group that started Deltona seventeen years before.
In the second quarter of 1979 the Marco Beach Hotel was sold to
In 1979 I was named President of Deltona.
Dad's focus was less and less on Deltona and more and more on The
But from that new focus came the Dad's last major business achievement -