The Seminole Tribe of Florida recently announced Marcellus W. Osceola Jr. has been named its new chairman. Osceola replaces James E. Billie, who recently was removed by the Tribal Council over conflicts concerning policies and procedures.
Tribal officials said 843 votes were cast, with 319 for Osceola and 297 for Billie, who ran for his job again. Billie was tribal chairman when the Seminoles opened a bingo hall in Hollywood in 1979. He helped expand the business to a $2.1 billion gambling operation including seven casinos; its Seminole Casino Tampa is one of the 10 largest in the U.S. After serving as chairman for 22 years, Billie was fired in 2001 on charges of sexual harassment and financial mismanagement; neither was proved in court. He was re-elected in 2011 and again in 2015, but was ousted on September 28, following a recall petition and a Tribal Council vote of 4-0.
According to a statement released by the tribe, Osceola, 44, will serve out the remainder of the current four-year term for the position of chairman, which will run through May 2019.
The statement said Osceola is an entrepreneur who lives on the Seminole reservation in Hollywood. Previously, he was elected to serve on both the governing Tribal Council of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the board of directors of the Seminole Tribe of Florida Inc., which manages the tribe’s non-gaming business interests.