His grandfather, Harm Sierts Huizenga, emigrated from the Netherlands in 1893 and settled in Chicago.
(Harry) Wayne Huizenga was born in Evergreen Park, a Chicago suburb, on December 29, 1937.
Wayne is of Dutch descent. His parents, Gerrit Harry Huizenga and Jean (Riddering) Huizenga, were both products of the Chicago Dutch community. They were strict Dutch Reformed Christians and the young Huizenga had to sneak out of the house whenever he wanted to attend a movie or a dance.
Harry was not an easy man to live with. In a divorce petition filed in 1954, Jean Huizenga accused her husband of ongoing mental and physical abuse that eventually landed her in a mental hospital. He would demand sex and when she didn't comply, he beat her, she stated. Police records indicate that she filed a complaint alleging that Harry terrorized her on New Year's Eve 1953.
In October of 1954, Huizenga’s parents divorced and his mother was given custody of young Huizenga and his younger sister, Bonnie. There were family problems. On July 26, 1954 the police were called to serve Harry Huizenga with a bill of complaint accusing him of "extreme cruelty" to his wife, Jean, but Harry had fled.
Wayne and his sister, Bonnie, had to testify at the divorce hearing. He said his father would lose his temper a lot, and hit him and his mother. Bonnie remembered a time when her father entered her brother's bedroom and hit him in the face with his fist. "The next morning Wayne had a lump on his cheek," she said.
His mother remarried, but that too was a brutal liaison, and again Wayne had to testify in court that his mother's husband had brutalized her. She was divorced again in 1969.
In his mid-teens his family moved to Florida and settled in the Fort Lauderdale area. He had enough money to finance his own race car as a teenager - an old Buick with his name, Wayne, scrawled across the doors. After high school graduation he moved back to Chicago where most of his friends, grandparents and other relatives still lived.
In September 1959, Huizenga enlisted in the Army reserve and spent six months in the service full time to complete his basic training. On September 10, 1960 he married Joyce VanderWagon. (The marriage ended in divorce in August 1966. In her complaint, Joyce accused Huizenga of "extreme cruelty.")
Huizenga then moved back to Florida, where he was given a job by one of his father’s friends as a garbage truck driver in Pompano Beach, Florida. Huizenga’s uncles were all part of Huizenga and Sons, a Chicago garbage-hauling business established by Huizenga’s grandfather.
A self-employed electrical engineer, Thomas Millwood opened the front door of his Pompano Beach home, Tuesday, October 11, 1960 to a man of moderate height and build, his blue eyes squinty, his blond hair already receding. The visitor was a salesman of sorts. He proposed that Millwood switch garbage-collection services to the firm he represented, Pompano Carting.
Thomas Millwood, however, was not swayed by the sales pitch, a rejection that evidently caused something in young Huizenga to snap.
According to a civil suit Millwood filed in November 1961, salesman Huizenga refused to vacate the premises. "After using abusive and profane language to both Millwood and his wife, the defendant Huizenga attacked Millwood in a fit of anger and without provocation…striking him on his face and body, using great force and violence, thereby inflicting great bodily harm and mental shock."
The altercation left Millwood with a ripped shirt, broken sunglasses, and abrasions on his face. Most painful, noted the lawsuit, was the "permanent injury to the testicles and genital area as a result of grabbing and twisting by the defendant."
The matter went to trail, where Huizenga claimed Millwood had instigated the violence. The jury believed Millwood and awarded him $1000 in damages.
Dean Buntrock had a company called Ace Scavenger Service. In 1960 the Wisconsin attorney general accused Buntrock and eleven other officials of unfair business practices as a result of the haulers' efforts to infiltrate the Milwaukee trash market.
Their companies' alleged tactics, detailed in a 1962 civil suit filed by the attorney general, included "threatening physical harm to the owners of competing firms…and their families and destruction or damage to their property and equipment." The Milwaukee Circuit Court issued an injunction against the companies, which remained in effect for eight years.
"The way people were settling here, there wasn't anything to do but make money," recalls Wilbur Porter, who along with his son-in-law John Currington ran Porter's Rubbish Service, one of the county's first major garbage firms. For months Huizenga pressed Porter to let him purchase a share of the business so he could start his own company. Porter relented in 1962, selling the young entrepreneur a snub-nosed truck and $500 worth of customers.
While official legend attributes the transformation to a Herculean work ethic, John Currington recalls it differently. "Wayne played it real smart," says Currington. "He used to hold meetings in the back of this redneck bar in Hollywood. I remember those real well, because me and my father-in-law were the only blacks there. Wayne ran the meetings, and he was always pressing my father-in-law for money to help pay for some lawsuit against the county, several hundred dollars a week. He would put forward these legalities to the group, and a few of his close associates would Amen. If you didn't understand what was going on, you didn't ask questions. And my father-in-law was not a man with much formal education. You might say those demands and pressure was one of the things that got to be too much for Wilbur and he sold out.
Wilbur Porter, now 84 years old, says he remembers attending the meetings Huizenga led, and making regular payments for legal costs. But he says the primary reason he sold out was another looming pressure: organized crime. "Some big shots from up north, syndicate guys, had come down," Porter recalls. "I could see what was going to happen. The big fishes were going to eat the little fishes. So I got out."
Before long, it was Huizenga who was the biggest fish around. By 1969 his single truck had become a fleet. With his father and father-in-law as partners, he had launched half a dozen garbage-collection companies, with routes that stretched from Key West to Tampa.
Wayne Huizenga, Dean Buntrock, and Larry Beck founded Waste Management, Inc. in 1968 and it grew into an entity that would become a Fortune 500 company. Huizenga aggressively purchased independent garbage hauling companies and by the time he took the company public in 1972, he had completed the acquisition of 133 small-time haulers.
Huizenga married his second wife, Marti Goldsby, in April 1972.
They won a city cleaning contract for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 1976.
They were given an effective monopoly on landfill sites by government regulations.
Arthur Anderson were the companies auditors.
Huizenga served as WMI's president from 1971 until 1982, at which time he became vice chairman of the board of directors. He left the firm in 1984, but for several years afterward carried on his affiliation as a paid consultant and a major stockholder.
Wayne Huizenga stepped down in 1984. He then began buying hotels, office buildings, pest control businesses, warehouses, and lawn care services. By the end of 1986, Huizenga and his new company, Huizenga Holdings, had bought more than 100 businesses that generated $100 million in annual income.
Between the years of 1992 and 1997, the executive officers of Waste Management, Inc. began "cooking" the accounting books. In 1993, Waste Management, Inc. changes to WMX Technologies, Inc. When a new CEO took charge of the company in 1997, he ordered a review of the company's accounting practices in 1997. In 1998 Waste Management restated its 1992-1997 earnings by $1.7 billion, making it the largest restatement in history.
In 1998, in a pivotal development point, Waste Management merged with USA Waste Services, Inc.
Huizenga repeated his business success with Blockbuster Video: In late 1987, Huizenga was persuaded by John J. Melk, an executive at Waste Management, Inc., to look into Blockbuster Video, a Dallas, Texas-based chain of eight video-rental stores and 11 franchises. In 1987, Huizenga and his partners bought a 43 percent interest in the business for about $18 million, and he began to build it at an astonishingly fast rate. Inspired by Ray Kroc of McDonald’s and his pioneering franchising concepts, Huizenga set out to make Blockbuster the McDonald’s of the video rental world. He would buy up competing video-rental stores in the same market and offer the customers large, well-lit stores offering at least 8,000 video titles to rent. Blockbuster advertised itself as “America’s video store” and removed all NC-17 and X-rated titles. It even removed crude language from movie trailers it showed in its stores.
By 1994, when Huizenga sold his share of the newly named Blockbuster Entertainment Corporation to Viacom, Inc. (owners of MTV) for $8.4 billion, it had 3,700 stores.
Eventually, he would also build and acquire auto dealerships, from which in 1996 he formed AutoNation, which has become the nation's largest automotive dealer and a Fortune 500 company, and remains his most recent major business venture.
Huizenga has been a five-time recipient of Financial World magazine's "CEO of the Year" award, and was the Ernst & Young "2005 World Entrepreneur of the Year".
In late 2004, he sold his ownership share in a group of hotels that included The Hyatt Pier 66 Hotel and Radisson Bahia Mar Hotel & Marina in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, The Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Florida, and several others in Naples, Florida and Arizona.
In 2010, Huizenga reconnected with Steve Berrard, former CEO of Blockbuster Video and AutoNation, to take Swisher Hygiene public. Swisher Hygiene trades on the Nasdaq and the Toronto Stock Exchange. Swisher Hygiene was previously CoolBrands International inc.
Wayne's father, Harry Huizenga, 85, died Friday, Aug. 31 2001, in his home in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.
Wallace J. Hilliard[edit | edit source]
Hilliard’s chief aviation mechanic was Dave Montgomery, who told us of witnessing a meeting Wally Hilliard had with Huizenga on the Dolphins owner’s helicopter, which bore the Dolphins logo.
“Hilliard came out and got into the helicopter, and the two men held a meeting that lasted almost an hour, right on the apron,” Montgomery stated, “before Hilliard exited the helicopter and Huizenga took off.”
Richard Wayne Boehlke[edit | edit source]
In May 1996 Alternative Living Services, Inc. acquired Boehlke's New Crossings International Corporation.
Peter H. Huizenga is the cousin of H. Wayne Huizenga. He is married to Heidi Huizenga. Peter and Heidi were involved with Alternative Living Services, Inc. in 1996/1997.
Louis D. Paolino[edit | edit source]
Louis D. Paolino, once known as the “Garbage King of New Jersey,” was one of only a handful of entities ever funded by Texas "investment bank" Argyll Equity LLC, the major investor in the company whose DC9 was busted on April 11, 2006 in Mexico’s Yucatan, carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine.
A Fort Lauderdale investor who lost $5.8 million with Scoop Management Inc. has filed his own fraud suit against Neil and Chris Moody, general partners in three of Scoop's hedge funds. The suit, filed by Louis Paolino Jr., accuses the Moodys of fraudulent inducement, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, constructive trust and conversion.
The father-and-son financial team faced legal action in connection with the implosion of the hedge fund group it helped start and manage with Arthur G. Nadel.
Arthur G. Nadel owned Venice Jet Center, LLC.
John Ellis Bush[edit | edit source]
CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 1, 2013 Swisher Hygiene Inc. announced today that its Board of Directors has nominated seven individuals to the Board, to be voted on by Swisher Hygiene's Stockholders at the Annual Meeting scheduled to be held on June 5, 2013. Current Chairman H. Wayne Huizenga and Directors Senator David Braley and Governor John Ellis ("Jeb") Bush have notified the Board of Directors that each will not stand for reelection.
Other Connections[edit | edit source]
The Huizengas have donated tens of thousands of dollars mainly to Republican candidates. Look no further than the walls of the family offices for evidence of GOP roots: Photos of various Huizengas with President George W. and Laura Bush; President Ronald Reagan; U.S. Reps. J. Dennis Hastert and Henry Hyde of Illinois and Tom DeLay of Texas adorn the wall outside the conference room.
But Peter Huizenga has made exceptions. He gave money to Dan Hynes, the Democratic state comptroller. "You have to be a realist in politics, and this is a Democratic state," Mr. Huizenga says.