"They should have said the reasons we pay extra are because trucks get blown up along the way,’’ Kise said. "The No. 1 priority in war time is making sure the company you hired can actually do the job.’’
Sargeant and wife Deborah, 54, live in a $7.5 million oceanfront home in Gulf Stream, an exclusive town of 926 residents just north of Delray Beach in Palm Beach County. They have two children. The 19,000-square-foot mansion has frequently been the scene of GOP fundraisers.
Besides Crist and Sembler, Sargeant’s tight group of fraternity brothers includes David Rancourt, a former Tallahassee lobbyist turned land developer; Broward County Judge John "Jay’’ Hurley; former Broward Deputy Sheriff Tom Wheeler, and Charlie Barnes, former head of the Seminole Boosters and an advisor to the Pikes in the 1970s.
‘LIKE STEVE JOBS’
"I know Harry as a really bright, smart entrepreneur, few people have that kind of talent,’’ Hurley said. "He is one of those people like Steve Jobs who can come up with a new device every six months. Harry was always out front in the shipping and oil business.’’
Sargeant is frequently accompanied by Martin, the former CIA agent hired to help with the oil transportation business. "When you are dealing in some of those Middle Eastern countries, you need his expertise,’’ noted Sembler. "When he and Harry talk about business, we leave the room.’’
Sargeant also likes guns. Lots of guns. Sembler estimates that Sargeant has around 300 guns, including AR-15’s, .50-caliber sniper rifles, automatic weapons, pistols and 9mm’s.
But Sargeant doesn’t like to hunt. On one occasion Sembler and other Pike brothers were invited to a hunting camp for shooting competitions. Sembler loves to hunt deer and elk and was disappointed to learn that they were there during a week when no hunting was allowed.
One of the big unanswered questions for Sargeant and the other Pikes who are all Republicans is whether they’ll support Crist if he runs for governor as a Democrat.
"We haven’t talked about it,’’ said Barnes. "That is the elephant in the room.’’
Tampa Bay Times researcher Caryn Baird and staff writer Michael Van Sickler contributed to this report.