From the pro-Trump stickers on his white van to the profile information on his Twitter account, Cesar Sayoc, the Aventura man arrested Friday for allegedly mailing pipe bombs to prominent Democrats, trumpets his affiliation to the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
“Native Americans for Trump” reads one sticker of the Seminole flag posted on the white passenger van that police towed from the AutoZone in Plantation where Sayoc, 56, was arrested.
“Booking Agent / Sales / Marketing / Promotions / Project Mgr Live Events Seminole Hard Rock Live,” reads one of at least two Twitter profiles associated with Sayoc.
“Seminole Indians: An Unconquered Tribe,” reads a slide-show frame posted on Oct. 12 to a Twitter account, @hardrock2016, that appears to belong to Sayoc and includes a photo him holding up a sign of the American flag, with the lettering, “Welcome President Trump”.
But the Seminole Tribe strongly denies that Sayoc has ever been a member of the prominent Native American group, which owns a global business of casinos, restaurants and hotels, including the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino near Hollywood. The Seminole entertainment empire generates an estimated annual operating profit of $1.5 billion, according to Forbes magazine.
Tribe spokesman Gary Bitner, alluding to the many social media profiles that appear to be associated with Sayoc, flatly rejected the assertion that Sayoc is affiliated with the tribe.
“We can find no evidence that Cesar Altieri, Caesar Altieri, Caesar Altieri Sayoc, Ceasar Altieri Randazzo (Facebook) or Julus Cesar Milan (Twitter) is or was a member or employee of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, or is or was an employee of Seminole Gaming or Hard Rock International,” Bitner said in an email. “At this time, we cannot verify if he is or was an employee of a vendor company.”
Sayoc, who claims to be a former professional soccer player, wrestler and cage fighter in a Twitter account profile, has lived in South Florida for decades, according to court filings, property records and other documents.
He was born in Brooklyn in 1962, the son of a Filipino immigrant, and attended North Miami Beach High School, according to information from ancestry.com, the genealogy company that tests the DNA of customers to reveal ancestral roots.
Sayoc has a criminal history in Miami-Dade and Broward counties — including a 2002 charge of threatening to throw a bomb and charges of grand theft, battery and possession with intent to sell a muscle-building steroid. He graduated from North Miami Beach High in 1980, according to yearbook photos. While at Brevard College, he belonged to the Catholic club.
It’s not clear if Sayoc earned a degree at Brevard. But by 2013, he was managing a road show for a male strip dancing company based in Ohio, according to a letter filed on Sayoc’s behalf in a Broward County criminal case charging him with grand theft and battery.
Tony Valentine, owner of Valentine Productions, the company that employed Sayoc, wrote a letter to the court in September 2014, stating that Sayoc is “a vital part of managing and overseeing my road productions and revenue from club venues.”
Reached by telephone on Friday, Valentine first said he declined comment, then expressed regret over writing the letter.
“I met him a million year ago and he got caught stealing and wanted me to write a letter to the judge down in Florida,” Valentine said. “I never should have done that. I’ve gotten 500 phone calls today. This sh-t gets in the paper and it’s going to make it look like I know this guy.”
Those who knew Sayoc say he has no Seminole blood.
Ron Lowy, a Miami attorney, represented Sayoc when he was charged with threatening to bomb Florida Power & Light over a pricey electric bill in 2002. Lowy said his former client is a misfit who created a “fantasy” identity in order to feel like he belonged.
“He wanted a background,” Lowy said. “He wanted to be liked by people so he created this story.”
This story has been updated with additional reporting and to correct the institution where Sayoc belonged to the Catholic club, Brevard College.