Corey Williams, South Florida Times (Miami), March 17, 2009
He travels in his own Boeing 737. He won a $240 million verdict against Disney. He “can’t stand to lose.” And he’s on the job for former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
He’s the “giant killer,” attorney Willie E. Gary, who filed a lawsuit for Kilpatrick this week against Skytel over steamy text messages that helped bring the mayor down.
Gary’s Web site notes that he’s won more than 150 cases where awards or settlements were more than $1 million each. That’s good news for Kilpatrick. His legal victories have been few.
Gary’s law firm has opulent headquarters along the St. Lucie River in Stuart, about 100 miles north of Miami. He has a 50-room mansion in Stuart. His custom jetliner, “Wings of Justice II,” seats 32 and subs as an office in the air.
Gary wouldn’t say how much the plane cost, but said he poured $11 million into refurbishing and decorating the interior. The work includes an 18-karat gold sink, leather seats, carpeting and a $1.2 million sound system.
He’s also the chairman of the Black Family Channel, a 24-hour cable channel billed as being devoted to “family values” programming aimed at urban viewers.
Now a millionaire “many times over,” he says he was raised poor and picked crops in southern migrant farming communities. He got a degree in business administration from Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., where he was co-captain of the football team, and went on to earn his law degree at North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C.
Gary says the $100 million demand he made to Skytel “could go up.”
“I can’t stand to lose,” he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “You’ve got to outwork the opponent. I don’t think there is a lawyer in America that is going to outwork Willie Gary.”