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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fumare Exclusive: An Interview with Richard Armittage

Mr. Richard Armittage, successful entrepreneur, businessman, and frequent Monaghan defender sat down with Fumare to give his candid assessment of the recent events concerning the faculty lawsuit and goings on in Ave Maria Florida.

Fumare (F): Thanks for sitting down with us, Richard.

Richard Armittage (RA): Hey, no problem. You guys could use a bit of schooling up on what business is all about. I'm glad I can help.

F: We've had some rather strident disagreements over the past few years regarding Mr. Monaghan and the way the Ave Maria enterprises are run. Before we get to the meat of the matter, why don't you tell us a bit about yourself. Where you're from, your influences, and all that.
RA: Glad to. I was born in Detroit in 1937 in a tough section of town. It was a different world in those days, nobody was gonna give you a handout and those that expected it were suckers who listened to FDR. During the war, I helped deliver eggs and made my first couple bucks. From there I went on to work for Amalgamated Systems, Inc. and rose through the ranks to eventually buy the company in 1970. We reincorporated and renamed the company Galvanized Amalgamated Systems (GAMS), partly in memory of this knockout waitress I met in Atlantic City in '68.
F: When did you first meet Tom Monaghan?
RA: I first met Tom (laughing)...you're never gonna believe this....(laughing) at a cheese social in 1985. Did you know Tom is a big fan of cheese?
F: No, I did not know that.
RA: Anyway, we get to talkin' and I quickly discover he and I are cut from the same cloth. Tough as nails and take no prisoners--you know, old school!
F: Explain what you mean by "old school."
RA: C'mon, you know what I mean. Listen. In order to survive this dog-eat-dog world, you have to make sure you're not wearing Milk-Bone Underwear, you know what I mean? In business, you need to make as much as you can as fast as you can; you gotta know which palms to grease and which lap-dogs to hire. Besides all that, you need to have a vision! It could be Shan-gri-La in South Central LA, but you need to have it and drive, drive, drive! You know what I mean. It's old school.
F: Does "old school" include treating people like pizzas?
RA: Oh here we go. You whiners gotta stop the sappy "boo-hoo, somebody got fired" bs. C'mon, this is business. Somebody, don't want to play the game, you gotta boot him! Its as simple as that. It's about the vision. It's old school.
F: But isn't curious that Mr. Monaghan wraps himself in the cloak of the Catholic Church and doesn't seem to walk the walk?
RA: Hell, its about the vision. Tom and I often speak about the pope and stuff like that. Hey, what can I say, the pope's a great guy, but he doesn't know anything about business. He needs to stick to that theology stuff, you know, what he's good at. All this stuff recently about his new pastoral letter or whatever it is, it doesn't really concern Tom or me. The pope is in Italy, he's not in Southwest Florida. It's too bad, the pope's just not old school like Tom and me.
F: But it seems as if Ave Maria is all about Tom than it is about the Church or even Our Lady.
RA: So, what's your point?
F: Well, consider: (1) Tom controls everything--from his foundation to the banks in Ave Maria Town to the boards of the educational institutions; (2) Tom's favorite architecture is in play in AMT; (3) Tom's Marine nickname is the mascot for the Ave Maria University...need I go on?
RA: You guys just don't get it do you! It's the vision thing. You gotta drive, drive, drive! People who aren't with you are against you and you need to throw them out. Damn what these "scholars" say, they are terrorists! The only way to get things done is to be old school.
Part 2 of this interview will continue in an upcoming Fumare post.