Terry Smiljanich

Terry SmiljanichTerry is part of the original baby boomer generation, born at MacDill Airfield, Tampa, Florida, shortly after World War II, to a military family. His dad was part of the D-Day invasion as a B-26 tail gunner, and his mother had worked in the Navy Bureau of Ships during the war.

Leading a typical “military brat” existence, Terry grew up in Japan, Miami, Tampa, Mississippi and Texas.

Although he always thought he was going to be an astronomer, his encounter with Advanced Calculus convinced him to get his B.A. in English. He went on to law school, and after a stint as a federal judge’s law clerk with his friend Chris Hoyer, he and Chris got jobs as federal prosecutors in Tampa. Back in the mid-seventies, there were only eight federal prosecutors covering Tampa and the west coast of Florida, so Terry got to do it all – prosecuting bank robberies, kidnappings, drug importation, racketeering, environmental pollution, fraud, tax evasion. Although he ended up helping bring down the Mafia in Tampa (at least he thinks so), he fondly remembers his first trial as a fledgling prosecutor – the charge was “molesting a yucca plant” in a federal wildlife preserve, and he nailed the perpetrator. Prosecuting bad guys was not just satisfying work, it was downright fun.

Terry became a private trial lawyer, and for years defended lawyers, engineers and other professionals accused of malpractice. He whetted his appetite for prosecutions by becoming actively involved as Chairman of a local organization, the Tampa Bay Skeptics (TBS). TBS, in existence for over 20 years, is devoted to the investigation and exposure of pseudoscientific claims (psychics, faith healers, dowsers, etc.), and offers $1,000 to anyone who can demonstrate paranormal powers. So far, its money is safe.

In 1987, Congress came calling. The nation was caught up in the “Iran/Contra” guns for hostages crisis. What did Reagan know and when did he know it? Did Oliver North maintain a secret slush fund to circumvent the laws? The Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition convened, and Terry was asked by Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia to come to Washington as one of the ten Associate Senate Counsels to conduct the investigation and the hearings. Terry took a leave of absence from his firm and spent eight months working for the Senate. His primary areas of responsibility were the State Department and the White House. Again, the prosecution bug had bitten him.

In the nineties, his friend Chris Hoyer was regaling him with stories of corporate fraud and rampant greed that Chris’ law firm was uncovering. Deciding that the professionals he had been representing so well didn’t need his help as much as the suffering public, Terry joined forces with Chris and never looked back. Prosecuting large corporations (banks, insurance companies and the like) for defrauding the public was just like old times. Terry became lead class counsel in many nationwide class actions, including several against companies violating the privacy rights of citizens.

The Consumer Warning Network has given Terry a new outlet for his varied talents and pent-up rage against corporate wrongdoing. He hopes that the Consumer Warning Network can continue to “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.”