At the jammed May 20 meeting about the tax, high-priced club lawyers lobbied indignantly as commissioners yawned and stared at the ceiling. Lead club attorney Bill Spencer declared, "This is the first time that something like this has ever been attempted by any government."

Among the three experts who spoke in the club's defense was Timoney, who appeared in a John Gotti-esque gray pinstriped suit and argued that Indian Creek cops are far more than butlers with badges. "Make no mistake about it, this is a full-fledged police department," he asserted, describing how in a recent ride-along, the island officers had found a golf shack unlocked: "That's traditional police work."

But club representatives were overruled by villagers, including Braman, who said the assessment was "about fairness."

"It may well be that we have to be at the Supreme Court," Councilman Holtz said as the ordinance was approved, "but the residents have spoken."

Carolyn Smathers sobbed at the result: "The island and the club are like a married couple who no longer love each other. But it's too expensive to get a divorce."

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