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A Conversation with Nestor Miranda

The founder of Miami Cigar & Co. talks about the rise, fall and rebirth of his Don Lino brand.
David Savona
From the Print Edition:
David Caruso, Jan/Feb 2007

(continued from page 7)

A: Yes, it was cigars, a company that sold cigars all over the U.S. golf courses, big business. They controlled all the golf courses of the U.S.A., and UST supplied them with cigars, but they had to go through me.

Q: They were cut off?

A: They were cut off, and they lost a lot of millions of dollars. And the lawyers said, "We want to represent you. You do have a case." I said, "No, I don't want to spend all my money in fees." We worked a deal, and out of the blue sky we sued them.

Q: So you wouldn't have sued otherwise?

A: Well, probably they were not expecting me to sue. Because I'm a little guy. They had the power. So I was kind of afraid to sue them and consume all my savings for nothing. So when I saw these people and I saw this letter, I was really, really mad. I got together with my family. My wife said, "We have to do a lesson." So I said, "Let's go." We went. We sued them—$100 million for damages.

Q: How did you come to the $100 million figure?

A: The calculation was made by a company in California. It was a $100 million suit, and it was done in Miami. They wanted it to be brought to Connecticut, but my lawyers won the right to have it in Miami. They sent an entourage of about 10 lawyers to Miami. My lawyers were two people from Texas. I said, "There's no way we can win this." And we won. We won the suit.

Q: The original judgment was for?

A: Forty-two-point-five million dollars, and we were on the front page of The Miami Herald. Then they appealed, the appeal went on, we finally settled the whole thing. It's OK.

Q: How much did you get?

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