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Richard L. DiMeola

Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Consolidated Cigar Corporation
From the Print Edition:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Summer 96

(continued from page 17)

CA: Honduran?

DiMeola: No. We experimented with Nicaraguan, Ecuadorian, and we're not now using any of them. We're still using some Cameroon, but not for wrapper.

CA: Do you see the quality of the crops for binder and filler in the Dominican Republic changing, or has it basically been consistent in quality for the last 10 or 15 years? Is it in any way changing?

DiMeola: It's been more or less consistent. Last year's crop was good and I'm told this year's crop is looking excellent. I'm not a leaf man. I'm only telling you what I hear.

CA: Do you have any plans for using or experimenting with Dominican wrapper?

DiMeola: We don't own any farms in the Dominican Republic. If somebody can produce good Dominican wrapper tobacco and it becomes available in sufficient quantity, we would certainly be interested in it, yes. We'd be interested in anything that's going to help our blends.

CA: But you have no plans to vertically integrate, to become a farmer?

DiMeola: No, we do not.

CA: And you don't own any land, per se, anywhere in the world to grow tobacco.

DiMeola: Not any longer. We feel this gives us more versatility.

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