Terry Smiljanich

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Terry Smiljanich
Terry Smiljanich photo.jpg
Terry Smiljanich in 2008
Counsel to the
United States Senate
Personal details
BornMarch 1, 1947
Tampa, Florida
Spouse(s)Dorothy Weik
ProfessionLawyer, writer

Terry Alan Smiljanich (born March 1, 1947) is an American lawyer who acted as counsel to the United States Senate during the congressional hearings on the Iran-Contra affair. In 1983 Smiljanich co-founded the law firm Blasingame, Forizs & Smiljanich.

Early life[edit]

Smiljanich was born in Tampa, Florida in 1947 to Peter and Olga Smiljanich.[1] His father was in the Air Force and the family traveled extensively, with stays in Japan, Mississippi, Florida and Texas.[2] He attended Alamo Heights High School, Randolph High School on Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, and graduated in 1965 from Thomas Jefferson High School in Tampa, Florida.


Smiljanich attended the University of Florida, where he met his wife Dorothy Weik in 1967 (they married in 1969). He graduated in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, and attended the University of Florida College of Law, serving as editor of the University of Florida Law Review[3] and graduating in 1972.[4]


Smiljanich served as a law clerk to United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida Judge Ben Krentzman[5] in Tampa from 1972 to 1974. He was Assistant United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida from 1974[6] to 1977.[7] While serving as a federal prosecutor, he handled organized crime cases, kidnappings, bank robberies, and environmental crimes, among other prosecutions. He won convictions of several organized crime figures.[4] Smiljanich served in the United States Army Reserve from 1972 to 1981, and became a captain.[2]

Smiljanich acted as counsel to the United States Senate during the congressional hearings on the Iran-Contra affair.[8] His responsibilities included investigations of State Department and White House personnel involved in the political scandal.[9] He conducted the public interrogation of former United States Secretary of the Treasury and Chief of Staff Donald Regan during the televised hearings.[10][11]

In 1983 Smiljanich co-founded the law firm Blasingame, Forizs & Smiljanich.[12] He was a partner there until 1997 when the firm merged with James, Hoyer & Newcomer[12][13] the firm is now James, Hoyer, Newcomer & Smiljanich, P.A. where he is currently a senior partner.[14][15][16] As a lawyer he has been critical of mortgage banks[17] and the practices in the private mortgage insurance business estimating that over one million homeowners in the U.S. were victims of the industry's failure to warn them about credit report issues that could raise premiums to over $700 a month on a $200,000 loan.[18][19] He is the founder and managing editor of the Consumer Warning Network writing extensively for that organization.[20][21] In his capacity at the Network he has been interviewed on local and national news programs and appeared in videos produced by the organization on a variety of topics including the foreclosure crisis, consumer scams and homeopathy.[22]

With Charles Wachter he authored a book for lawyers on class action suits in Florida.[23]


I say before you believe in something, you should require some credible evidence.

— Terry Smiljanich

He was a founding member and since 1989 he has been chairman[24] of the Tampa Bay Skeptics,[25][26] a scientific skeptic non-profit organization (affiliated with the Center for Inquiry) that Smiljanich says is, "devoted to critical examination of paranormal and fringe-science claims".[27] He described the goals of the organization "to counteract some of the kooks out there" and "attempt to impose some rationality in the world."[28]

In a 1990 letter to the editor he chided the St. Petersburg Times for a credulous review of a book on UFOs saying such content may boost circulation, "but do little to encourage proper skepticism in a country quickly slipping into scientific illiteracy."[29] In another letter to the editor of the paper, in 1993, he called astrology and creationism pseudosciences whose claims should be subject to scientific analysis, going on to say, "The fact that they have failed miserably in that regard allows scientists to throw them into the garbage heap along with flat earths, mind reading, and fortune telling."[30] In a 2008 St. Petersburg Times article on a guardian angel seminar Matt Albucher quotes Smiljanich, "I say before you believe in something, you should require some credible evidence. In this case, there is none"[31]

Since 1989 the Tampa Bay Skeptics has offered a $1,000 challenge to anyone able to prove the existence of paranormal powers[27] under mutually agreed testing protocols,[32] similar to the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge offered by the James Randi Educational Foundation.[33][34] Regarding the challenge he has said, "Our money is safe"[35] There have been ten attempts, including two that were televised, and no successes.[32]

From 1988 to 2013 the Tampa Bay Skeptics published a quarterly newsletter, The Tampa Bay Skeptics Report for which Smiljanich was a regular contributor.[36] He has written for the Skeptical Inquirer, a national magazine published by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry[37] and The Tampa Tribune.[38] In 2010 he spoke at a meeting of the Humanist Society of the Suncoast in Florida.[39]


Smiljanich is a member of the Major Gifts Committee for the University of Florida College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and bequeathed $1 million to the school.[3] He is also a board member of the Advisory Council for the Department of Astronomy at the University.


A member of the Alachua Astronomy Club, Smiljanich is an amateur astronomer.[40]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Smiljanich, Olga". Tampa Bay Times (obituary). St. Petersburg, FL. July 18, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Terry Smiljanich". The Consumer Warning Network. James, Hoyer, Newcomer & Smiljanich, P.A. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Alumni CLASnotes, Spring 2000: CLAS Couple Gives Back
  4. ^ a b Crawford, Craig (January 20, 1987). "Florida lawyer may join Iran probe". Orlando Sentinel.
  5. ^ "Judge follows presidential advice, retires from district bench at 68". The Miami Herald. Associated Press. November 16, 1982.
  6. ^ Employee Benefits Cases. Vol. 1. Arlington, VA: Bureau of National Affairs. 1974. p. 1093.
  7. ^ Federal Reporter. 2nd Series. Vol. 550. West. 1977. p. 1038.
  8. ^ Crawford, Craig (April 2, 1989). "North's defense to focus on his patriotism". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  9. ^ Koff, Stephen (July 31, 1987). "St. Petersburg lawyer has day in spotlight". St. Petersburg Times. p. A7.
  10. ^ Smiljanich, Terry; Regan, Donald (July 30, 1987). Iran-Contra Investigation Day 38. Washington, DC: Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network. Program ID: 9645-1. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  11. ^ "Iran-Contra hearings: The testimony: 'Couldn't seem to get their act together'". The New York Times. July 31, 1987.
    "Iran-Contra hearings: To balance the budget". The New York Times. July 31, 1987.
    "Iran-Contra hearings: Regan on Arms Shipment: 'Bigger Than a Breadbox?'". The New York Times. July 31, 1987.
  12. ^ a b Abercrombie, Paul (November 17, 1997). "Merging boutiques bridge bay". Tampa Bay Business Journal. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  13. ^ Jackson, Cheryl (November 21, 1997). "Law firms handling insurance suits merge". The Tampa Tribune. p. 4.
  14. ^ Burton, Virgil L., III, ed. (2013). "James, Hoyer and Newcomer P.A.". Ward's Business Directory of U.S. Private and Public Companies (56th ed.). Detroit: Gale.
  15. ^ Meinhardt, Jane (April 10, 2013). "Judge tosses part of Nadel receiver's lawsuit against Wells Fargo". Tampa Bay Business Journal. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  16. ^ "Terry Smiljanich". jameshoyer.com. James, Hoyer, Newcomer & Smiljanich, P.A. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  17. ^ Lewis, Al (October 17, 2010). "A foreclosure sitcom". The Wall Street Journal. p. 2.
  18. ^ Harney, Kenneth (November 21, 2004). "How credit reports stealthily jack up mortgage insurance". The Sun. Baltimore.
  19. ^ Crane, Amy Buttell (October 21, 2006). "Don't let mortgage insurance surprise you at the closing table". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. p. E2.
  20. ^ Huntley, Helen (August 17, 2008). "Colleges criticized for contracts With lenders". The Ledger. Lakeland, FL.
  21. ^ Lewis, Al (January 6, 2010). "What used to be a crime is now just banking". The Denver Post. Dow Jones Newswires. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  22. ^ Consumer Warning Network's channel on YouTube
  23. ^ Smiljanich, Terry A.; Wachter (2004). Litigating the Class Action Lawsuit in Florida. Eau Claire, WI: National Business Institute. OCLC 55693465.
  24. ^ Smiljanich, Terry (Fall 2013). "TBS in transition". Tampa Bay Skeptics Report. Vol. 26, no. 2. Tampa Bay Skeptics. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  25. ^ Thompson, Verne, ed. (2013). "Tampa Bay Skeptics (TBS)". Encyclopedia of Associations: Regional, State and Local Organizations (25th ed.). Detroit: Gale.
  26. ^ "Terry Smiljanich". tampabayskeptics.org. Tampa Bay Skeptics. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  27. ^ a b Gershman, Rick (October 13, 2006). "Nothing to fear? Yes, it's that day, but go on, break a mirror, step on a crack, hug a masked man. You'll likely be just fine, the Tampa Bay Skeptics say". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  28. ^ Lewis, Rochelle D. (May 14, 1989). "Psychics, skeptics strive for harmony". St. Petersburg Times. p. 8.
  29. ^ Smiljanich, Terry (March 9, 1990). "Your Feb. 25 book review ...". St. Pertersburg Times. p. 17A.
  30. ^ Smiljanich, Terry (May 7, 1993). "The April 10 column by Bryan Appleyard...". St. Petersburg Times (letter to the editor). p. 15A.
  31. ^ Albucher, Matt (October 29, 2008). "Belief in guardian angels behind group's seminar". St. Petersburg Times. p. 7.
  32. ^ a b "$$$ Challenges". Tampa Bay Skeptics. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  33. ^ "Score is Skeptics 2, Psychics 0". The Tampa Tribune. September 20, 1998. p. 1.
  34. ^ "TBS $1,000 Challenge". Tampa Bay Skeptics.
  35. ^ Nipps, Emily (August 8, 2008). "Tampa Bay Skeptics: True believers in truth". St. Petersburg Times. p. 1. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014.
  36. ^ "Tampa Bay Skeptics Report Online". Tampa Bay Skeptics. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  37. ^ Smijanich, Terry (September–October 2008). "From weeping icons to crop circles: Investigating with gusto". Skeptical Inquirer. Vol. 32, no. 5. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  38. ^ Smiljanich, Terry (January 26, 1997). "Following the trail of evolution". The Tampa Tribune. p. 4.
  39. ^ "Our program for April 3rd... Skepticism" (PDF). The Humanist Society of the Suncoast Newsletter. Vol. 19, no. 4. April 2010. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 22, 2014.
  40. ^ Minai, Leanora (September 17, 1995). "Spring Lake tower talks reach for consensus". St. Petersburg Times. p. 3.

External links[edit]