Lisa Halili had to scream into the phone to get her old friend and longtime competitor in the Texas oyster industry, Mihael Ivic, to calm down enough so that she could understand what he was saying.
"The Nelsons are stealing the bay!" Ivic yelled. Lisa's stomach knotted and her hands grew slick with sweat as she handed the phone to her husband, Johnny Halili, to see if he could get Ivic to make sense. The story Ivic told seemed like some kind of sick joke. After everything they'd been through the past few years -- the hurricanes, the drought, the oil spill, an entire litany of disasters -- even Ben Nelson, known curmudgeon that he was, couldn't really do this.
But Nelson's son-in-law, Tracy Woody, confirmed it when Johnny Halili called him.More »