tv 60 Minutes CBS December 4, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm PST
captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> he answers his cell phone. i sh-- probably shouldn't say that on tv. ( laughs ) >> don't give me the number, but... >> he just-- he just answers the phone. >> you call donald trump on his cell phone? >> all the time. >> the speaker of the house talks about his plans for getting things done on capitol hill with president-elect trump from repealing obamacare to retreating from a promise of mass deportations. tonight paul ryan makes news on the priorities of the new republican-led government. >> donald trump was a very unconventional candidate. he's going to be an unconventional president. >> after all the talk during the election, you might be surprised to hear that manufacturing jobs are coming back to america. and a good place to see that
happening is the home of the of the bulldog. a place call the golden triangle, led by the toughest bulldog of all. >> the only way we win any deal is to tear off everybody else's face. we got to kill everybody to win the deal. $170, turned into $1.75 billion. do the friggin' math. >> ever heard of a google lawsuit or how about a drive by lawsuit. we found thousands of these suits being filed around the country for violations of the americans with disabilities act. many business owners think they're nothing more than a shakedown. >> businesses here hate you. >> well, i would say that. >> how many lawsuits have you filed? >> 2,000, 2,500. i mean, i don't really keep track. >> do you know how much you've made in the 2,000 cases you've filed? >> oh, i wouldn't dare to say. >> millions? >> yeah, i would say that. >> i'm steve kroft.
>> i'm leslie stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories, tonight on "60 minutes." preponderance cbs money watch sponsored by american express open, proud supporter of growing business tsz. >> good evening. president-elect trump is threatening 35% on products fur jobs moved out of the country. and the keys to thomas edison's lab, lightbulbs an err items sold for $65,000. i'm elaine quijano, cbs news.
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>> pelley: for donald trump's agenda to become reality, it must pass through the office of the speaker of the house, paul ryan. ryan didn't want trump to be president. the men threw ugly names at one another, and ryan refused to campaign for trump. but elections have a way of proving that old adage, that politics makes strange bedfellows.
we spoke with ryan on thursday in his capitol office about a partnership that may become the most scrutinized in washington. how often are you speaking to the president-elect? >> paul ryan: about every day. >> pelley: do you call him, or does he call you? >> ryan: both. >> pelley: when you call over to the-- >> ryan: he answers his cell phone. i sh-- probably shouldn't say that on tv. ( laughs ) he just-- he just answers the phone. >> pelley: you call donald trump on his cell phone? >> ryan: all the time. >> pelley: and how does he answer? what does he say? >> ryan: he says, "hi, hello." >> pelley: he doesn't say, "this is the president-elect?" >> ryan: no. he's a pretty casual guy. he calls me paul. i call him mr. president-elect, because i just-- i have a reverence for the office. but-- yeah, he's very casual about it. >> pelley: "hey, this is paul. and here's-- here's something i'm thinking about." >> ryan: yeah, yeah. all the time. >> pelley: how long do those conversations go on? >> ryan: 20 to 45 minutes. >> pelley: have you told him being president is not being c.e.o. of the united states, that the congress is going to have a say? >> ryan: oh, we've talked about that extensively. we've talked about-- the constitution, article one on the constitution, the separation of powers. he feels very strongly, actually, that-- that, under president obama's watch, he
stripped a lot of power away from the constitution, away from the legislative branch of government. and we want to reset the balance of power, so that people and the constitution are rightfully restored. >> pelley: and that's what donald trump believes? he believes in the separation of power? you don't think he thinks he's going to run this country the way he wants to? >> ryan: no, i think he understands there's a constitution, and that those separate but equal branches of government give us a limited government. and he believes that. >> pelley: you called donald trump a racist. >> ryan: no, i didn't. i said his comment was. >> pelley: uh-huh. well-- i'm not sure there's a great deal of daylight between those two definitions. but he definitely called you ineffective and disloyal. have you patched it up? >> ryan: yeah, we have. we're fine. we're not looking back. that's behind us. we're way beyond that. now we're talking about, how do we fix this country's problems. >> pelley: you know, i'm curious, though. how did you patch it up? who apologized to whom? ( laughs ) how did that conversation go? >> ryan: we went fine. it was-- pretty much the day after the election, or maybe two days after the election, and we
basically decided to let bygones be g-- bygones, and let's move forward and fix this country's problems. and it was over and done with. and ever since then, we've had nothing but extremely productive conversations. >> pelley: paul ryan has led the majority in the house just over a year. he took the job, reluctantly, when his predecessor gave up on trying to pull the fractured party together. ryan is 46, from wisconsin and an expert on the budget. what is the first bill you intend to pass? >> ryan: well, the first bill we're going to be working on is our obamacare legislation. >> pelley: you're going to repeal it first? >> ryan: yes. >> pelley: you're not pulling the rug out from under the 20 million people who already have- - >> ryan: no, no. we-- >> pelley: --obamacare. >> ryan: we want to make sure that we have a good transition period, so that people can get better coverage at a better price. >> pelley: so what are we talking about? months? years? >> ryan: i can't give you an answer to that. we're still working on that. >> pelley: but people talked about three years, in terms of a transition. >> ryan: yeah, i don't know the answer to that right now. what we know is we have to make good on this promise. we have to bring relief as fast as possible to people who are struggling under obamacare. >> pelley: what do republicans intend to put in its place?
>> ryan: patient-centered healthcare that gets everybody access to affordable healthcare coverage. so they can buy what they what they want to buy. >> pelley: so people will still get coverage, regardless of their pre-existing condition. >> ryan: yeah. we think pre-existing conditions is a very important feature of any healthcare system. >> pelley: children will stay on their parents' plans until the age of 26? >> ryan: yeah, that's something that we actually have always had in our plan, as well. >> pelley: and women will pay the same as men? that didn't used to be the case. >> ryan: it depends on the age of a person. so-- w-- we believe that we should-- have support based on age. the sicker and the older you get, the more support you ought to get. if you're a person that has-- low income, you probably should have more assistance than a person with high income, for example. >> pelley: is your plan going to cover everyone in america? >> ryan: we will give everyone access to affordable healthcare coverage. >> pelley: in the first year, what else do you expect to get through the congress? >> ryan: we really want to focus on economic growth and growing the economy. there are a lot of regulations that are really just crushing jobs. look at the coal miners in the rust belt that are getting out of work. look at the-- look at the loggers and the timber workers
and-- and the paper mills in-- in the west coast. look at the ranchers or-- or farmers in the midwest with-- with regulations. >> pelley: are you talking about rolling back environmental regulations, safety regulations? >> ryan: we're talking about smarter regulations that actually help us grow jobs in this country. we want to have good stewardship and conversation of the environment and economic growth. we have a real economic growth problem in america. we are limping along. wages are flat, and jobs aren't being created near to the extent that they could and should be. so we think regulatory relief is very, very important, and that's something we're going to work on day one. >> pelley: ryan told us that he can now support trump's changed positions on immigration-- from deporting all 11 million illegal immigrants, to focusing on only those who've committed crimes-- and from building a 2,000 mile wall to something less. >> ryan: no, we're not working on a d-- deportation force. here's what we're working on with respect to immigration, securing our border, enforcing our current laws. he talked about-- criminal aliens. that's just enforcing laws for people who came here illegally,
who came and committed violent crimes. we should enforce those laws. but really, what we're focused on is securing our border. >> pelley: well, trump said he was going to build a wall. >> ryan: yeah, i think conditions on the ground determine what you need in a particular area. some areas, you might need a wall. some area, you might need double fencing. i-- my own view on this is, whatever kind of-- device or barrier or policy to secure the boarder, that's necessary to secure the border, then do it. >> pelley: how big will the tax cut be for the middle class? >> ryan: well, again, we haven't written this bill. but if you want to get a sense of what we're looking at, it's virtually identical with the one that donald trump rolled out in the campaign. it means everyone gets lower tax rates, but we plug loopholes to pay for it. >> pelley: but give me a number. what is the tax cut for the average middle-class family? >> ryan: when i have a bill, i'll tell you the number. let's do this again-- >> pelley: you've thought this through. you've been thinking it through for years. what would you like to see? >> ryan: yeah, so the tax rates that we talked about, for-- individuals, we would have a 15% bracket, i think a 25% bracket, and a 33% bracket.
we have seven brackets. we consolidate down to three. the other thing that's really important in tax reform is making sure that we don't tax american businesses at much higher tax rates than our foreign competitors tax theirs. it is costing us jobs. it's one of the reasons all these american companies are moving overseas. >> pelley: what should the corporate tax rate be? >> ryan: well, our plan says 20%, and donald trump's plan says 15%. it's now 35%. >> pelley: do you think the rich will benefit the most from your tax reform plan? >> ryan: here's the point of our tax plan: grow jobs. get this economy growing. raise wages. simplify the tax system, so it's easy to comply with. >> pelley: you-- you're a little shy, when i ask you about the rich receiving the greatest part of the-- >> ryan: well, here's the problem when you-- >> pelley: --of the tax cuts. >> ryan: --when you ask these things. most of that income is small- business income. you have to remember, eight out of ten businesses in america, they file their business as individuals, as people, and so we think of that as the rich.
but it's that business in the-- in the business park out of jamesville, wisconsin, that has 50 employees. and do i want to lower their tax rates? you bet i do. >> pelley: mr. trump promised a $1 trillion infrastructure program. what are you going to build, and how are you going to pay for it? >> ryan: well i think, that should be decided by the marketplace. that should be decided by the needs in the particular states and communities as to what is built or rebuilt. and it's going to be one of our high priorities that we are going to be addressing this year. >> pelley: one of your high priorities that we heard almost nothing about during the campaign is poverty. >> ryan: actually, i've talked to him a lot about that. we feel very strongly about making work pay, about getting people transitioned from welfare to work. get people skills they need, help they need, so they can get on the ladder of life. >> pelley: ryan told us he has no plans to change social security, but government health insurance, including medicare, is a fire, he says, burning in the budget. >> ryan: if you want to think of the-- the fire that's burning--
it is the fact that-- the baby boom generation, no offense, and there's a lot of you. >> pelley: i-- i qualify. >> ryan: yeah, you qualify. and-- and we're just not ready for the retirement of the baby boomers, and we'd better prepare for that. >> pelley: what changes do you plan for medicare? >> ryan: here's the problem. medicare goes bankrupt in about ten years. the trust fund runs out of money. so we have to make sure that we shore this program up, and the reforms that we've been talking about don't change the benefit for anybody who is in or near retirement. my mom's now enjoying medicare. she's already retired. she earned it. but for those of us, you know, the x-gen-- generation on down, it won't be there for us-- on its current path. so we have to bring reform to this program for the younger generation, so that it's there for us when we retire, and so that we can keep cash flowing to current generations' commitments, and the more we kick the can down the road, the more we delay, the worse it gets. >> pelley: but you are going to kick the can down the road for the next year or two. this is not your top priority. >> ryan: it's not our t-- i haven't even discussed this with-- with donald trump yet.
but it is a-- it is an issue that we have to tackle. >> pelley: from his balcony, the speaker is watching the rise of donald trump's inauguration platform. but, for ryan, the best view in washington isn't a pretty sight. you know, one thing i noticed during our interview inside was that every time you talked about the evils of washington, you glanced out the window. >> ryan: i do, because that's where all the bureaucracy's are. yeah. yeah, yeah. that's right. >> pelley: you think of this town as part of the problem, not part of the solution. >> ryan: absolutely i do. if you look down, i can see h.h.s., education, e.p.a. >> pelley: the two most prominent things on the skyline from this vantage point are the washington monument and the new trump hotel. >> ryan: that's right. that's what i knew you were going to say. >> pelley: the new trump hotel. >> ryan: that's the new trump hotel. yeah he notic-- he actually noted that, when i took him up here. >> pelley: i bet he did. he probably told you what a great place it was. >> ryan: he said something like that. >> pelley: is that a reminder of who's boss? >> ryan: the washington monument's the tallest one. and by the way, the dome, it's a little higher.
>> pelley: beneath the dome, ryan will have a front row seat to trump's swearing in. did you believe he could be nominated? really? >> ryan: yeah, no, i-- i didn't see this one comin'. he knows that. i don't think most people in the country saw. if you would've put last year into a movie script and taken it to hollywood two years ago, they would've laughed you out of the room, because it wouldn't have been believable. >> pelley: did you see election night coming? >> ryan: no, not really. i think-- >> pelley: you expected hillary clinton to win. >> ryan: i thought the odds were clearly in her favor. so i was a little surprised, pleasantly so. >> pelley: do you trust him? >> ryan: yeah. >> pelley: here's something many people wonder. does he say the same bizarre things to you in private that he says in public? and it's an important distinction-- >> ryan: you know, i think there is a bit of a difference between the private person and the public person. in the private person, there's a conversation like this, and it's all about how to get things done.
so every conversation i have almost always revolves around, you know, personnel and policy focused on producing results. >> pelley: trump tweeted, in the last week or so, that he had actually won the popular vote, if you deduct the millions who voted illegally. do you believe that? >> ryan: i don't know. i-- i'm not really focused on these things. >> pelley: wait a minute. wait a minute. you-- you have an opinion on whether millions of americans voted illegally? >> ryan: i-- i have no way of backing that up. i have no knowledge of such things. >> pelley: you don't believe that-- >> ryan: but i don't-- it doesn't matter to me. he won the election. >> pelley: but how, we asked, does he negotiate with a man whose word, or tweets, cannot always be believed? >> ryan: look, ( sighs ), like i said, he's going to-- the way i see-- the-- the-- the tweets you're talking about, he's basically giving voice to a lot of people who have felt that they were voiceless. he's s-- communicating with people in this country who've felt like they have not been listened to.
he's going to be an unconventional president. i really think we have a great opportunity in front of us to fix problems, produce results, and improve people's lives. that's why we're here in the first place, and so that's what's going to matter at the end of the day. did we improve people's lives? did we solve the problems that the american people need solved? are we addressing the concerns of people who are tired of being tired? and who cares what he tweeted, you know, on some thursday night, if we fix this country's big problems? that's just the way i look at this. >> speaker ryan shared more details with scott pelley about his agenda for the trump administration's first days. go to 60minutesovertime.com sponsored by lyrica. before i had the shooting, burning, pins-and-needles of diabetic nerve pain, these feet... ... kicked off a lot of high school games... ... built a life for my family... ... and liked to help others in need. but i couldn't bear my diabetic nerve pain any longer.
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nearly a million manufacturing jobs have been created since the great recession. about 350,000 are unfilled, because factories can't find properly-trained american workers. the new plants demand more brainpower than brawn. it's called advanced manufacturing, and if you want to see what it looks like, you need to go a place off the beaten track: the golden triangle. that's a bit of a misnomer, because it's one of the poorest regions in the poorest state: mississippi. ( cheering ) if you have heard of the golden triangle, it might be because of this: mississippi state football. around here, everybody loves the bulldogs, and bulldog is an apt description of the man who runs economic development for the area: joe max higgins. he considers job creation a full-contact sport.
>> joe max higgins: the only way we win any deal is to tear off everybody else's face. we c-- got to kill everybody to win the deal. >> whitaker: ferocity is a job requirement. during the recession, unemployment in some parts of the triangle got as high as 20%. >> higgins: we're going to come up with a program. >> whitaker: at 6.0%, unemployment is now just above the national average, and a lot of people here credit joe max higgins. he has attracted $6 billion of advanced industry, including this mill run by steel dynamics. it's one of the most hi-tech steel mills in the country. he got this helicopter factory up and running. truck maker paccar used to build engines only in europe-- it opened its first u.s. plant in the triangle. companies were moving around, this off-shoring. they were going to countries where everything's cheaper? >> higgins: for some companies, offshore wasn't as great as they
thought it was or as it was portrayed to be. many of the companies said "hey, if it's going to be consumed in the u.s., we can produce it in the u.s. cheaper and more efficiently than we can elsewhere and bring it in." >> whitaker: they save money by being here in mississippi? >> higgins: uh-huh. >> whitaker: higgins has brought in 6,000 jobs to the tri-county area since 2003. that might not sound like a lot to people in big cities, but to the people here in the small towns of the golden triangle, it amounts to about half the manufacturing jobs lost during the last 25 years. through the 1990s, factories here produced textiles, toys, and tubing. one by one, they shut down, and thousands of low-skilled jobs vanished. so where did all those jobs go? >> higgins: well, a lot of those people just left. they were so devastated by artech's closing, flexible flyer's closing, blazon tube closing, how about that? i mean, just bam, bam, bam, the hits just keep on coming.
>> ward: joe max higgins was hired away from his economic development job in arkansas to stop the hemorrhaging here in the triangle. he makes $250,000 a year, paid by a partnership of the three counties and local businesses. people here will tell you he earns every penny. he's like a very demanding head coach. >> higgins: there's no taking plays off, never, okay? i tell our staff, "if you leave our office and-- and you didn't do something to make our place a better place today, then you need to find another job." >> whitaker: you sound like a coach. >> higgins: well, it's probably what i should be. >> whitaker: right away, he coached his small staff to the triangle's biggest win in fifty years. they beat out louisiana, missouri and arkansas, convincing the steel mill that building here was its smartest and cheapest option. since 2007, 24 hours a day, scrap metal is dumped into giant buckets, lifted into an electric furnace and melted down in a
fiery display. in the old days, a mill like this would have needed 4,000 workers; here, it takes only 650 to churn out more than 3 million tons of steel a year. electrician jared glover took us as close to the blazing furnace as you can get. this is all automated? >> jared glover: all the workers, we're just a small force. >> whitaker: this is what advanced manufacturing looks like: a small, highly-trained workforce keeps the automation humming. jared glover used to work at a lumber mill, living paycheck to paycheck. now he earns more than $100,000 a year, about three times his old salary. what has that meant to you and your family? >> glover: had two kids coming here, and now i got four, and we got a bigger house. got a little more land. you know, we're-- they got a good school they go to, and everybody's happy. >> higgins: how ya doin'?
>> whitaker: joe max higgins is the very definition of downhome. but don't be fooled. it's a good bet he's got more hard-edge business savvy then many harvard m.b.a.'s. >> higgins: $170, turned into $1.75 billion. do the friggin' math. >> whitaker: he outwits the competition with a bag full of tricks. he can twist your arm or kill you with kindness. he can wear you down. he lobbies relentlessly, and so far has rounded up a half billion dollars in generous tax breaks and cash incentives from state and local politicians. >> higgins: here, there's $4 million in here. let me tell you how this is structured. >> whitaker: joe max higgins has vision, and we don't mean 20/20. he can see what others don't. he took us up to show us. joe, when i look out here i see beautiful green agricultural land. what do you see? >> higgins: well, when i-- i-- when i look at the land, i see it as product for us to develop. >> whitaker: he bet the farm that in this state with weak labor unions, he could attract
industry like a magnet if he turned that land down there into massive industrial ready sites. if you build it, they will come? >> higgins: yeah. we're installing the water. we're installing the sewer. we're installing the roads, and we're getting everything ready so when that company comes to locate, they're eliminating all risk. i mean, that lot's there ready to stick a shovel in and build. >> whitaker: higgins had to convince county supervisors to spend almost $12 million on that first site, where steel dynamics now sits. he has since built up three other so-called megasites, and envisions more. it wasn't an easy sell at first. he told us people in the golden triangle were paralyzed by the decline and poverty. he saw an area rich in assets: an airport, railroads, waterways that ran north to the great lakes and south to the gulf coast, and a quality engineering program at mississippi state. >> higgins: i said, "these guys should be winning," you know? "it's-- something's not right."
>> whitaker: they didn't see those advantages? >> higgins: correct. they didn't realize that they were big and strong and fast. nobody had ever told them they were big and strong and fast. they just thought they were, you know, slow and stupid, i guess. >> allegra brigham: he would say, "you just have a losing attitude. you expect to be a loser. you don't expect to be a winner." >> whitaker: allegra brigham, the former c.e.o. of the local power company, and john davis, a bank executive, served on the search committee that recruited higgins. they thought his brash style would shake up the status quo. before joe came in, what would have been considered a success? >> john davis: the mayor at that time said, "if you will just get us a new movie theater, we'll consider your job a success." a movie theater, which was hardly any jobs, and they're all-- they're all high- schoolers. >> whitaker: so when did he start to turn things around? >> brigham: immediately. >> whitaker: he pressed the county to fork over $400,000 for water and sewer to get the
helicopter plant off the ground. today, 200 workers hand-craft about 50 helicopters a year, mostly for the army and law enforcement. the average pay on the factory floor: $50,000 a year, plus full benefits. they made the helicopter we flew in. what sort of impact did that have on the community? >> higgins: i think the helicopter plant kind of transformed this region, and here's why: it was literally making something that flew. that was the project that gave us some reason to believe. "we can do this." >> whitaker: just when it seemed things were taking off, the triangle was blindsided. its biggest industrial employer, sara lee's century-old pork processing plant, shut down. it once employed 2,500 people. this is the factory today. single mother nina head worked on the slaughter floor for 14 years, until the day it closed.
she had six young children at home. >> nina head: that was the heartbeat of the golden triangle. >> whitaker: the heartbeat? >> head: yeah. >> whitaker: and when those jobs went away? >> head: you had a lot of unemployment. you had a lot of uncertainty. >> whitaker: it was joe max higgins' biggest challenge. he became obsessed with winning the next deal. he found out paccar was considering building its engine plant in jonesboro, arkansas near where he grew up. he got on his motorcycle and rode home to scope it out. when he got back, he convinced county supervisors to build this substation to undercut arkansas with cheaper power. he won the deal. today, it's a $500 million facility filled with robots and about 500 humans. when paccar began hiring, 3,000 people applied for the first 50 jobs. is the work force here prepared
for these new jobs coming in? >> higgins: nobody in the golden triangle made engines. nobody made any of this stuff. so what you're really looking for is, do our citizens have the acumen for work? do they have the work ethic? are they skilled enough to be trained to do jobs? and the answer is yes, yes, and yes. >> whitaker: joe max higgins enlisted the community college to provide customized training for paccar, so when the plant was ready, the workforce was ready. nina head now works there doing quality control. she makes $10,000 a year more than on the kill floor at sara lee. when you first got here, did you have the skills required for this job? >> head: i've never worked with robots, so i had to be trained to do that, but i had the skills because i went to school to learn how to get the job. >> whitaker: the school now gears its training for each manufacturer coming in. higgins told us it's the
critical part of his business plan. the promise of a trained workforce caught the eye of his biggest catch yet: yokohama tire. the japanese company plans to employ 2,000 workers not far from the old sara lee plant. it considered every county in the continental u.s., so higgins pulled out all the stops. he tracked the tail number of the private plane shuttling yokohama executives from site to site to find out who his competitors were. when the executives came to the triangle, higgins had researched their shoe sizes and had galoshes ready for them to tour the muddy site. this is not just about making executives feel comfortable? >> higgins: no. >> whitaker: this is hard-nosed financial negotiation? >> higgins: yeah. financial negotiations. i call it, "watching game film," you know? if we were a football coach, we're watching game film, "what's the competition doing? what do we need to do to be successful? what are their power rates? what are their-- what are their demands? can we meet this?
can we meet their time schedule? how do we do what we do?" >> whitaker: what joe max higgins has done is burnish the golden triangle. local tax revenue is going up. this construction site is an expansion of the steel mill. people now expect the coach to win. higgins has his eye on ten more advanced industry projects and 4,000 more jobs. so the people who say that the glory days of american manufacturing are over, you say? >> higgins: i think that's, i think that's not right. these plants, they pay well. most of the working conditions are very good, and those are the jobs that are in demand. if we can create those types of industries, those types of jobs, i think the sky's still the limit for the united states. >> whitaker: sky's the limit? >> higgins: i think it can be, yes.
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>> cooper: the americans with disabilities act has helped improve the lives of tens of millions of people. it's lessened discrimination against them and made everyday life more accessible. because of the law, every business that serves the public, all seven million of them in america, has to make sure disabled customers have equal access, and if businesses don't comply, they can be sued without warning. you might think you have to be a customer of a business to file a lawsuit against it, but in some states you don't. you can simply drive by a store or restaurant, and if you see a sign in the wrong spot, or a ramp that's off by a few inches, you can sue. they are called drive-by lawsuits, and some lawyers are filing hundreds of them, against businesses that often have no idea they have done anything wrong. at first glance, this convenience store in fort lauderdale, florida, may appear
to be in compliance with the americans with disabilities act. there is a parking space for the disabled, and an access ramp to the store. but the americans with disabilities act has thousands of very technical regulations, and this store is in violation. >> nolan klein: what we see here are really sort of the typical red flags that attract lawsuits. >> cooper: so, i mean, there's a parking space here. >> klein: there is a space. it's not the right dimensions. it needs to be a van space. that means this has to be eight feet, this has to be five feet. >> cooper: attorney nolan klein says that disabled parking sign is also in the wrong spot, and it doesn't say the words "van accessible." that access ramp isn't right either. what's wrong with it? >> klein: under the law, this is not an access ramp, so this has to be on an accessible route, which is sort of the area that they tried to create there, but this is supposed to be five feet long. >> cooper: mike zayed, who has owned the store for 18 years, says no disabled customer had ever complained about the ramp, the sign, or the parking space,
but that didn't stop him from having to hire attorney nolan klein when he got sued. the person who sued you, you don't believe they were actually a customer in the store? >> mike zayed: no, no. >> cooper: you think they just drove by or stopped outside? >> zayed: that's what i believe. the lawyer, he was just driving around. >> cooper: that's why it's called a "drive-by lawsuit:" when a lawyer or a disabled person notices violations outside a business and files suit. mike zayed doesn't think the person who sued him was a real customer, because the man claimed he encountered barriers inside the store that didn't exist. >> zayed: to me, i feel it's not fair, because to me, i feel like that's stealing. we work hard for our money and these people just driving around in their car, here you go, this violation here, and there. >> cooper: do you know other storeowners who have been sued? >> zayed: i have two guys i know in broward, they get sued twice. >> cooper: same lawyer? >> zayed: same lawyer, same guy. >> cooper: if you think drive-by lawsuits-- hatched from the comfort of a car-- are a novel way to enforce a law, there's another kind of lawsuit that requires less work: lawyers call them "google lawsuits."
what's a google lawsuit? >> klein: a google lawsuit is where the suspicion, at least, is that the property was spotted on google, google earth, google maps, whatever the case may be, and you could see certain things from google. you could see if there's a pool lift or not. >> cooper: a pool lift is a seat that can help disabled people get in and out of the water. since 2012, all hotels and motels in america are required to be accessible to the disabled, which, in most cases, means having a lift permanently attached to the side of their pool. this is what a pool lift looks like from google earth. in the comfort of your own home, with a few clicks of a mouse, you can see if a pool near you has one; and if they don't appear to have a pool lift, like many of these hotel pools we looked up, you can file a lawsuit, just like that. perry pustam runs the adobe hacienda motel in hollywood, florida. he has a pool lift now, but says he didn't know he was required to install one until he got sued
in what he suspects was a google lawsuit. did a disabled person actually come here-- >> perry pustam: no. >> cooper: --and want to use the pool? >> pustam: at no point in time we ever had a customer on the property that requested it or that was even in a room that requested it. >> cooper: it turns out the same man who sued him, sued dozens of other motel owners as well, all for pool lift violations. >> pustam: it was about 60- something lawsuits in 50- something days. >> cooper: 60 lawsuits in 50 days? >> pustam: 60-plus, yes, in less than 57 days. >> cooper: all from the same attorney? >> pustam: same attorney, using the same client. >> cooper: at last count, that attorney has sued nearly 600 businesses in just the last two years, many for not having pool lifts. perry pustam ended up paying $3,000 to buy a lift, that so far, no one has ever used. he also spent thousands of dollars in attorneys fees. he told us he believes these lawsuits are sometimes simply a money-making venture for lawyers, because under federal law, business owners have to pay both sets of attorney's fees, and if you don't settle, it can end up costing you hundreds of
thousands of dollars in court. >> pustam: it's a game for these attorneys. basically, that's what it is. >> cooper: every private business in america that's open to the public, millions of shops, restaurants, movie theatres, grocery stores, laundromats, nail salons, and more, have to be compliant with the americans with disabilities act. but business owners we spoke to say it's almost impossible to be totally compliant with the law, because the requirements are very specific-- and there are thousands of them. you can find them in this 275- page manual that details everything from the exact height of a mirror in a bathroom, to the maximum thickness of carpeting, to the angle at which water can come out of a drinking fountain. every doorway, every door handle, every surface you walk on, every light switch, outlet, counter-- you name it-- are all covered by the americans with disabilities act, which was first passed in 1990. in theory, businesses only need to comply if it's readily
achievable to do so, but in reality, if you're not meeting every single requirement, you can be sued without warning. essentially, you're saying that after 25 years, there really is no excuse for any business not to be compliant? >> john wodatch: well, people who say that they need a grace period. i would say 25 years is a grace period enough. >> cooper: john wodatch is the retired chief of the department of justice's disability rights section, and was part of the team that wrote the americans with disabilities act. is the law, as it's written, too specific, that a mirror has to be 40 inches off the ground as opposed to 39 or 41? >> wodatch: my first answer is no, it's not. i think the specificity is needed, because i think inches matter. if you have a lip on a curb ramp, a wheelchair user is likely to tumble into the street and injure him or herself. >> cooper: wodatch points out, the number of disability access lawsuits is small, compared to the tens of millions of americans who have some form of disability.
are some people taking advantage of the law? >> wodatch: i think some people are. there are some people who are engaging in what i think people have called shakedowns or frivolous lawsuits, where they are not really looking at significant change for people with disabilities, they're looking to use the law to make some money. >> cooper: when the americans with disabilities act was being written, the department of justice was concerned about people taking advantage of this part of the law. they intentionally did not include monetary damages for plaintiffs in federal lawsuits. the problem is, now many states do provide for damages, and john wodatch says, that has led to abuse, most notably in california, where, with limited exceptions, business owners have to pay not only lawyers fees and remodeling costs, but also a minimum of $4,000 in damages each time a disabled customer visits a business with a violation. that can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases.
attorney tom frankovich is one of the top filers of disability access lawsuits in california. businesses here hate you. >> tom frankovich: well, i would say that. >> cooper: how many lawsuits have you filed? >> frankovich: 2,000, 2,500. i mean, i don't really keep track. >> cooper: do you know how much you've made in the 2,000 cases you've filed? >> frankovich: oh, i wouldn't dare to say. >> cooper: millions? >> frankovich: yeah, i would say that. >> cooper: couple million? >> frankovich: could be. >> cooper: is it fair to say you're scaring people to comply with the law? >> frankovich: i hope. >> cooper: you hope? >> frankovich: i hope. >> cooper: so when people call you an extortionist, when people call you a shakedown artist, you say what? >> frankovich: i'm acting as a private attorney general, and i'm enforcing a law that precludes discrimination by you against people with disabilities. >> cooper: when you're filing hundreds of lawsuits for one client, is that fair?
>> frankovich: you know, it's more than fair, anderson. because what people don't realize is that i represent activists. what you find is that it takes courage to be an activist. >> cooper: but not everyone is an activist. some attorneys are being accused of recruiting disabled clients to file these lawsuits. daniel delgado owns a medical equipment repair shop in madeira, california. he is in a wheelchair due to childhood polio and has a learning disability. he didn't know much about the americans with disabilities act until, he says, he was approached by attorneys randy and tanya moore. what did they say to you? >> daniel delgado: they goes, how would you like to make $100,000, $200,000 a year? and he goes, all you got to do is a.d.a. i said, what the heck is a.d.a.? >> cooper: he says he was told he would make $1,000 per lawsuit, and would help improve access for the disabled. they were saying to you, not only were you going to make this
money, but it was actually going to improve life for disabled people? >> delgado: exactly. >> cooper: and that's important to you? >> delgado: that was more important to me than anything. >> cooper: daniel delgado told us randy and tanya moore sent him to businesses he would not have otherwise visited, with instructions to buy something and get a receipt. he signed off as a plaintiff on dozens of cases, and says he was asked to recruit some of his disabled friends-- including john morales-- to file lawsuits as well. what kind of businesses did you visit, john? >> john morales: a variety. i went to grocery stores, i went to restaurants, i went to a couple of-- just different stores. and she would tell me to look for if there's accessible seating, if there's a table for the handicapped, or if there's a restroom that you can go into. she told me what to look for, so i started doing that. >> cooper: john morales says the law firm assured them businesses would get a warning before being sued. is that what happened?
>> morales: never happened, as far as i know. >> cooper: do you think that's fair? >> morales: no, i don't. >> cooper: why? >> morales: and i wasn't happy with it. why don't i think it's fair? i just don't think it's fair. i think that the business owner should have the opportunity to fix that. you know, everybody should have a second chance, you know. >> cooper: both men say they were paid, but nothing close to what they were entitled to under the law. the moores say that john morales and daniel delgado both signed fee agreements that gave them unlimited power of attorney to initiate lawsuits and negotiate settlements. delgado and morales say they only saw the last two pages of the contracts, and didn't know the details of the agreements they signed. when lawsuits were settled, did you know how much money the attorneys were making? >> morales: no, never did. >> cooper: we wanted to talk to randy and tanya moore, but they refused our request for an on- camera interview. they deny asking daniel delgado to recruit disabled clients, and say they never told him or john morales that businesses would get advance warning before being sued.
the moores have filed more than 1,000 lawsuits related to the americans with disabilities act and have earned, by our estimate, at least $3 million doing so. they are now being sued by daniel delgado and john morales for fraud. both men say, while the lawsuits did improve access for the disabled, they have also made some business owners wary of dealing with disabled customers. you think, john, this is having a negative effect? >> morales: yes. >> cooper: on businesses' perception of disabled people? >> both: yes. >> morales: and so, instead of us doing a good thing, i felt like because of the advantage they took on us, coming against all these businesses, we did more harm than good. >> cooper: in places like california and florida, there is little doubt that disability lawsuits have led to improved access. most states and the district of columbia currently award cash damages for plaintiffs who file such lawsuits, and with so many businesses around the country
still not in compliance, it may not be long before you start hearing about these kind of lawsuits in a town or city near you. >> this cbs sports update is brought to you by ford division. i'm james brown with the nfl today. eric berry shines defensively in the chief's win. they stun buffalo. detroit picked off drew brees three times to win their fourth straight. the packers make it two behind aaron rodgers. the patriots' tom brady gets win 201 most, all-time bay quarterback. and dallas clinches a playoff berth. for more sports news and scores go, to cbssports.com. the most 5-star ratings... e brand wih the highest owner loyalty... and award-winning value from kelley blue book. giving drivers what matters most.
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>> pelley: now an update on a story we called "in god's name." in october, we interviewed a young somali-american who became an isis recruiter in minneapolis, sending young american muslims to syria. abdirizak warsame cooperated with prosecutors after his arrest, and as he awaited sentencing, he explained to us how he became radicalized. now, a federal court has sentenced warsame and eight other members of the conspiracy to terms ranging from "time served" to 35 years. judge michael davis told warsame "i'm not convinced you're still not a jihadist," as he gave him two-and-a-half years. i'm scott pelley. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes."
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bull: i'm dr. jason bull. i'm not a lawyer. i'm an expert in what's called trial science. i study a jury's behavioral patterns. i know what they're thinking before they do. everything my team learns gets plugged into a matrix, which allows us to assemble a mirror jury that is scary in its predictive efficiency. the verdict you get depends on me. and that's no bull. vitals are crashing. we're losing her. where's that o-neg?! another bag? pressure's not coming up. nurse: second bag coming up. femoral artery is lacerated. she's a hemophiliac. she'll bleed out before it gets here. doctor: plasma. factor viii and factor ix. it won't work. kyra's anti-bodies