On May 28th, 2005, Jimmy Buffett lost his cellphone while at Brisa Atlantica, a Cuban restaurant in Delray Beach, Florida. The phone was found by busboy Jason Martin (pictured right) at the restaurant, who took it home and kept it for a week despite Buffett’s pleas for its return and offers of a $200 reward.
The Sony Ericsson phone contained high profile celebrities’ phone numbers, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, musicians George Strait, Alan Jackson, and Clint Black, and other famous figures like George Clooney, Al Gore, Bill Gates, and Harrison Ford.
During the week that Martin had Buffett’s phone, prank calls were allegedly made to Bill Clinton. Martin stated that his friend’s had called contacts in the phone late one night while over at his house. Secret Service visited Martin after the call(s) to Clinton were made and the phone was seized and returned to Buffett, though the sim card was missing.
The story made national headlines. Late-night comedy shows like Jay Leno made jokes about the fiasco, and syndicated radio host Jim Rome discussed it at length on his program.
The busboy, Jason Martin, was fired from the Brisa Atlantica over the incident.
Read The Smoking Gun’s report on the incident
“Jimmy Buffett Loses Cell Phone in Margaritaville”
June 8th, 2005
If Bill Clinton was the victim of a crank telephone call, don’t blame the Republicans – he can thank his fellow Democrat Jimmy Buffett.
It all started when a 22-year-old busboy at a Delray Beach, Fla., restaurant, Jason Martin, found the singer’s cell phone on May 29 after Buffett had left.
Martin and his friends “were scrolling down the list on Jimmy’s phone, going ‘Wow!’” Martin told Palm Beach Post “Page Two” columnist Jose Lambiet.
The big names on Buffett’s phone included Clinton, Al Gore and Jimmy Carter, country stars Clint Black, George Strait and Alan Jackson, actors George Clooney, Michael Douglas and Harrison Ford, and Microsoft chief Bill Gates.
On May 30 a Buffett friend called the cell phone number and Martin answered.
“He said I was a thief and a liar,” Martin told Lambiet. “Then I called [Buffett's wife] Jane’s number and she was nasty to me. So I told them I wouldn’t give it back.”
Buffett called the restaurant’s owner, who fired Martin and notified police.
Martin soon received a visit from cops and a U.S. Secret Service agent because of Clinton’s and Carter’s numbers on the phone.
Martin surrendered the phone – but the memory card containing names, phone numbers and some addresses is missing.
Martin claims he didn’t call anyone on the list, but according to the police report, he said some of his friends might have crank-called Clinton.
Buffett confirmed to Lambiet that “whoever had the phone may have called a couple of my contacts.
“It’s a person’s worst nightmare.”