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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Attorney's report bashes Gibbons, St. Pete housing authority



An attorney for the Pinellas County Housing Authority has ripped former mayoral candidate and authority board member Deveron Gibbons in a report on the canceled project to build a joint headquarters with the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The report criticized the city authority, too. 

Lawyer Justin Zinzow -- no friend of St. Pete housing boss Darrell Irions already -- recommends seeking seeking court and insurance claims against Irions, former law firm Squire, Sanders & Dempsey and investigating potential conflict of interest issues involving Gibbons regarding the transaction.

"Commissioner Gibbons continued voting, on behalf of both authorities, after he disclosed an admitted conflict and then initially abstained from one SPHA board vote, seems in violation of both the letter and spirit of Florida's ethics law," Zinzow writes in the report, which also acknowledges details of any conflict remain uncertain and undisclosed.

We're awaiting any response by the city authority.

UPDATE: "We have been provided this report on the day before Thanksgiving when it is impractical to expect us to have an opportunity to review it with our staff, our Chief Executive Officer, and our Board. SPHA will respond, as it sees fit, after we have had sufficient time to review the matter," SPHA said in an emailed response.

The county authority has taken early steps to seek a refund of more than $26,000 paid to the law firm, recently seeking thousands of public records in the latest chapter of the housing authorities' rocky separation.

The county housing authority will discuss its options in the report at its December meeting.

David DeCamp, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:19pm]


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