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Karl Nurse and the South St. Petersburg CRA



St. Petersburg City Council member Karl Nurse worked hard to help create the newly-minted South St. Petersburg CRA.

But the council member who represents part of the CRA territory has his critics. One of them is the president of the local chapter of the NAACP, Maria Scruggs.

Scruggs, no fan of the CRA, questions why Nurse owns property within its boundaries. Wouldn't he stand to profit if the CRA works and property values rise?

"Of course it's a conflict of interest," Scruggs said. "But people are afraid to talk about this stuff.

The Tampa Bay Times looked into Nurse's real estate holdings in what was then a still-in-development CRA in 2014. Nurse said at the time that he had lost money on 10 properties and was doing it to help the community.

Since then, Nurse has taken more steps to distance himself from any appearance of a conflict of interest.

He formed a non-profit to handle the purchases of a recent home at 900 23rd Ave. S. He loaned the money for the non-profit at zero interest, he said. Any money made on a sale would go to the non-profit. He can write off a loss on his tax return, Nurse said.

Scruggs' comments didn't suprise Nurse.

"That's one of the reasons I set up the non-profit," he said.

Nurse still owns four properties listed in the Times 2014 story. He said he doesn't plan to get out of a side business that he says he feels obligated to pursue.

"To whom much is given...,:" said Nurse, who owns a successful printing company. "I don't want to go to Hell."

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 4:24pm]


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