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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Money for little-known Ponder house is a budget mystery

The Fannye Ponder Council House.

Susan Taylor Martin | Times

The Fannye Ponder Council House.

Even in St. Petersburg, few people have heard of the Fannye Ponder Council House. So it was a surprise when a $78,500 earmark for the home of the late community leader appeared in this year’s state budget.

The house on 9th Avenue S is owned by the Metropolitan Council of Negro Women. Board member Signora Farris told the Times that the 1,500-square-foot house needs roofing and electrical work but she did not know where the $78,500 figure came from.

Nor did the Florida Department of State, which normally vets historical preservation projects but was clueless about the Ponder item. A spokesman said he assumed state Rep. Darryl Rouson, a St. Petersburg Democrat, had put in the budget.

Rouson would neither confirm nor deny that when a reporter called him this week about another matter. But it turns out that the new president of the Metropolitan Council of Negro women is none other than Rouson’s wife, Angela.

Whatever work the Ponder house needs will have to wait. Gov. Rick Scott vetoed the item though he did throw Angela Rouson a small bone this week -- he reappointed her to the  board of the Pinellas Housing Authority.

[Last modified: Thursday, June 6, 2013 2:42pm]

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