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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

New York Times dings Adam Putnam



With Adam Putnam kindling speculation that he could primary Gov. Rick Scott in 2014, it's worth noting the hit his office took from the New York Times last weekend. The Times exposed a seemingly sleezy Florida telemarketer accused of bilking consumers out of thousands of dollars with promises of debt consolidation assistance. It is run connected to Brenda and Tony Helfenstine of St. Cloud.

From the column:

...What about those government agencies? Well, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says it recently started an investigation of Your Financial Ladder that ended uneventfully after an inspector was dispatched to the contact address listed on the company’s Web site, 1760 Sundance Drive, in St. Cloud.

“The inspector noted that the address was a residence and that there was no evidence of a telemarketing operation at the time,” wrote Amanda Bevis, a spokeswoman for the department. “The investigation had reached a dead end.”

Actually, the investigation had reached the home of Brenda and Tony Helfenstine. Seriously, that address, according to easily accessible public records, is where the Helfenstines seem to live.

Deep breaths, people. Yes, it’s maddening that our consumer protection agencies are so easily foiled. Or unmotivated. Perhaps they need a nudge. So, dear readers, the Haggler cordially invites you to contact Adam Putnam, commissioner of Florida’s consumer services department, on Twitter at @adamputnam, and Pam Bondi, Florida’s attorney general, at @AGPamBondi. Tell them you care. And stay tuned.

[Last modified: Thursday, February 28, 2013 12:08pm]


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