Make us your home page

Developers charged with conspiracy for work on Indian Shores, South Pasadena properties

At the height of the real estate boom, developer John Loder and his Sun Vista Development Group bought four large properties with plans to turn them into high-end condominiums.

Two of those projects — the Bay Pines Mobile Home Park in Seminole and Snell Isle Club Apartments in St. Petersburg — came to naught.

After Loder forced hundreds of mostly elderly residents of the mobile home park to sell and then razed the park, the project came to a standstill. The empty land is now for sale. And when Loder fell behind on mortgage payments for the Snell Isle property, the bank foreclosed and eventually sold it to another investor.

Now, Loder and three associates face federal charges of conspiracy, making false statements and violating an environmental protection law in connection with the disposal of asbestos while developing the other two properties, one in Indian Shores and the other in South Pasadena.

Accused of five counts of violating the Clean Air Act and one count of making false statements are Loder, 43, who has addresses in Redington Beach and St. Pete Beach, and Stephen J. Spencer, 48, of Clearwater. Sun Vista's Web site lists Loder and Spencer as managing partners.

Guy Gannaway, 53, of Safety Harbor is charged with eight counts of violating the Clean Air Act and one of making false statements. Keith McConnell, 54, of Largo, who is also known as "Animal," is charged with eight counts of violating the Clean Air Act and one of making false statements.

Gannaway owns Gannaway Builders, which worked for Sun Vista at the two sites. McConnell was a supervisor for Gannaway Builders.

All four are also charged with conspiracy and making false statements.

The maximum penalty for each count of the indictment includes five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The indictment charges that no asbestos survey was conducted for the Indian Shores property, once called the Indian Pass Apartments and now renamed the Barefoot Beach Resort. The indictment says at least one bid for the complete removal of the material was rejected, that some of the asbestos was covered with new drywall, and that some asbestos was removed after a roof leaked without following prescribed methods.

The indictment also charges that renovations were made to the South Pasadena property — once called the Pasadena Apartments, now renamed the Shore Club Pasadena — without removing asbestos-containing ceiling material before disturbing it. The renovation work was done without the presence of a properly trained on-site representative, the indictment says.

Loder's attorney, Adam Allen of the federal public defender's office in Tampa, said Tuesday they "look forward to a favorable resolution of this matter within the court system."

Clearwater attorney George E. Tragos, who represents Spencer, said his client is "a respected architect. He did everything correctly according to the Clean Air Act. He always has and always will. He will be exonerated at the trial."

Tampa attorney Pedro Amador Jr., who represents Gannaway, said his client has pleaded not guilty.

"We are confident that, at the end of the day, Mr. Gannaway will be vindicated," Amador said.

Attorney Mark Ciaravella of Tampa, who represents McConnell, said there were problems on the sites but they were caused by weather. McConnell, he said, did not conspire to break the law and had every reason to make sure laws were being obeyed because he himself was exposed to the asbestos.

Reach Anne Lindberg at or (727) 893-8450.

Developers charged with conspiracy for work on Indian Shores, South Pasadena properties 03/02/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 2:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus


    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park


    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers


    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]