Thursday, November 15, 2018
Business

O.J. Simpson's children have put down roots in St. Petersburg

Few TV shows have had a bigger impact on recent pop culture than The People vs. O.J. Simpson: An American Crime Story.

Ending earlier this month, the FX show was a ratings smash and hailed by critics as one of the year's best. Most of all, it rekindled interest in the "trial of the century," 21 years after the verdict.

Its renewed relevance led paparazzi to Tampa Bay, of all places. The celebrity gossip website TMZ reported in February that one of Simpson's daughters, Sydney, was in St. Petersburg.

But she's not alone. Her brother is here, too.

"It's a great place to live, why not St. Pete?'' Justin Simpson, a 27-year-old Realtor, told the Tampa Bay Times by phone recently while driving to an appointment. "It's gorgeous here.''

His sister Sydney, 30, is also in real estate, though not as an agent. She owns a house and a duplex on Coquina Key, plus another duplex nearby.

In 1994, the siblings were just children when their father, a celebrity pitchman, broadcaster and former star football player, was arrested on charges of murdering their mother, Nicole Brown Simpson, and a visiting friend, Ronald Goldman.

Simpson was acquitted after a sensational 10-month-trial that divided the nation, largely along racial lines, and fostered persistent doubts about his innocence. He ended up in prison anyway, convicted in 2008 of armed robbery and kidnapping stemming from a Las Vegas trip during which he stole sports memorabilia. He is serving a 33-year sentence but is eligible for parole next year.

The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, reprised the murder trial and focused attention on the two children he had with Brown. (He has two children from a first marriage.) Raised by their mother's relatives, the younger Simpsons rarely speak about their father, an aunt told Britain's Daily Mail, and have managed to lead remarkably normal lives.

Sydney Simpson graduated from Boston University in 2010 with a degree in sociology. While living in Miami — her father moved there after his 1995 acquittal — she, her brother and their half-sister, Arnelle, started a now inactive company called Justin Communications.

Sydney Simpson apparently was the first to look to Florida's Gulf Coast. In 2014, she bought a St. Petersburg duplex for $84,000 under the name of a limited liability company. Last year, she bought the other duplex for $35,000 and a single-family home for $109,700.

Her brother, meanwhile, has had an active real estate career, according to a brief profile on a Coldwell Banker website:

"Justin has seen a diverse spectrum of markets from Los Angeles to Chicago, Miami and Atlanta. Having spent years in multi-family renovation and income properties, Justin has turned his focus to helping others succeed as he has . . . Having a family immersed in hospitality, Justin sets himself apart by dominating customer service and his communication/negotiation skills give his clients the competitive edge.''

Simpson, who got his Florida real estate license last fall, works out of a Coldwell Banker office in St. Petersburg. He has one active listing — a three-bedroom, two-bath house in the Shore Acres neighborhood priced at $226,000 — but no sales yet, according to the Multiple Listing Service.

He said the city's hot real estate market is keeping him so busy, he's sometimes tied up with appointments as late as 10:30 p.m.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate

     
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