Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

Before abortion pills dispensed, pharmacy called Welden medical practice

TAMPA — When John Andrew Welden tried to buy the abortion drug Cytotec to slip to his ex-girlfriend March 29, his forged prescription was dated April 29.

On the surface, the prescriber appeared to be Welden's fertility specialist father. Sunlake Pharmacy had seen the signature often. Still, because of the date, a pharmacist called the doctor's office to verify the order, according to recently filed court documents in a civil suit.

"Dr. (Stephen) Welden's medical practice verified the prescription, and confirmation of that verification was noted on the prescription itself by staff of Sunlake Pharmacy," attorney Mark Hartig wrote.

Welden, 28, got the drug. And authorities say he gave it to his ex-girlfriend, Remee Jo Lee, who lost an embryo of nearly seven weeks. Now Lee, 27, is suing.

The attorney brought up the pharmacy's professed due diligence over the Cytotec order in a motion that asks a Hillsborough Circuit Court judge to dismiss the lawsuit Lee filed against Hartig's client, Thomas J. Faust, whose family operates the pharmacy.

The lawsuit names five people and several business entities associated with Sunlake, claiming pharmaceutical negligence, negligent management or supervision, battery and intentional infliction of emotional pain.

Attorney Hartig, in an interview, said he doesn't know who at Dr. Welden's office gave a go-ahead to fill the Cytotec prescription, but he expects more details to emerge as the case progresses.

He declined to name the pharmacist who filled the prescription but said he doesn't represent that person.

The prescription, now part of court records, contains a note in tiny script about the March-April discrepancy: "Verified date with Dr. Welden," the note states.

Asked to respond, defense attorney Todd Foster, who represents the Weldens, said this:

"Dr. Welden denies that he verified the prescription."

Attorney Hartig isn't taking the note literally.

"There's no evidence that it wasn't John Welden himself that may have verified the prescription because he was the office manager," Hartig said.

Before his arrest, Welden managed the family's Lutz weight-loss clinic, next door to the Dr. Welden's fertility clinic on N Dale Mabry Highway. The doctor told detectives the son worked for stepmother Lenora Welden. State records show she is licensed as a nurse practitioner.

The son, currently on house arrest under the watch of a private security detail, is expected to be sentenced on federal criminal charges Dec. 5.

He pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tampering with a consumer product.

Attorneys on both sides have recommended a sentence of 13 years and 8 months, but U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara is not bound by that.

A hearing on Hartig's motion in the civil suit is scheduled for Dec. 11 before Hillsborough Circuit Judge Charles E. Bergmann.

Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Patty Ryan can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3382.

Comments
Downtown St. Pete’s 24-hour diner 2nd & Second is open

Downtown St. Pete’s 24-hour diner 2nd & Second is open

Downtown St. Petersburg’s only 24/7 restaurant has opened and doesn’t plan to close, ever.The 2nd & Second diner at the corner of Second Street and Second Avenue N will remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week offering a spot for downtown’s nigh...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Warren Sapp accused of harassment; NFL Network suspends three analysts over sexual assault allegations

Warren Sapp accused of harassment; NFL Network suspends three analysts over sexual assault allegations

Warren Sapp, a former Buc and Pro Football Hall of Famer, has been accused of sexual harassment while working as an analyst with NFL Network, according to a lawsuit.NFL Network has suspended analysts Marshall Faulk, Heath Evans and Ike Taylor "pendin...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Could the Yankees’ new Death Star prompt a Rays surrender?

Could the Yankees’ new Death Star prompt a Rays surrender?

I have a theory that Major League Baseball is always way more interesting when the New York Yankees are good.Well, the Yankees got way better in the past few days.But baseball didn’t get more interesting. It got way worse.And it could get worse in Ta...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
French group to take over Westfield malls for $15.7 billion

French group to take over Westfield malls for $15.7 billion

Three Tampa Bay malls may soon be under new management. French real estate company Unibail-Rodamco has agreed to buy Australia-based shopping mall operator Westfield Corp. for $15.7 billion in cash and shares."Westfield would arguably be the best or ...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

TAMPA — A 24-year-old aide at Buchanan Middle School was arrested Monday and charged with using Instagram to ask for sex and nude photos from students, deputies said.Between Sept. 1 and the time of his arrest, Quinton J. Bradford used the social medi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
13 new movies you have to see over the holiday season

13 new movies you have to see over the holiday season

Hollywood has enough movies left to get everyone through the holidays plus any New Year’s hangover. Many are aiming for awards glory, a few are just here for the party. The really serious contenders won’t open nationwide until early 2018...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

TAMPA — Police were searching Tuesday for a missing 15-year-old Plant City girl who disappeared from a Tampa girls school. Zoe Warren was last seen about 8 a.m. Monday at the PACE Center for Girls, 1933 E. Hillsborough Ave., where she attends school,...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Prosecutors likely to decide by Jan. 25 on death penalty in Seminole Heights murders

Prosecutors likely to decide by Jan. 25 on death penalty in Seminole Heights murders

TAMPA — Prosecutors will likely know before the end of January whether they will seek the death penalty for the man accused in the four Seminole Heights murders.A judge set the next court appearance for Howell Emanuel Donaldson as Jan. 25 and asked p...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay’s mortgage delinquency rate crept up in December

Tampa Bay’s mortgage delinquency rate crept up in December

Times Staff WriterThe percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners who are late on their mortgage payments rose slightly in September, probably due to Hurricane Irma. According to CoreLogic, 7 percent of bay area mortgages were delinquent by at least 30 days c...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Fire at Tampa townhome complex caused by faulty air-conditioner unit

Fire at Tampa townhome complex caused by faulty air-conditioner unit

TAMPA — A malfunctioning air conditioning unit sparked the fire that damaged several homes at the Brookshire Townhomes on Monday, authorities said.Investigators concluded the fire started on the back patio of unit B103 when the power supply of a cond...
Updated: 2 hours ago