Tuesday, January 16, 2018
News Roundup

Fugitive Tampa businessman John Stanton a no-show at bankruptcy meeting

Fugitive businessman Stanton a no-show at Bankruptcy meeting

John Stanton, the fugitive Tampa-area businessman who once claimed a net worth of $269 million, failed to appear at a meeting of his bankruptcy creditors on Friday. Stanton was sentenced to six months in jail last month after he was found guilty of criminal contempt for failing to pay his ex-wife millions in alimony and child support. So far, Stanton has refused to turn himself in. Tampa police waited at the entrance of the federal building where the creditors' meeting was scheduled just in case he appeared. The meeting was continued until Feb. 8. If Stanton doesn't show up then, his bankruptcy case could be dismissed.

Duo convicted of mortgage fraud

A federal jury on Thursday convicted two Tampa men of 13 mortgage fraud charges after a two-week trial. William "Ondra" Joel, 32, and Maurice Vernon, 33, will be sentenced April 16 and face up to 30 years in prison. Prosecutors say the pair defrauded 10 different lenders in 2006 by setting up a straw buyer to buy properties worth $1.8 million. The buyer, however, did not have the income to justify the loans and filed applications containing inflated income figures and other false information, prosecutors say. A loan processor who was in on the scheme and the buyer are cooperating with authorities.

Gasparilla all about kids today

It's a big day in Tampa for all those wee pirates. The Gasparilla Children's Extravaganza kicks off at 11 a.m. along Bayshore Boulevard with a bicycle and pedestrian safety rodeo. The preschooler's stroll for swashbucklers age 5 and under begins at 1:30 p.m. The main parade leaves Bay to Bay Boulevard at 3:30 p.m. and ends at 6 p.m. at Watrous and Orleans avenues. At 6 p.m., the pirate ship Jose Gasparilla comes alive with a light and sound show. Be near DeSoto Avenue to catch the action. For event details, go to gasparillapiratefest.com.

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Panic ensued after casino shuttle caught fire, survivor recalls

Panic ensued after casino shuttle caught fire, survivor recalls

By HOWARD ALTMANTimes Staff WriterPORT RICHEY — Before directing them to abandon the burning ship, the crew of The Island Lady casino shuttle moved passengers around the 72-foot wood-hulled vessel as fire began smouldering on both sides, one passenge...
Updated: 11 minutes ago

Florida love triangle led to a murder-for-hire plot, police say. But the wrong woman was killed.

Heartbreak and jealously were the twin engines driving the scheme, police would later say.Ishnar Marie Lopez-Ramos was in love. The object of the 35-year-old Floridian’s affection, however, was tangled up with another woman. To solve her heart’s woes...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Arizona-based AFI Mortgage opens St. Petersburg branch

Arizona-based AFI Mortgage opens St. Petersburg branch

Times StaffAFI Mortgage, a subsidiary of an Arizona-based bank, is opening its first Florida locations in St. Petersburg and Lakeland. Its parent company, AmeriFirst Financial Inc., specializes in mortgages. "This Florida team is innovative, knowledg...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Thanks to Hurricane Irma, you need a boat to get to Shell Key again

Thanks to Hurricane Irma, you need a boat to get to Shell Key again

By CRAIG PITTMANTimes Staff WriterAT THE SHELL KEY PRESERVE — From a boat puttering along in the water, the sandy beach seems to go on and on. Then, abruptly, it ends at a mass of tangled, overturned mangroves where a great blue heron sits on an expo...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
St. Petersburg’s apartment boom is spreading west

St. Petersburg’s apartment boom is spreading west

By SUSAN TAYLOR MARTINTimes Senior CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — Still more apartments are coming to St. Petersburg, this time to the Edge and Grand Central Districts just west of downtown.The new projects, all by out-of-state developers, will add mo...
Updated: 22 minutes ago

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Jan. 19

Re: Walking leads to shocking catalogue of trash | Jan. 12 column Bring back anti-littering campaignJust came back from the beautiful, clean city of Singapore, where there is a $1,000 fine, plus community service for littering. I think a presiden...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pope begs forgiveness for ‘irreparable harm’ from sex abuse

Pope begs forgiveness for ‘irreparable harm’ from sex abuse

SANTIAGO, Chile — Pope Francis begged for forgiveness Tuesday for the "irreparable damage" done to children who were raped and molested by priests, opening his visit to Chile by diving head-first into a scandal that has greatly hurt the Catholic Chur...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Some fear Spa Beach billowing net sculpture could catch birds and storms

Some fear Spa Beach billowing net sculpture could catch birds and storms

By WAVENEY ANN MOORETimes Staff WriterST. PETERSBURG — International artist Janet Echelman may have fulfilled her $75,000 feasibility contract with the city and previewed her billowing, parasol-inspired sculpture for Spa Beach, but for some, key ques...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Florida boy, 6, dies of rabies contracted from a bat

ORLANDO — A 6-year-old Florida boy has died from rabies he contracted after being scratched by an infected bat.The father of Ryker Roque told NBC that the boy died Sunday at an Orlando hospital.Father Henry Roque said he had found a sick bat, put it ...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Pasco man fatally struck on Interstate 70 in Kansas

SALINA, Kan. — The Kansas Highway Patrol says a Florida man died after he was hit by a car as he walked along Interstate 70 near Salina.The patrol says 35-year-old Cody Nordlund of New Port Richey died Sunday night.He was walking in an eastbound lane...
Updated: 3 hours ago