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As audit looms, top housing official bids Foster, St. Petersburg farewell

ST. PETERSBURG — The city's manager of housing and community development for the past 14 years, Thomas K. de Yampert, announced his resignation this week, catching some at City Hall by surprise.

"It is with great humility and a deep sense of gratitude that I hereby tender my resignation effective Jan. 14, 2011," de Yampert said in his letter to Mayor Bill Foster. "It has been my pleasure to work as a public servant."

The announcement comes just a week before the anticipated release of an audit analyzing the city's above-market purchase of a home owned by the aunt of Goliath Davis, de Yampert's boss.

Foster said last week that based on briefings he's been given about the audit, he has questions that, if not answered, could result in disciplinary action for those involved. In December, the city paid $80,000 for a green concrete block house in Childs Park owned by Beverly Gray, Davis' aunt. The city purposely used a 2007 appraisal to inflate the purchase price. Pinellas County Property Appraiser's Office gave it a $24,000 market value.

De Yampert said his department wasn't involved in the purchase. It did help Gray try to find a new home.

Foster said de Yampert's exit had nothing to do with the pending audit.

"His name didn't come up in the audit, as far as I know," Foster said. "His leaving is unfortunate for me, great for him."

Brad Scott, the city's auditor, said de Yampert was not named or a focus of the investigation.

"I didn't know he resigned," Scott said.

Davis, the city's senior administrator of community enrichment, could not be reached for comment.

De Yampert said the audit had nothing to do with his resignation.

"It's just time," he said. "I got married three years ago to the most wonderful woman in the world, and I wanted to spend more time with her." He also said he had more than 400 hours of vacation time he had accrued and wanted to spend now.

"The mayor tried to talk me into staying," de Yampert said.

He owns many rental properties, and wants to spend more time overseeing them, he said. He sits on the St. Pete Beach board of adjustments, but said he also was going to resign from that to avoid a power struggle in that city.

De Yampert, 61, started working with the city in 1994 as a housing development coordinator after a stint as credit administrator with First Florida Bank.

As audit looms, top housing official bids Foster, St. Petersburg farewell 11/05/10 [Last modified: Friday, November 5, 2010 11:39pm]
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