New Tampa council member Curtis Stokes ends dispute with bank

TAMPA — City Council member Curtis Stokes has resolved his dispute with Progress Bank, avoiding foreclosure of nine properties he owns near downtown Tampa.

"We came to a beneficial conclusion, something that worked out for both of us," Stokes said Friday. "It was never a situation where I was not paying. It was a situation where we were trying to work out the details of a loan renewal."

Stokes said he had been making payments to an escrow account while he and the bank negotiated the new terms of the loan. The discussions started in February, and the bank had planned to sell the properties at the courthouse on Thursday.

But the two sides reached an agreement before that happened.

Stokes was sworn in July 22 as one of two new council members chosen to replace Linda Saul-Sena and John Dingfelder, who resigned from the council to run for the Hillsborough County Commission. The remaining council members selected Stokes and Yvonne Capin from 66 applicants.

In his first day on the job, Stokes abstained from a City Council vote to rezone land near Interstate 275 for transit-oriented development. He had to because the properties he owns are adjacent to the corridor designated for a high speed rail line connecting Tampa to Orlando.

Stokes, vice president of community affairs at Fifth Third Bank, received a mortgage for nearly $800,000 for the properties in 2008. On financial disclosure statements filed with the city, he listed the value of the properties at $2.8 million.

That's the current appraised value of the parcels given that the Florida Department of Transportation will be buying up land around the interstate to build the bullet train, Stokes said.

As an interim council member, Stokes will serve until after the March city elections.

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3401.

New Tampa council member Curtis Stokes ends dispute with bank 07/30/10 [Last modified: Saturday, July 31, 2010 12:06am]

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