Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas County housing authorities continue to fracture

ST. PETERSBURG — The Pinellas County Housing Authority continued to fracture Wednesday in the wake of executive director Darrell Irions' quitting.

During a special meeting, authority board members learned chief administrative officer Robin Adams also plans to resign.

The board narrowly voted to keep Irions and Adams during a mid April meeting. She had been accused of trying to block an independent review of a $3.7 million joint headquarters for the county and St. Petersburg housing agencies. The project wasn't publicly bid.

Meanwhile, the Clearwater Housing Authority decided to stop providing financial and management services for the county. The county pays Clearwater nearly $245,000 a year for the work.

Why? County officials were unsure, and termination notices didn't say. But the chief of the Clearwater authority is Jacqueline Rivera — Irions' wife. She did not return a phone message.

"I guess I kind of feel like we're being wagged by the tail," board member Charles Samaha said.

With the difficulties mounting, the authority hired veteran housing attorney Ricardo Gil­more to help.

Gilmore has a history of his own. He was criticized for high billings and being too cozy with several St. Petersburg and Tampa housing authority members during a 2000 scandal that led to the Tampa executive director's conviction for bribery and conspiracy. Gilmore remains the Tampa attorney.

Gilmore disclosed the dispute to the Pinellas board and said he maintains good relationships with local and federal housing officials.

The city and county agencies are responsible for providing affordable and subsidized housing for needy people in Pinellas County. Since 2004, Irions has combined three agencies — St. Petersburg, the county and Dunedin — to try to make the programs more efficient. His methods triggered controversies, the latest over the headquarters.

Irions revealed Tuesday he would no longer lead the county agency following disputes with board members since August, when questions over the headquarters project surfaced.

Irions earned $220,500 a year running the three authorities, but is an employee of the St. Petersburg agency. Its board last Thursday backed his decision to leave the county leadership, and the city agency tapped chief operating officer Debbie Johnson as the interim director.

The county board agreed to temporarily give Irions' duties to Johnson, but held off agreeing to make her the interim director.

Pinellas County housing authorities continue to fracture 04/29/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 29, 2009 9:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Editorial: The unknown price tags in the mayor's race

    Editorials

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has been busy promoting all sorts initiatives in the months leading up to the Nov. 7 election, doubling down on his progressive agenda without spending much money or generating much controversy. But make no mistake, the cost will come due after the election. Without a change in …

    The mayor is determined to get artist Janet Echelman to create a sculpture for the new Pier. But the cost would be much higher than what is allocated. Above is Echelman’s As If It Were Already Here in Boston.
  2. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  3. Judge won't cut prison term of man who pleads obesity

    Criminal

    TAMPA — A claim of obesity won't shave time off a Tampa man's prison sentence.

    Duane Crithfield and Stephen Donaldson Sr. were sentenced to prison after marketing a fraudulent offshore tax strategy known as a "Business Protection Plan" to medical practices, offering doctors and others coverage against unlikely events such as a kidnapping.
  4. Advocates for charter, public schools argue their cases at education forum

    K12

    TAMPA — Advocates of charter schools argued for diversity in education while supporters of traditional public schools charged that state funding is stacked against them during a forum Friday titled "Choices in Education."

    Schools such as Winthrop Charter School deserve greater public support, their operators say, because they offer a choice in education that is popular among parents. Public school advocates say charter and voucher schools represent a double standard in accountability and enrollment. [WILL VRAGOVIC  |  Times]
  5. Editorial: UF shows how to preserve free speech

    Editorials

    The University of Florida was forced to navigate a treacherous terrain of constitutional concerns and public safety this week, all in a glaring public spotlight. In the end, Thursday's appearance by Richard Spencer was a success — as much as an unwelcome visit from a notorious white nationalist can be. The …