Make us your home page

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

  1. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory dies at 84


    The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.

    Dick Gregory, a comedian, activist and author, died Saturday. [Tribune News Service, 2011]
  2. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General


    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  3. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  4. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  5. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest


    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.