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St. Petersburg Housing Authority figure to be replaced

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Baker has chosen not to reappoint a controversial housing authority official.

Walt Smyth, a longtime St. Petersburg Housing Authority commissioner, will be replaced by Lucinda Spire.

Smyth, a real estate agent, was accused of abusing taxpayer money during a housing conference in February 2007.

A St. Petersburg Times reporter attended a conference in Phoenix that Smyth and another housing commissioner were scheduled to attend. Both men skipped almost half of the sessions. When they returned, Smyth lied about attending a session he had missed.

Smyth later said he had skipped the meetings because he had to return home early and that he had been as thrifty as possible while on the trip.

Smyth's term ended in November. He remained on the board even though Baker did not reappoint him. "He did not resign," said Audra Butler, a spokeswoman for the housing authority.

Spire's appointment will be discussed during a housing authority meeting June 26.

Housing commissioners serve four-year terms. Board members are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the City Council.

Cristina Silva can be reached at (727) 893-8846 or

St. Petersburg Housing Authority figure to be replaced 06/17/08 [Last modified: Thursday, June 19, 2008 1:22pm]
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