Fees not waived for Kriseman aide
After abandoning his home last summer, one of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's top aides has found a potential buyer for his 96-year-old property.
David Flintom, head of the Mayor's Action Center, found a buyer four days after the home hit the market on Jan. 5. The Bayside Drive S home drew attention last month for an unpaid utility bill and liens and fees for an overgrown lawn.
The asking price for the short-sale listing was $60,000, listing data shows. The sale is expected to close in August. Flintom paid $132,900 for the home in 2003.
Flintom, 43, vacated the home and expected the lender to seize the property. But it didn't. The house then racked up fines with the codes department.
Last month Flintom, who earns $70,000 a year, said the city agreed to waive $369 in liens and fees for the overgrown lawn.
On Jan. 2, a resident made a formal complaint about Flintom's fees being waived. A city audit conducted in response found the fees were still unpaid.
Flintom paid them six days later, on Jan. 8.
Last month he paid a $231 overdue utility bill, saying he never received notices of the final bill.
Asked why he said the fees had been waived, Flintom apologized and said he miscommunicated.
Flintom served as Kriseman's district legislative aide in the Florida House.
Congratulations are in order for Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala, who recently became engaged to her companion of nearly seven years, Jay Powers.
The proposal came as a "total surprise," Latvala said, adding that she and Powers haven't decided whether to have a wedding, but they have planned a Mexico getaway in February. Powers manages the Home Port Marina properties in Palm Harbor, where Latvala also lives.
Latvala, who was married to state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, until the couple divorced in 2005, said she "probably will" change her name, but only after the November election. She recently filed to run for another term after more than 12 years on the commission.
"I think it's important to have Latvala on the ballot," she said.
There will be no deficiency of Latvalas on that ballot. Chris Latvala, Jack Latvala's son from a previous marriage, is running for the District 67 state House seat, and the senator is seeking another term in District 20.
Last week, the Buzz poked fun at Kriseman for his affinity for prepared statements and mentioned how he chucked a prepared speech to "talk from the heart" about outgoing police Chief Chuck Harmon during his retirement ceremony.
We were mistaken, however, when we mentioned one of his aides had inserted a similar line in a previous speech that said, "Introduce and talk from the heart about family." It was Kriseman who added that line in an internal copy of the speech slipped to a reporter as a favor. We regret the error.