Sunday, May 20, 2018
Public safety

Son of famous St. Pete hotelier pleads guilty to TV fraud in North Carolina

The son of one of St. Petersburg's most influential hoteliers pleaded guilty late last month to charges related to a $4.5 million fraud scheme in North Carolina.

Ninian Ulysses Bond II, 60, is the son of the late Bill Bond, one of the "Bond Boys" who helped develop downtown into a tourist destination last century. The younger Bond's brother, Bill Bond Jr., is a former City Council member.

Since at least 2002, court records say, Ninian Ulysses Bond II owned and operated North Carolina-based Highlands Cable Group.

Bond, investigators say, paid DirecTV less than $500 a month for subscriptions to the satellite TV provider. He then illegally rebroadcast DirecTV programming to his own customers. As of 2011, he had more than 550.

Bond, reached at the company's direct line Thursday, said much more would be revealed after his settlement negotiations with prosecutors are finished.

"There's a whole lot afoot here that's not in the public records," he said, declining to be more specific.

Bond, born and raised in St. Petersburg, has family roots in the city that go back nearly 100 years.

His grandfather, Ninian Ulysses Bond Sr., was a Kentucky state senator who brought his wife and three boys here in 1921.

The family got into the hotel business in the 1930s with the purchase of the Pennsylvania Hotel. The brothers later owned the Ponce de Leon, Colonial and Bond hotels as well. All three of the "Bond Boys" are now dead. Bond's father was the last when died in 2011.

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report.

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