Mark Puente, Times Staff

Mark Puente

Times Staff

I'm an award-winning investigative reporter on the hunt for stories that uncover government failures to properly spend your tax dollars. My work led to the conviction of a corrupt sheriff and others in Cleveland. In Baltimore, I detailed abuses by the police department and mayor’s office. In the Tampa Bay area, I exposed mismanagement and malfeasance at the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay job centers. When I am not talking to tipsters, reading public records or revealing government waste, I spend free time with my bride making homemade sausage and smoking meat on my Big Green Egg—called Precious. If you have news tips, meat tips or BBQ tips, please contact me.

CareerSource Pinellas board votes to put controversial Science Center on market

Berkeley Preparatory School students enter the Science Center at CareerSource Pinellas in St. Petersburg during a field trip this year. The board of directors want to sell the building. The former CareerSource leader purchased the Science Center in 2014 without permission from the board of directors. (DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times)
The move unties another decision made by former leader Edward Peachey.

Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County pledges more accountability over tax dollars

Pinellas Juvenile Welfare Board chair Brian Aungst, Jr. (left) and chief executive and Dr. Marcie A. Biddleman (right) attends Thursday's board meeting in Clearwater. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
Donna Welch spent $2.6 million in the past five years with scant documentation, minimal oversight and no tracking mechanism when buying supplies and services.

Spending gets flagged for reading program run by wife of Pinellas County commissioner

Board chair Brian Aungst, Jr., left, and Dr. Marcie A. Biddleman, right, chief executive officer for the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County. They concede that spending for a reading program run by Donna Welch had lax oversight.
The wife of a Pinellas commissioner spent thousands of dollars on food, photos and shirts for year-end parties for a reading program.

Pinellas County ends plan to partner with federal officials to check immigration status of contractors

A Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy loads a suspect into transport van after the man was arrested this year for unlicensed contracting.  The Construction Licensing Department ended its plan on Wednesday to seek help from federal immigration officials to check the immigration status of people on job sites. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
Pinellas County construction regulators wanted to check immigration status of contractors.

Palm Beach County is the lone county to reject sensors that detect hackers

Palm Beach County Supervisor Of Elections Susan Bucher, right, talks to an employee at the Supervisor of Elections office during a recount, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) FLWL117
Florida leads the nation with the highest number of intruder sensors in use, top official says.