Mark Puente, State Accountability Reporter

Mark Puente

State Accountability Reporter

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.

Florida Senator Darryl Rouson got $1 million in state budget for his wife’s employer

SCOTT KEELER   |   Times Angela Rouson and her husband, Senator Darryl Rouson, both of St. Petersburg,  stand for the National Anthem, Tuesday, 11/22/16 in the Florida Senate before Rouson was sworn in.
This wasn’t the first time his wife’s position overlapped with state money Rouson secured for his district.

Federal agents interview employees at embattled Tampa Bay CareerSource centers

An exterior view of Career Source Pinellas office on 8th Avenue S in St. Petersburg. (DIRK SHADD   |   Times )
For the first time, federal agents interviewed employees Wednesday at the offices of scandal-plagued CareerSource Pinellas, subject to allegations of phony hiring reports and questionable spending.

Pinellas commissioners oppose privatizing Visit St. Pete/Clearwater tourism bureau

David Downing, the CEO and director of Visit St. Pete-Clearwater, attended his last Pinellas County Tourism Development ahead of his resignation for the tourism agency on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (SARA DINATALE | TIMES]
Lack of oversight could lead to troubles like at the construction board and local job centers, they say.

Pinellas tourism leader David Downing took vacation on taxpayers’ dime

David Downing, the CEO and director of Visit St. Pete-Clearwater, attended his last Pinellas County Tourism Development ahead of his resignation for the tourism agency on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (SARA DINATALE | TIMES]
The way David Downing recorded payroll hours helped him collect thousands in payouts for unused vacation time.

Director of Pinellas County Contractor Licensing Department resigns amid review

Glenn Wardell, center,  was picked last year to be the director of the Pinellas County Contractor Licensing Department. The agency was formerly called the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board. The Florida Legislature stripped its independence after the Tampa Bay Times investigation exposed wrongdoings.  [Pinellas County]
Glenn Wardell had worked for the county for 23 years.