Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Writers

Susan Taylor Martin

Susan Taylor Martin

For someone who doesn't particularly care to fly, Tampa Bay Times senior correspondent Susan Taylor Martin has logged a lot of hours in the air — in the past decade she has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and China. She covered the invasion of Iraq, the war in Kosovo and the war against terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan. On 9/11, she and two other Times staffers got in Martin's aging car and drove 24 hours nonstop from Tampa Bay to New York City, her hometown. Among the other breaking stories Susan has covered were the death and funeral of Princess Diana, the funeral of Jordan's King Hussein and the handover of Hong Kong to China. There have been lighter moments, too. Martin has written about a restaurant in Jerusalem dedicated to Elvis Presley's memory; a Scottish hamlet that finally got TV and hated it; and the gay and transvestite scene in Turkey, a conservative Muslim country. Her hobbies include figure skating, antiquing, flea-marketing, and rooting for the Blue Devils basketball team of Duke University (her alma mater). Martin has won numerous state and national journalism awards, including the 2007 Paul Hansell Award presented by the Florida Society of News Editors for distinguished writing and reporting.



Foreclosure attorney Mark Stopa, left, and defense attorney Scott Tozian attend a hearing on Monday at the Clearwater Courthouse where Stopa's punishment is to be decided after he was found to have violated several Florida Bar rules. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]

Foreclosure defense attorney Mark Stopa draws praise, criticism at penalty hearing

CLEARWATER — Homeowners from as far away as Texas and North Carolina crowded a Pinellas County courtroom Monday in support of embattled foreclosure defense attorney Mark Stopa. Facing possible disbarment for professional misconduct, Stopa also...
Published: 04/23/18
This home in Hernando Beach sold in March for $545,000, making it Hernando County's priciest sale of the month. [Courtesey of Debbie Francis]

Another surge in Tampa Bay home prices as sales sag

Tampa Bay home sales tumbled in March, once again pushing up prices.Hillsborough County saw the biggest decline in single-family sales, which plunged nearly 9 percent. Hernando had the biggest gain in prices, up more than 17 percent.
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Foreclosure attorney Mark Stopa, left, sits with defense attorney Donald Smith while attending a hearing in March before Pinellas Judge Linda Allan at the Pinellas County Courthouse. Allan has found that Stopa violated numerous rules of professional conduct and caused two clients to nearly lose their homes because he failed to tell them about settlement offers from their banks. 
[DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]

Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Tampa Bay foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa has violated numerous rules of professional conduct and caused two clients to nearly lose their homes because he failed to tell them about settlement offers from their banks. Those were among the...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Timothy and Hyun Kim of St. Petersburg pose outside of their new home,  which has multiple construction defects and code violations. The couple wanto move from the house, which has

Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

ST. PETERSBURG --- Stretched across the front of Tim and Hyun Kims’ two-year-old house is a big banner with the name of a developer and the words: "I have to fix my new house."Some of what needs fixing is instantly apparent. The front...
Published: 04/20/18
Liquor behind the bar at the Pelican Pub, 18 2nd St N, in downtown St. Petersburg. The state's annual drawing for quota liquor licenses, which can be very lucrative for winners, was held today. 
[DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]

Most of Tampa Bay’s new liquor licenses won by applicants from South Florida, Tallahassee

TALLAHASSEE — The newest batch of quota liquor licenses for the Tampa Bay area will go to applicants from South Florida and Tallahassee. In its annual drawing, the state Department of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco selected the winners of 51...
Published: 04/18/18
Traders are shown recently on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Andrew Berke of Apollo Beach has been sentenced to four months of house confinement and three years of supervised release in an insider trading scheme. 
 [Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

Tampa executive sentenced to house confinement in insider trading case

Andrew Berke of Apollo Beach has been sentenced to four months of house confinement and three years of supervised release in an insider trading scheme in which his co-defendant, Tampa lawyer Walter C. Little, will soon begin serving 27 months in...
Published: 04/18/18
Despite a booming market, homes in the Tampa Bay area took longer to sell in 2017 than those in many other parts of the country. 
[AP File photo, 2014]

Tampa Bay homes selling less quickly than in many other areas

Despite a booming market, homes in the Tampa Bay area took longer to sell in 2017 than those in many other parts of the country. According to Zillow, the average time between listing and closing for a bay area home was 81 days last year, the...
Published: 04/17/18
Chris Moench, CEO of St. Petersburg-based Directed Capital Resources, shown in his downtown St. Petersburg office on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015.
[WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times file photo]

Tampa Bay firm buys $80 million in loans backed by Louisiana hotels, restaurants, apartments

ST. PETERSBURG — The collapse of a New Orleans bank is proving a boon to a fast-growing St. Petersburg real estate finance firm. Directed Capital has acquired $80.2 million in distressed loans originated by the failed bank and collateralized by...
Published: 04/16/18
Pinellas County Sheriff's Sgt. Tim Grundmann, and his wife, Carol, spent four years battling their bank and loan servicer (Green Tree, now Ditech) over a wrongful foreclosure on their home in Seminole, background.
[DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times file, 2017]

Tampa Bay couple that suffered 'horrible treatment' settles with lender

SEMINOLE — After hearing Carol and Timothy Grundmann recount their six-year battle with a loan servicer, a Pinellas County judge had this blunt reaction:
Published: 04/13/18

New foreclosure filings plunge in the Tampa Bay area

New foreclosure filings have plunged in the Tampa Bay area. The number of foreclosure cases started in the first three months of this year was 844, nearly 40 percent fewer than at the same time last year, according to ATTOM Data...
Published: 04/12/18