At a bustling hotel like TradeWinds in St. Pete Beach, you need a lot of computers to keep the business humming.
So two of the resort's key financial executives frequently rushed payments to various IT businesses, sometimes making or approving disbursements via American Express and PayPal.
But on Tuesday morning, former chief financial officer Sam Baage, 60, and former technology director Harold William James, 47, stood in court and admitted that all those computer expenses were a sham. ...
The starting point for any discussion of the Republicans in the state House District 68 race begins with one word: civility.
The first reason comes from candidate Bill Young, who said he was inspired to run for office because of his father, longtime U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, who died last year after serving more than four decades in Congress and was known for civility and bipartisanship. ...
LARGO — Ralph Wright Jr. was sentenced to death Friday for killing his ex-girlfriend and their baby in a way that the judge called cold, calculated, heinous and cruel.
During a hearing Friday, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Thane Covert recounted many details of the killing to explain his conclusion that "the death penalty is the appropriate sentence."
Perhaps the most chilling part of the narrative came as Covert described how Wright came uninvited to the St. Petersburg home of Paula O'Conner, his ex-girlfriend....
State House | District 68
Two Republicans are vying for the right to run against incumbent state Rep. Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg. The winner in the GOP primary will go up against Dudley in the Nov. 4 general election. Curtis Krueger, Times staff writer
Joshua Black, 32
State House | District 67
Republican state Rep. Ed Hooper is leaving this seat because of term limits and is running for a County Commission seat. Two Republicans and three Democrats are in the race to replace him in the state House of Representatives. The winners will face off in the Nov. 4 general election. Here is a look at the Republicans. Curtis Krueger, Times staff writer ...08/14/14Politics
State House | District 67
Republican state Rep. Ed Hooper is leaving this seat because of term limits and is running for a County Commission seat. Two Republicans and three Democrats are in the race to replace him in the state House of Representatives. The winners will face off in the Nov. 4 general election. Here is a look at the Democrats. Curtis Krueger, Times staff writer ...08/14/14Crime
LARGO — Hours before he was scheduled to appear in court to face a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, Larry Kobielnik killed himself.
Deputies found him hanging by a shoelace early Thursday in the shower of his single cell, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said.
Kobielnik is the third inmate to commit suicide in the Pinellas County Jail this year, the second to kill himself after being convicted....08/11/14Veterans
SEMINOLE — U.S. Army veteran David Davis was calm and clear-eyed on Monday, even as he sat in a congressman's office and told reporters about the cancer that will likely kill him.
Davis, 60, said he went to a Veterans Affairs hospital for treatment of skin growths and was told he had a cyst or an infection. They gave him antibiotics.
But Davis believed the problem was more serious....08/08/14Elections
Republican state Rep. Kathleen Peters was endorsed this week by the antiabortion group Florida Right to Life, which doesn't sound surprising on the surface.
Except for one thing: Less than a year ago, National Right to Life labeled her a "pro-abortion state Rep." and claimed she had a "100% pro-abortion voting record."
Peters said on Friday she was pleased to receive the state group's endorsement because it reflects her "core values."...08/04/14 Public Safety
An Allegiant Air flight made an emergency landing at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport Monday after a flight attendant was injured during turbulence.
The MD-80 airplane left Fort Lauderdale en route to Asheville, N.C., with 147 passengers and six crew members aboard, said airport operations manager Lloyd Tillmann. The flight attendant suffered head injuries during the turbulence. She was taken to a hospital for treatment immediately after the landing Monday afternoon, Tillmann said....08/04/14 Blog
Shawna Vercher, one of three Democratic candidates in state House District 67 in Pinellas County, has posted this quote from the Tampa Bay Times on her campaign web site:
"Shawna Vercher is a poised, articulate businesswoman who in many ways appears an ideal Democratic candidate..."
What the web site doesn't say: The excerpt comes from a Times article quoting people who dispute many claims that Vercher has raised in a book and in her campaign....07/31/14 Blog
Three judges and a court system spokesman have been honored by the Clearwater Bar Association, according to a news release issued Thursday.
* The John U. Bird Judicial Excellence Award was given to Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judges Raymond Gross and William R. Webb.
* The late Pinellas County Judge Patrick Caddell, who died earlier this year of cancer, received the George W. Greer Judicial Independence Award....07/27/14Elections
With all the money in politics, does anyone represent the regular guy?
The three Democratic candidates in the House District 67 race all say they would, and each claims the perspective comes from working-class roots.
Thomas Ryan works at a dairy, was happy when his salary got into the $30,000 range, and said "I think I'd be a voice for the poorer people, for the people who really struggle."...07/26/14Elections
Shawna Vercher is a poised, articulate businesswoman who in many ways appears an ideal Democratic candidate in a tough battle for a state House seat in Pinellas County.
She's at ease in front of cameras and energetic enough to shake every hand in the room. Although she lost a $1.5 million court case and filed for bankruptcy, she has attempted to turn the setback into an advantage by writing a blistering book on the need to reform Florida's justice system....07/21/14Politics
U.S. Rep. David Jolly on Monday said that although he's a Christian who believes in traditional marriage, he supports a judge's recent decision striking down Florida's gay marriage ban.
Jolly, R-Indian Shores, described himself as "a 41-year-old less-government conservative," and said same-sex marriage is "an issue of less government and personal liberty."
Therefore, he told the Tampa Bay Times in an interview, "a state that embraces both same-sex marriage and traditional marriage is something that I support."...