Mary Ellen Klas, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Mary Ellen Klas

Mary Ellen Klas is capital bureau chief for the Miami Herald and co-bureau chief of the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee Bureau. She is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and a graduate of the University of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minn. Before she became bureau chief for the Herald in 2004, Mary Ellen was Tallahassee bureau chief for Florida Trend magazine and also served as a senior writer for the Palm Beach Post. She was bureau chief for the Palm Beach Post from 1990-94, after which she worked part time for 10 years while her daughters were young. She is married to John Kennedy, senior writer for the Palm Beach Post's Tallahassee bureau. They have two daughters.

Phone: 850-222-3095

Email: meklas@miamiherald.com

Twitter: @MaryEllenKlas

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  1. Deal that wasn't: Scott wanted to give tribe more gambling for $2B

    Blog

    From the Associated Press:

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott's staff nearly reached a multi-billion dollar deal with the Seminole Indian tribe that would have allowed it to add roulette and craps at its South Florida casinos, documents obtained by The Associated Press show.

    The deal, which was scuttled last spring amid resistance from state legislators, also would have opened the door for the Seminoles to build a casino in the Fort Pierce area and would likely have blocked construction of any Las Vegas-style casinos in Miami for the next seven years....

  2. Scott office defends his inspector general but gets confused over prison timeline

    Blog

    Gov. Rick Scott's office came to the defense of his chief inspector general Friday saying that the reason she couldn't investigate claims of a suspicious inmate death brought to her by an anonymous letter nearly two years ago was because the case was under an open investigation.

    But, according to a detailed timeline released by the media office in response to a Miami Herald report, there was no investigation pending in the gassing death of Randall Jordan-Aparo when Melinda Miguel received the letter....

  3. Soto asks prison chief to turn over documents about cover-up and probe into inmate deaths

    Blog

    Darren SotoA state senator is asking the Department of Corrections to turn over documents regarding the cover-up and investigation of suspicious inmate deaths at Florida prisons, warning that the use excessive force may have violated the constitutional ban on "cruel and unusual punishment."...

  4. Warning about suspicious prison deaths passed to office in question

    State Roundup

    Gov. Rick Scott's chief troubleshooter was warned by letter nearly two years ago about the possible coverup of two suspicious prison deaths but did nothing other than forward the letter to the very people accused of hiding the deaths, documents obtained by the Miami Herald show.

    An anonymous letter addressed to "Gov. Scott" and stamped as received by the governor's chief inspector general on Oct. 25, 2012, included strikingly accurate details about the gruesome deaths of Randall Jordan-Aparo at Franklin Correctional Institution in 2010 and Darren Rainey at Dade Correctional in 2012....

  5. Gov. Scott's chief inspector was warned of prison cover-up but failed to act

    Blog

    Rainey JordanaparoGov. Rick Scott’s chief troubleshooter was warned nearly two years ago about the possible cover-up of two suspicious prison deaths, but did nothing other than forward the letter to the very people accused of hiding the deaths, documents obtained by the Miami Herald show....

  6. RPOF sends trackers to video license plates at Crist fundraiser

    Blog

    Gotcha campaigning in Florida has moved to a new dimension -- the political fundraiser. As AP reporter Brendan Farrington details below, the Republican Party of Florida and the Rick Scott campaign had trackers videotaping license plates at a Democratic Party fundraiser for Charlie Crist at a private home in Tallahassee Tuesday.

    What's next? Governor's Club, home to the Tallahassee fundraiser for candidates of all stripes, beware?...

  7. Citizens removes 1 percent assessment from insurance policies

    Blog

    By Jeff Harrington

    Florida property owners will stop paying a 1 percent emergency assessment on their insurance bills two years earlier than planned under a recommendation approved Wednesday by the board of Citizens Property Insurance.

    For the average homeowner, that translates into a total savings of about $40 over two years.

    Citizens was allowed to tack the assessment on to Florida property policies after eight storms during the 2004-05 hurricane seasons left the state-run insurer with a deficit of more than $1.7 billion. The assessments, used to pay off a bond, were supposed to last 10 years....

  8. What's a 'swindler'? The dialogue of Florida's governor's race

    Blog

    After the "victim" in Gov. Rick Scott's ad was unmasked and found that he was not swindled by former Gov. Charlie Crist, the governor started to change his argument.  But if the definition of a swindle is a flip-flop, does that make the governor a swindler? We pose the question to the governor, get an answer, and get Crist's response. Note: Crist's answer conveniently echoes the theme of his latest ad. ...

  9. DCF was warned of dangers surrounding murdered family

    Blog

    The Spirit family that child welfare investigators confronted two weeks ago presented a volatile mix: two drug-abusing adults, six small children and a history of violence. It exploded Thursday when Don Charles Spirit killed his daughter and six grandchildren one by one.

    The killing spree in tiny Bell, Florida, is believed to be the largest loss of life in a single family with a child welfare history ever in Florida. And records show authorities knew there were risks....

  10. The Money Race: Crist and Scott amp up spending on ad wars

    Blog

    Cash APFlorida’s governor’s candidates spent more money than they collected in the last round of political reports as Republican Gov. Rick Scott continued to unleash his negative ad war and Democratic Charlie Crist responded, leaving them nearly even with cash on hand....

  11. As pressure increases over inmate deaths, prison head fires 32 guards

    Blog

    255 Michael Crews071114 Department of CorrectionsThirty-two guards with the Florida Department of Corrections were fired Friday afternoon in what union officials were calling a “Friday night massacre.” All were accused of criminal wrongdoing or misconduct in connection with the deaths of inmates at four state prisons....

  12. Charlie Crist campaign focuses on black voters and turnout

    Blog

    Crist black vote

    Mary Wilkerson is aware there's a governor's race on the November ballot, but "it's not on my radar,'' says the 60-year-old from Jacksonville....

  13. With black vote crucial in Florida governor's race, Charlie Crist hopes to ignite support

    State Roundup

    JACKSONVILLE

    Mary Wilkerson is aware there's a governor's race on the November ballot, but "it's not on my radar,'' says the 60-year-old from Jacksonville.

    Wilkerson, a black Democrat and reliable supporter of Barack Obama, is the kind of voter who is pivotal to the candidacy of Charlie Crist, the former Republican governor turned Democrat.

    His campaign has put a premium on building a field operation aimed at turning out the vote in key communities and has crafted a careful message of inclusion that aims to avoid the mistakes that imperiled Alex Sink, the Democrat who lost to Gov. Rick Scott four years ago by less than 2 percent of the vote....

    Former Gov. Charlie Crist speaks with Betty Reese at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church last Sunday in St. Petersburg. Crist has been making the rounds to black churches across the state in his attempt to retake the Governor’s Mansion.
  14. GOP consultant says 'integrity' of court is at stake over redistricting

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — One of Florida's top Republican political consultants stopped short of accusing the state Supreme Court of lacking "integrity" Friday if it rules that he must disclose emails in a case brought under the state's new anti-gerrymanding laws.

    Pat Bainter, whose firm Data Targeting Inc. has battled for two years to keep the documents private in a lengthy legal battle over the state's redistricting maps, argued on Friday that the release of his emails violates his First Amendment right to anonymous political speech....

  15. Court hears case over redistricting docs, consultant claims conspiracy

    Blog

    One of Florida's top Republican political consultants stopped short of accusing the state Supreme Court of lacking "integrity" Friday if it rules that he must disclose emails in a case brought under the state’s new anti-gerrymanding laws.

    Pat Bainter, whose firm Data Targeting Inc. has battled for two years to keep the documents private in a lengthy legal battle over the state’s redistricting maps, argued that the release of his emails violates his First Amendment right to anonymous political speech.

    But after the justices – who have had access to the documents -- raised doubts about Bainter’s argument that they were trade secrets, he issued a blistering statement.

    "Today’s Supreme Court hearing is the culmination of a legal assault and press sensationalism as to whether or not I, a private citizen, have the right to petition my government without fear of a political inquisition into my private matters," he wrote after the oral arguments. "After today's hearing, it is clear to me that, as interpreted by the Florida Supreme Court, Amendments 5 & 6 are unconstitutional because they criminalize political speech based upon its content."...