Toluse Olorunnipa, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Toluse Olorunnipa

Toluse Olorunnipa has been a reporter with the Miami Herald since 2009, covering a number of beats, including the economy, the auto industry and real estate. He has also written for the Wall Street Journal, the Tallahassee Democrat and the Stanford Daily. He is a native of Tallahassee.

Phone: (850) 222-3095

Email: tolorunnipa@miamiherald.com

  1. Bill on Scott's desk could help British conglomerate, hurt Monroe County Property Appraiser

    Blog

     

    A bill on Gov. Rick Scott’s desk could save a British company millions of dollars, while stymieing the Monroe County Property Appraiser’s office and setting a new precedent for calculating property taxes at privatize military housing. 

    SB 354, which passed the Legislature with bipartisan support last month, clarifies key provisions in Florida’s tax code, determining who is--and who isn't--eligible for property tax exemptions. ...

  2. Cat Fund fight could impact premiums for some condo associations

    Blog

     

    Rep. Mike Fasano and Dr. Jack Nicholson, who runs the state-backed reinsurance organization (the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund), are in a bit of a back-and-forth over what should and shouldn’t constitute a “residential property” for insurance purposes.

    It’s a bit wonky, but Fasano says Nicholson’s interpretation of Florida’s statutes could cost condo associations thousands of dollars in rate hikes, if the Cat Fund stops covering their buildings....

  3. Bondi bashes Bank of America, threatens lawsuit over national mortgage settlement problems

    Blog

    Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi criticized Bank of America on Thursday for failing to follow the rules of a national mortgage settlement reached last year over the practice of robo-signing during the height of the foreclosure crisis.

    In a letter to Bank of America's lawyer, she accuses the banking giant of "troubling" practices, including sending state officials "litigation letters" and failing to modify mortgages in an efficient manner. She floats a future lawsuit against Bank of America or any of the other banks in the settlement as a possibility....

  4. Senate President Gaetz calls for hearings on special $52M deal for Scott donor

    Blog

    Senate President Don Gaetz is calling for special hearings on the $52 million special deal between Citizens Property Insurance and a politically connected upstart insurance company, the latest sign of legislative angst with the state-run insurer....

  5. 'Outraged' S. Florida officials urge Scott to veto ban on local 'sick time' laws

    Blog

    More than a dozen local politicians from Miami-Dade County — including Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado — say they are “outraged” that the Florida Legislature wants to pass down another mandate on local governments.

    In a letter to Gov. Rick Scott, Regalado and other local mayors, commissioners and council members, say HB 655—a ban on local “sick time” ordinances—is a “Tallahassee power grab.”...

  6. State jobs agency claims it was 'target' of 'politicized' federal investigation

    Blog

    Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity is accusing the federal government of targeting it with a politically driven investigation, after the U.S. Department of Labor slammed the jobs agency for denying access to jobless benefits.

    Perhaps building upon the IRS's targeting scandal, DEO is asking for Congressional hearings and an Inspector General investigation into “improper politicization at the United States Department of Labor.”...

  7. Top Scott staffers weren't sure about manufacturing tax break after it failed to get supermajority

    Blog

    After a constitutionally questionable vote on Gov. Rick Scott’s top legislative priority, a tax break for manufacturers, House Speaker Will Weatherford quickly declared the bill passed, despite its failing to reach an 80-vote supermajority previously considered necessary. 

    “We think it is extremely constitutional,” Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said after thecontentious May 1 vote, stating that he had discussed the issue with legislative legal staff. He followed up with a statement asking “Who would sue to stop a tax cut?” ...

  8. Gov. Scott won't say if he supports special $52 million deal for donor

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    Last month, Gov. Rick Scott went line-by-line through the state’s $74.5 billion budget, striking down more than $350 million in spending items—everything from $10,000 for a water project in Miami Gardens to $50 million for a state bike trail. 

    Scott said he spent a long time reviewing every item in the 400-plus-page budget to protect taxpayer money by making sure that all line items in the budget were a smart use of state funds. ...

  9. Despite no hurricanes, many 'takeout' insurers fail

    Banking

    TALLAHASSEE — Despite Florida having no major hurricanes in the past seven years, one-third of the insurance companies that have taken over policies previously held by Citizens Property Insurance Corp. have gone belly up — and cost taxpayers $400 million.

    As Citizens intensifies its efforts to turn over policies to smaller insurers — what industry officials call "takeout" policies — there is a growing fear that the young, untested companies will not be able to withstand the hurricane season, which began Saturday....

    The Tampa Bay Times presents a one-stop news and information resource to carry you through the 2013 hurricane season, which began Saturday.  Within this hurricane guide, you will find tips for ways to get organized before a storm hits, covering everything from hurricane insurance to exit strategies and ways to hurricane proof your home.  Find all that plus evacuation maps and shelter locations at tampabay.com/hurricane-guide.
  10. Regulators slap $1.3M fine on largest private insurer, citing laundry list of abuses

    Blog

    The state’s largest private property insurance company has been violating state law, mistreating customers and shifting profits to affiliates for years, according to an order released Thursday by the Office of Insurance Regulation.

    Universal Property and Casualty Insurance Company has been fined $1.3 million for a laundry list of violations ranging from mismanaging its money to wrongfully denying insurance claims to failing to maintain appropriate records. Many of the violations are repeat offenses for the company, since regulators flagged the much of the misconduct in 2005....

  11. Largest private insurer in Florida fined $1.3 million for long list of violations

    Banking

    TALLAHASSEE — The state's largest private property insurance company has been violating state law, mistreating customers and shifting profits to affiliates for years, according to an order released Thursday by the Office of Insurance Regulation.

    Universal Property and Casualty Insurance Company has been fined $1.3 million for a laundry list of violations ranging from mismanaging its money to wrongfully denying insurance claims to failing to maintain appropriate records. Many of the violations are repeat offenses for the company, since regulators flagged the misbehavior in 2005....

  12. Gov. Rick Scott signs Citizens reform bill, then blasts insurer

    Banking

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida Gov. Rick Scott wasted no time signing a bill to reform Citizens Property Insurance Corp., which has seen a whirlwind of criticism since it approved a special $52 million deal for an upstart company with ties to top politicians last week.

    Scott signed SB 1770 on Wednesday, one day after the reform proposal reached his desk. The bill creates a "clearinghouse" to direct policies out of Citizens and into the private market, and includes several reforms that address controversies and scandals that have taken place at Citizens. ...

    Gov. Rick Scott pointed out the “fraud, waste and abuse” at Florida’s largest insurer after approving a reform bill.
  13. Scott signs bill reforming Citizens Insurance, then blasts the company

    Blog

    Gov. Rick Scott wasted no time signing a bill to reform Citizens Property Insurance Corp., which has seen a whirlwind of criticism since it approved a special $52 million deal for an upstart company with ties to top politicians last week. ...

  14. CFO Atwater raises questions about $52 million deal with Heritage Insurance

    Blog

    Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater has weighed in on Citizens Property Insurance’s $52 million deal with an upstart St. Petersburg firm, suggesting that the transfer was “not thoroughly vetted.”

    Atwater joins several other top Florida officials in questioning Citizens over the deal, which benefits nine-month-old Heritage Property and Casualty Insurance. The proposal was unveiled and approved last week  in a quickly scheduled 3-2 vote by Citizens’ board. Two board members could not make it to the meeting and another abstained from voting, allowing the proposal to carry with the support of only three of Citizens' eight board members. ...

  15. Leon County judge orders release of redistricting documents, again

    Blog

     A Leon County judge has again ordered more documents to be turned over to plaintiffs in a long-running lawsuit over Florida’s redrawn legislative maps.

    A group of plaintiffs challenging the maps under Florida’s “Fair Districts” mandate said six weeks have passed since Judge Terry Lewis ordered that the documents be disclosed, with no records produced.

    Lewis mostly agreed, ordering Gainesville-based Data Targeting to turn over many the documents within 24 hours....