ST. PETERSBURG — All Children's Hospital has agreed to pay $7 million to settle a whistle-blower lawsuit alleging it violated antikickback laws by paying inflated salaries and bonuses to doctors so that they would bring in more patients and revenues.
The suit was filed in July 2011 by Barbara Schubert, who was director of operations for the doctors' practice at All Children's for more than a decade. She claimed the hospital overpaid doctors by about $5 million in 2010 alone, violating laws regulating the financial relationships between hospitals and the physicians who bring in patients....
04/15/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Elihu Brayboy remembers when baseball great Willie Mays could be spotted around the city's traditional African-American neighborhoods.
Back then, 22nd Street S — known as the Deuces to those who frequented it — was the community's fulcrum. It was where Brayboy's mother worked as a nurse at segregation-era Mercy Hospital and where he and his friends went to enjoy amateur night or movies at the Royal Theater....
04/11/14 Human Interest
Chaya Korf was leading one of her monthly Lunch & Learn classes, offering tips for Passover, when she mentioned a new app created as a guide for the eight-day holiday.
"All of a sudden, the Androids and iPhones were whipped out," she said. "The women downloaded it right there."
Passover Assistant, as the free app is titled, joins others that aim to offer at-your-fingers ease to alleviate the anxieties of preparing for and celebrating one of the best-known Jewish holidays. Links around a picture of matzo — the unleavened bread of the holiday — offer guidance for meal planning, recipes, shopping lists, Passover candle lighting times and more. ...
04/10/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — As he campaigned, Mayor Rick Kriseman spoke of unveiling a final design for the Pier within the first nine months of his administration and completing the landmark by the end of 2015.
The ambitious timeline now seems in doubt, with Kriseman's own Pier-appointed task force foreseeing an opening date in 2017 and city staff offering options that would put a ribbon cutting in 2018....
04/04/14 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — Owners of waterfront property in the Northeast Park neighborhood are learning they might not own the docks in their back yards or the submerged land beneath.
The revelation comes three years after an entity named Traveler's Affiliated Land Trust scooped up an expanse of Smacks Bayou abutting their properties.
For at least two homeowners, the split ownership came to light when they tried to sell their homes. ...
ST. PETERSBURG — As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis eschewed a church palace for a modest apartment. Now head of the world's estimated 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, he is shunning expansive papal apartments for simpler quarters.
So it wasn't surprising that a German cleric's ostentatious $43 million residence and complex would become worldwide news, as did the $2.2 million mansion of Atlanta's archbishop....
ST. PETERSBURG — This fall, Catholic leaders from around the world will gather in Rome to talk about how the church ministers to families, setting the groundwork for potential changes in its teachings and evangelization.
Summoned by Pope Francis, the Vatican gathering is being preceded by a survey that probes Catholics' opinions on hot-button subjects including same-sex unions, adoption by same-sex couples, interfaith marriage, living together before marriage, birth control and divorce....
03/13/14 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — It's an organization that kick-starts political ambitions and has minted City Council members.
In recent times, though, the Council of Neighborhood Associations has become known for controversy, some of it fueled by race.
Lisa Wheeler-Brown, the group's first African-American leader, has vowed to get the St. Petersburg group back on task.
"I see CONA as an organization that can get back to where it used to be and will!" she emailed members after the most recent dustup. "It is not about personalities, it is about what is best for OUR neighborhoods!"...
03/08/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — As Mayor Rick Kriseman ponders the complexities of the Pier quagmire, meeting with those who have been vociferous in their views, creative minds are developing new ideas for the waterfront landmark or dusting off old ones.
Darryl LeClair, who proposed a $570 million stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays, is ready to reprise his pier proposal that debuted in 2011. That was before the city selected the Lens and voters rejected it as a replacement to the inverted pyramid....
03/07/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — A link to the new Skyway Marina District, where sunsets, shopping and dining are promised, announces that a proper website is coming soon.
The placeholder, skywaymarinadistrict.com, features a YouTube rendering of a redeveloped and unrecognizable Skyway Mall — once a thriving shopping center — featuring shops, restaurants, high-rise residences, businesses, fountains and palm trees....
After 123 years downtown, its tranquil courtyard a respite for passers-by and the stained glass-illuminated sanctuary a continuous setting for worship and community gatherings, Christ United Methodist Church refuses to fade away.
That's despite suggestions that the historic church next to City Hall close and merge with another Methodist congregation mere blocks away....
02/25/14 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — Jayla Bonhomme, a night stocker at Walmart, says the paycheck she earns every two weeks doesn't stretch to cover utilities, child care and the $699 rent for her two-bedroom apartment in a troubled, rundown complex.
She has been forced to make her rent in partial payments, said Bonhomme, 32, who lives at Mariners Pointe, 1175 Pinellas Point Drive S, with her husband, Nelson Joseph, and three children, ages 14, 12 and 3....
02/18/14 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — Three flags flutter above the compound where a new pagoda-style temple is nearing completion and a bronze Buddha overlooks the street.
Next to Meadowlawn Middle School, this is where hundreds of worshipers gather from as far away as Miami, Orlando and Sarasota for important Buddhist holidays, retreats and cultural events.
"Part of it is we have the shrine," said Tanya Vu, a longtime member of the Chua Phat Phap Buddhist Temple at 1770 62nd Ave N....
02/14/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — With the contentious Pier issue now on his watch, Mayor Rick Kriseman must find consensus among disparate notions about how to continue a tradition that dates to 1889.
The new mayor also must contend with a formerly mentioned goal "to have the new pier built by the end of 2015" and a slightly diminished budget of approximately $45 million.
Friday city staff presented Kriseman with three proposals for moving the stalled Pier process forward, ideas that he will evaluate immediately, spokesman Ben Kirby said. ...
02/14/14 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — Mariners Pointe Apartments, long the bane of its Pinellas Point neighbors, has been sold.
The new owner, DWSS St. Pete LLC, is planning millions of dollars in renovations to the rundown, crime-plagued property at 1175 Pinellas Point Drive S.
"We are completely rebranding Mariners Pointe," said Richard Willingham, one of the principals and owner of Atlanta Capital Advisors, an investment group based in Georgia. ...