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William R. Levesque, Times Staff Writer

William R. Levesque

William R. Levesque began working at the Tampa Bay Times in 1994 and has more than 28 years of experience as a reporter. He's written about Florida agriculture, the military, the Department of Veterans Affairs, county government, police news, criminal and civil courts and business affairs. In the 1990s, his investigative reports about a DuPont pesticide that damaged crops around the world and caused billions of dollars in damages garnered numerous Florida and national journalism awards.

His 2013 investigative report, The Atomic Sailors, about a Navy ship that dumped tons of radioactive waste into the Atlantic Ocean during the Cold War and sickened some of its men, won first place in the non-deadline category of the Society of Professional Journalists Sunshine State Awards. (See

Levesque also was the lead reporter in the Times coverage of the Terri Schiavo case and the criminal trial of the Rev. Henry Lyons.

Phone: (813) 226-3432


Twitter: @Times_Levesque

  1. German consul general boasts of his nation's renewable energy policy


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Germans call their nation's energy policy Energiewende. But the literal translation of the word — energy transition — belies the green revolution behind those few syllables.

    For Germany, the word is synonymous with a gradual, but nonetheless radical, shift away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy. Germany is today one of the world's leading producers of green energy, with 27 percent of its power needs generated by solar, wind and hydroelectric power, among other sources....

  2. Rep. Jeff Miller, eyeing Senate run, wants more progress on VA issues


    SEMINOLE — Whenever U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller attends a public event, veterans and Department of Veterans Affairs employees find him for short, intense conversations about one VA issue after another. It happened after his Memorial Day speech at the Bay Pines Veterans Cemetery, where a short line of people waited to get a minute with the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs committee....

  3. Cable company Charter buying Time Warner Cable for $55.3B


    The telecommunications industry's merger fever reached into thousands of Tampa Bay homes Tuesday as Charter Communications announced a merger with Bright House Networks that would transform the local market for television and Internet services.

    Charter would become one of the largest TV and Internet companies in the nation with the $10.4 billion merger with Bright House and a $55.3 billion merger also announced Tuesday with Time Warner Cable....

    Charter Communications is planning to merge with Time Warner Cable for about $55 billion — and that includes Bright House Networks, which serves the Tampa Bay area. 
  4. A year after VA scandal, House veterans committee chairman wants more progress


    SEMINOLE — Whenever U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller attends a public event, veterans and Department of Veterans Affairs employees find him for short, intense conversations about one VA issue after another.

    It happened after his Memorial Day speech at the Bay Pines Veterans Cemetery, where a short line of people waited to get a minute with the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs committee.

    This is life for one of the VA's biggest Capitol Hill critics, who told the Tampa Bay Times on Monday he remains frustrated by the slow pace of reform at an agency hit in the past year by the worst scandal in its history....

    Miller, the House Veterans Affairs Committee chairman, is 
a prominent 
VA critic.
  5. Florida lawsuit seeks lost pay for Butler & Hosch employees


    TAMPA — A federal lawsuit seeking class-action status that has been filed against the law firm Butler & Hosch says hundreds of its workers laid off earlier this month, including up to 100 in Tampa, are owed three weeks' salary and were dismissed without the 60-day notice required by law.

    The U.S. District Court lawsuit was filed Thursday in Fort Lauderdale by two South Florida employees of the firm, which was one of the largest banking foreclosure firms in Florida and the nation. It operated an office on Eisenhower Boulevard in Tampa....

  6. Florida's unemployment rate falls to 5.6 percent


    As with most employment numbers, economists say, the devil's often in the details.

    Florida's unemployment rate fell slightly in April to 5.6 percent as the state added 24,500 jobs, numbers hailed by Gov. Rick Scott on Friday as further proof that the state jobs market is robust and continues to expand.

    The jobless rate was at 5.7 percent in March and stood at 6.4 percent in April 2014....

    “By working every day to keep cutting taxes and create an environment where job creators can succeed, we are keeping Florida on track to becoming the global destination for jobs,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Friday.
  7. Butler & Hosch law firm shutters business, including Tampa office


    TAMPA — Butler & Hosch, a national mortgage banking law firm, has closed its Tampa office and dismissed employees as it shuttered its business nationally.

    Company officials did not return calls for comment. An office in Orlando that employed 30 lawyers and 100 additional staffers also closed, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel.

    Bob Hosch, the firm's chief executive officer and senior partner, told employees in a May 14 email that he was stepping down and said the company's strategy of expanding through the acquisition of competitors may have overwhelmed the firm's finances....

    CEO Bob Hosch’s email says he holds out hope for more cash. 
  8. At Special Ops conference in Tampa, all kinds of guns, drones and more


    TAMPA — Warriors have been looking for a technological edge since ancient times, when someone came up with the bright idea of attaching a sharpened rock to the end of a long stick.

    Henry V's archers used the longbow to mow down a larger French army at Agincourt in 1415.

    Warriors are still looking for the more-lethal mousetrap.

    The Special Operations Forces Industry Conference opened Tuesday at the Tampa Convention Center as more than 300 companies displayed the latest weapons and technology available to the U.S. military. More than 10,000 people from industry, the military and the greater defense community are expected to attend the three-day event....

    Arne Skjaerpe, general manager of Prox Dynamics, holds the world’s smallest reconnaissance drone. They’re already in use by the Australian military.
  9. Florida nail salon industry has troubles, but not like New York

    Working Life

    TAMPA — Kim Nguyen read a recent New York Times investigation about wage theft and human trafficking in New York's nail salon industry and stifled a groan.

    This is not the kind of publicity anyone wants for their profession on the eve of a big investment in its future.

    Nguyen and business partners are about to make a very expensive bet that the cosmetology industry in Tampa Bay is going to thrive. With construction and startup costs of more than $1 million, Nguyen is overseeing the opening of a 4,200-square-foot salon in downtown Tampa's Park Tower by mid June....

    Florida’s 16 investigators who conduct an unannounced inspection of every licensed cosmetology salon at least once every two years issued 81 citations to nail specialists in 2014.
  10. 'Shark Tank' deal for Tampa cadaver firm dead days after episode airs (w/video)


    TAMPA — Seeing the sharks take the bait on ABC's hit show Shark Tank doesn't necessarily mean they're going to finish the meal.

    The chief of SynDaver Labs, a growing Tampa firm that makes "synthetic humans" for trauma and surgical training, among other uses, appeared to win a commitment for a $3 million investment from one of the show's celebrity investors, tech mogul Robert Herjavec, in an episode that aired Friday....

    SynDaver chief Christopher Sakezles is shown with some of his synthetic cadavers on Wednesday at his lab in Tampa.
  11. DeVry U closing two Tampa locations


    TAMPA — DeVry University, a for-profit college facing declining enrollment nationally, is closing its two Tampa locations by the end of the year as part of a company-wide consolidation as it focuses on its most lucrative markets.

    A DeVry spokesperson confirmed Friday the for-profit college would close its Tampa Bay Campus at 5540 W Executive Drive, in the West Shore business district, and its Tampa East Center at 6700 Lakeview Center Drive near the intersection of Interstate 4 and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard....

  12. Union: Haley VA nurse shortage endangers patients and staff


    TAMPA — Nurses at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center are overworked and overloaded because of a critical staffing shortage that is endangering veterans and staff, according to a grievance by a nursing union.

    The union, National Nurses United, filed the grievance against the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital this week. It says Haley needs to hire at least 100 registered nurses, in addition to an unspecified number of support staff, to meet minimum staffing levels mandated by the agency's own rules....

  13. Aviation experts explain why Capitol gyrocopter wasn't shot down (w/video)

    Bizarre News

    Why didn't the government shoot down Doug Hughes in his gyrocopter as he approached the nation's Capitol Wednesday?

    Even assuming the government was aware of his incursion of Washington airspace — and that is not yet clear — aviation security experts say it's unlikely security officials would order the downing of such a small aircraft.

    You don't swat a fly with a hammer....

    A bomb squad technician walks past the gyrocopter that Doug Hughes of Ruskin landed on the lawn in front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, April 14, 2015. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  14. Drivers and bicyclists seeking alliance on Tampa's Platt Street

    Local Government

    TAMPA — It was one of cyclist Kris Milster's first trips in the new bike lane on Platt Street Tuesday afternoon and he was already dancing an unsteady tango with a Camaro.

    The car tooled along the bike lane in front of Milster. "Dude, what are you doing?" he thought.

    The Camaro's driver was doing what driver's in Florida do better than those just about anywhere else — endangering bicyclists....

    The City of Tampa government has improved the bike lane with better visual graphics for bike safety on Platt Street in Tampa on Monday, April 13, 2015. The bike lane will be the cities first green protected bike lane which cost the 1.5 million dollars according to the City of Tampa website. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  15. Casting call for 'The Infiltrator' bring 1980s back to Tampa

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Pastels. Leg warmers. Big earrings. Loud silk shirts. Jelly sandals.

    Few of the people who showed up at the Tampa Convention Center for the casting call Saturday of Bryan Cranston's movie, The Infiltrator, wanted to admit that they still keep any of this clothing in their closet.

    The movie is set in the 1980s, so the casting agency encouraged folks who wanted to be extras or stand-ins for featured actors to show up in period garb. Part of the movie will be filmed in Tampa Bay later this month....

    Diane Kruger and Bryan Cranston star in The Infiltrator, the story of Robert Mazur, a Tampa resident and former undercover federal agent who infiltrated Pablo Escobar's drug money laundering empire.