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Gaming suspect found with cash, bolita tickets

Published Nov. 11, 2001|Updated Sep. 10, 2005

Nov. 5, 1951

The first suspected gambler in Pinellas County to run afoul of the new federal law requiring bet takers to register was arrested Saturday afternoon and charged with possession of lottery tickets.

Nick Sagonias, 56, of Tarpon Springs, long reputed to be the Tampa syndicate's representative to the Sponge City, was stopped on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard by state beverage agents.

It was a lucky case of mistaken identity, according to Deputy Sheriff J.F. Peacock, who was called in by the agents to make the arrest. However, there was no error about the $2,110.70 in currency and the numerous bolita tickets in paper and cloth bags on the floor and back seat of Sagonias's large Cadillac.

According to Peacock, the state beverage agents started following Sagonias from Tampa across the Courtney Campbell Parkway. They thought he was another person with a load of illegal whisky they were trying to stop. When they found the tickets and the money, they called the sheriff.

Under a new federal law, all gamblers are required to register with the Bureau of Internal Revenue and take out a special $50 stamp. Sagonias had no such stamp.

Peacock said he had asked Sagonias if he had registered, to which he was said to have merely shrugged and smiled.

EDITOR'S NOTE: In 1956, the Florida Supreme Court reversed Sagonias' state conviction on an illegal gambling charge. Justices ruled that state beverage agents lacked probable cause to stop his car and search it for contraband liquor, and that their improper search extended to the cash and bolita tickets. They ordered authorities to return the money seized from Sagonias.

Oct. 17, 1948 Flurry of building eases outlook

CLEARWATER _ With building reaching its highest peak in 23 years, this city is once again beginning to prepare for the annual influx of winter visitors, and for the first time since 1940, there will be enough accommodations to take care of most of the visitors, according to Paul Ficht, secretary of the Chamber of Commerce.

Like most Florida resorts caught through the war years with severe building restrictions, Clearwater found itself at the war's end with not enough rooms to go around.

Now in this third post-war winter, there will be a slight easing of the situation, thanks in part to a new $1.5-million apartment project on Clearwater Beach due for completion this month or next.

Nov. 9, 1951 Commission to investigate vandalism

CLEARWATER _ An investigation into charges of vandalism at the Youth Maritime Center at Clearwater Beach was ordered by the City Commission last night when the center made a request for $75 to cover incidental expenses.

Reports of broken light bulbs, door locks and general untidiness at the center were aired by Mayor Herbert Brown who wanted to know what organization was responsible for the building.

City Manager Francis Middleton said that members of the pram fleet, the sea scouts and the explorer scouts use the building, but that teenage delinquents also contributed to the damage.

The commission granted the $75 expense, but asked that Middleton check into the source of the damage.

Oct. 23, 1974 Safety Harbor threatens water lawsuit

SAFETY HARBOR _ The city of Safety Harbor may go to court to challenge the new water rates being charged by Pinellas County.

That possibility was advanced at Monday night's commission meeting by City Manager Stan Garey, who said the new rate is putting a "pretty hefty dent in our pocketbook."

According to a water rate consultant hired by Safety Harbor and four other cities that buy county water, the new rate should be about 20 cents per 1,000 gallons and not 45 cents as is now being charged by the county.

The county water department requested the new rate to help pay for extending water lines from county fields in Pasco County.

_ Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Julie Church compiles the history column. She can be reached at (727) 445-4229 or

Headlines through the years

A look back at the events, people and places that made North Pinellas the unique place that it is. The information is compiled from past editions of the St. Petersburg Times.


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