Mark Puente - Local accountability reporter

Local accountability reporter

Mark Puente, an award-winning investigative journalist, is a local accountability reporter. He will knock on any door to chase facts and stories. He exposed widespread abuses at Pinellas and Hillsborough agencies in 2017 and 2018. This is his third stint at the Times. He left in 2019 to cover the LAPD for the Los Angeles Times and led coverage of the Conception boat fire that killed 34 divers. He previously worked at the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer and The Baltimore Sun. Prior to becoming a journalist, he spent 15 years driving a tractor trailer. His real passion is tacos, smoking meat and honing his BBQ skills on smokers called Precious and Pedro. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

  1. Police say Terrence Hoover, right, broke into a $4 million Vinoy Place condo on Jan. 17. The penthouse is owned by Scott Swift, left, the father of supererstar Taylor Swift.
  2. FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2019, file photo Southwest pilots prepare for a flight at Tampa International Airport in Tampa, Fla.  (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)
  3. Ahmad Weston, left, and Charleston Long are awaiting trial in federal court. They are accused of running a drug ring out of their mother's apartment in a downtown St. Pete senior complex.
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  5. Pinellas Park SWAT officers leave a shooting in 2019. A state law now gives authority to sheriffs and police chief to train SWAT medics to carry firearms in high-risk situations. Police agencies across the bay area are training SWAT medics to carry the weapons. The law does not allow them to carry firearms for routine calls. [ALLIE GOULDING   |   Times]
  6. The Pinellas County Emergency Operations Center on Ulmerton Road is home to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, the Emergency Operations Center, Emergency Medical Services and the 911 dispatch center. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
  7. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
 Angela Rouson and her husband, Senator Darryl Rouson, both of St. Petersburg,  stand for the National Anthem, Tuesday, 11/22/16 in the Florida Senate before Rouson was sworn in.
  8. An exterior view of Career Source Pinellas office on 8th Avenue S in St. Petersburg. (DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  9. David Downing, the CEO and director of Visit St. Pete-Clearwater, attended his last Pinellas County Tourism Development ahead of his resignation for the tourism agency on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (SARA DINATALE | TIMES
  10. David Downing, the CEO and director of Visit St. Pete-Clearwater, attended his last Pinellas County Tourism Development ahead of his resignation for the tourism agency on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (SARA DINATALE | TIMES
  11. Glenn Wardell, center,  was picked last year to be the director of the Pinellas County Contractor Licensing Department. The agency was formerly called the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board. The Florida Legislature stripped its independence after the Tampa Bay Times investigation exposed wrongdoings.
  12. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times Board chair Brian Aungst, Jr., left, and Dr. Marcie A. Biddleman, right, chief executive officer for the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County. They concede that spending for a reading program run by Donna Welch had lax oversight.
  13. David Downing (left), poses with Tampa Bay RNC Host Committee CEO Ken Jones (right), and Karen Seel (center) at a Thank You Tampa Bay event sponsored by the 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee. (John Pendygraft | Times
  14. Mark Puente and Zachary T. Sampson have reported for more than 11 months on questionable financial practices at CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  15. WFLA-Ch. 8 investigative reporter Mark Douglas, 65, is retiring after four decades in the business. He’s a licensed pilot, avid sailor and one of the region’s last true muckrakers. [Courtesy of WFLA-ch.8]
  16. Dec. 20, 2018• Investigations
    DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times   
The CareerSource Tampa office, at 4902 Eisenhower Blvd Suite 250, Tampa, is open on Wednesday (12/6/17).
  17. Berkeley Preparatory School students enter the Science Center at CareerSource Pinellas in St. Petersburg during a field trip this year. The board of directors want to sell the building. The former CareerSource leader purchased the Science Center in 2014 without permission from the board of directors. (DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times)
  18. Pinellas Juvenile Welfare Board chair Brian Aungst, Jr. (left) and chief executive and Dr. Marcie A. Biddleman (right) attends Thursday's board meeting in Clearwater. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  19. A Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy loads a suspect into transport van after the man was arrested this year for unlicensed contracting.  The Construction Licensing Department ended its plan on Wednesday to seek help from federal immigration officials to check the immigration status of people on job sites. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  20. The Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County discusses future of a reading program that was once operated by Donna Welch, the wife of Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, a Democrat. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  21. Tampa City Hall shown in March 2018. [CHARLIE FRAGO I Times]
  22. Pinellas County Commission Chairman Kenneth Welch attends a meeting to discuss the compensation package proposal for Barry Burton, the new county adminstrator. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  23. Jennifer Brackney