1. Florida Politics

Rick Kriseman announces several hires; chief of staff has past arrest

Kevin King, Rick Kriseman's longtime legislative aide and trusted confidant, will serve as the mayor's chief of staff. King, 34, was arrested in 2001 after police said he sent an email to a teenage girl seeking sex with her.
Published Dec. 20, 2013

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman didn't look far when he added four more key appointments to his staff Thursday.

He reached back to his time in the Florida House in picking Kevin King to be his chief of staff and David Flintom to direct the mayor's action center. Both are former legislative aides.

Benjamin Kirby will be his communications director, and Jessica Eilerman will be Kriseman's small-business liaison.

King, 34, has worked closely with Kriseman for more than a decade: six years while Kriseman was on the City Council and another six when Kriseman was in the Florida House. During that time, King has been dogged by questions about his 2001 arrest stemming from accusations he propositioned a teenage girl to have sex.

The case has since been expunged from court files and its outcome could not be determined.

Based on the Times' account of his arrest then, King was 22 and working as a substitute teacher for Pinellas County Schools.

Investigators accused him of sending messages to two female students, ages 14 and 15, trying to get them to skip school and drink beer with him. Police said King also asked the 14-year-old to perform a sex act on him.

The 14-year-old's mother found a sexual proposition in the girl's email and went to police, a report said. Neither girl actually went with King.

He was charged with three felonies: one count of computer solicitation to commit a lewd and lascivious act, and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was released from the Pinellas County Jail after posting $5,500 bail. The school district fired him a day later.

On Thursday, King declined to speak about the allegations or provide copies of records, but said multiple times he was not convicted.

"It was resolved favorably," said King, who is married and has a young son. "The judge decided to seal the case. I never let it define my life."

He added: "I don't think this should be any concern. I've worked for taxpayers for many years."

Kriseman, a defense lawyer, said King could not have had the case expunged if he was convicted of any crime. He said he is comfortable with King and never asked to see any records that King might have about the case.

He stressed that taxpayers should not be concerned.

"I am very excited about the quality of the people I have," he said. "I am very comfortable with Kevin."

In a statement he released about the four appointments, Kriseman said of King: "Kevin is the natural choice to lead my office, ensure cohesion and help turn my vision into action and then reality. I've seen him in action for more than a decade and trust that he'll be the effective chief of staff that a strong-mayor form of government deserves."

Kriseman takes office Jan. 2. Mayor Bill Foster did not have a chief of staff position.

King first started working for Kriseman in 2003 when he was running for re-election to the City Council. From 2006 to 2012, he served as Kriseman's senior legislative assistant in the Florida House, overseeing policy agenda and communications strategy.

In 2005, King managed Darden Rice's unsuccessful bid for a City Council seat. He also directed the Florida Democratic Party's House Victory operation in 2008.

More recently, King, a 2002 graduate of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, advised Kriseman during the mayoral race while working as a consultant to a statewide nonprofit.

During the primary campaign, mayoral candidate Kathleen Ford questioned Kriseman's integrity for having King as a confidant.

The issue also surfaced in 2009.

King filed a police report in August 2009 after he and Kriseman received an anonymous postcard calling him a "child predator."

The mailing said he "had been arrested and convicted of a criminal charge years ago," a police report said.

The postcard detailed how "he was arrested, convicted and fired for some criminal charge involving a child," an officer wrote in the report.

King told the officer he was arrested in 2001 on a misdemeanor charge, but did not provide details of the arrest, noting that his record had been expunged, the report said. He also said he believed it was sent by a political enemy, similar to one he received three years earlier. He did not report that one.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Mark Puente can be reached at or (727) 893-8459. Follow @markpuente on Twitter.


  1. Transgender student Drew Adams speaks with reporters outside of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Adam's fight over school restrooms came before a federal appeals court Thursday, setting the stage for a groundbreaking ruling. Adams, who has since graduated from Nease High in Ponte Vedra, Fla., won a lower court ruling last year ordering the St. Johns County school district to allow him to use the boys' restroom. The district has since appealed. RON HARRIS  |  AP
    The closely watched case of Drew Adams, once a high school student in Florida, is heard by a three-judge panel in Atlanta.
  2. An example of the type of white railway markings the Florida Department of Transportation plans on installing on the either side of more than 4,000 railway crossings in the state. Florida Department of Transportation
    The department will paint new markings on more than 4,000 railway crossings in the state.
  3. Michele Arceneaux, former president of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, speaks during a press conference against three proposed toll roads in the Florida Capitol on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. LAWRENCE MOWER  |  Lawrence Mower
    The announcement came as the Florida Chamber of Commerce touted the proposed roads.
  4. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
Members of the Florida Supreme Court listen to a speech by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Tuesday, March 5, 2019 in the Florida House during a joint session of the Florida Legislature. Left to Right are: Chief Justice Charles T. Canady, Ricky Polston, Jorge Labarga, Alan Lawson, Barbara Lagoa, and Robert J. Luck.  SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Fights over abortion, Amendment 4 and new congressional maps are all on a crash course with the high court.
  5. The Florida House Education Committee focuses on early education in its first meeting of the 2020 session. It has met just once more since then. The Florida Channel
    Lawmakers have yet to set an aggressive agenda beyond talk of teacher pay as the 2020 legislative session nears.
  6. Kevin J. Thibault, left, Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation. OCTAVIO JONES   |   TIMES  |  Times
    The report found a lack of oversight and controls by the department.
  7. Agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried speaks at pre-legislative news conference on Tuesday Oct. 29, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants his state to set up a system that will require employers to verify the immigration status of job applicants. But it's unclear if that effort will get any traction among lawmakers, especially since a similar effort failed during the most recent legislative session earlier this year. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) STEVE CANNON  |  AP
    It was the second unusual decision Fried has made to refrain from voting on the Office of Financial Regulation.
  8. George Buck, left, a Republican running for Congress in St. Petersburg, signed a fundraising letter that suggested U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, right, a Somali-born Democrat representing Minnesota, and other Democrats should be executed. Buck is challenging U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg. Times | Associated Press
    House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy removed Buck from the party’s Young Guns program.
  9. FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2018 file photo, people gather around the Ben & Jerry's "Yes on 4" truck as they learn about Amendment 4 and eat free ice cream at Charles Hadley Park in Miami. A federal judge has temporarily set aside a Florida law that barred some felons from voting because of their inability to pay fines and other legal debts. The ruling handed down Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle means thousands of felons who were denied the right to vote will be able to cast ballots unless the state gets a higher court to intervene or if Hinkle later upholds the constitutionality of the state law. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File) WILFREDO LEE  |  AP
    The 2018 ballot measure passed by voters allowing most non-violent felons to register to vote would be void if an earlier judicial ruling is upheld, an attorney representing DeSantis’ administration...
  10. In this Aug. 28, 2014, photo, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko makes a statement, at Boryspil airport in Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Mikhail Palinchak)
    Taking a closer look at what the story does — and doesn’t — show about Ukraine’s involvement in 2016.