Sunday, September 23, 2018


Susan Taylor Martin

Susan Taylor Martin

For someone who doesn't particularly care to fly, Tampa Bay Times senior correspondent Susan Taylor Martin has logged a lot of hours in the air — in the past decade she has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and China. She covered the invasion of Iraq, the war in Kosovo and the war against terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan. On 9/11, she and two other Times staffers got in Martin's aging car and drove 24 hours nonstop from Tampa Bay to New York City, her hometown. Among the other breaking stories Susan has covered were the death and funeral of Princess Diana, the funeral of Jordan's King Hussein and the handover of Hong Kong to China. There have been lighter moments, too. Martin has written about a restaurant in Jerusalem dedicated to Elvis Presley's memory; a Scottish hamlet that finally got TV and hated it; and the gay and transvestite scene in Turkey, a conservative Muslim country. Her hobbies include figure skating, antiquing, flea-marketing, and rooting for the Blue Devils basketball team of Duke University (her alma mater). Martin has won numerous state and national journalism awards, including the 2007 Paul Hansell Award presented by the Florida Society of News Editors for distinguished writing and reporting.

Dana and Larry Cremo, who live in St. Petersburg's Historic Old Northeast, say they are surprised the city and one complainant are making such an issue over their driveay. They say they didn't need a variance because the driveway is totally on their property and does not cut across a city sidewalk, part of which is visible behind them. 

They spent $15,000 adding a driveway to their St. Pete House. Now the city says they can’t park on it

ST. PETERSBURG — One day in January, Dana Cremo was on her front porch hanging a vintage screen door when two city employees walked up. "You can’t park on your driveway," they said. "Why?" she asked. "Because somebody filed a complaint,"...
Published: 09/21/18
This home on Clearwater Beach that once belonged to former U.S. Rep. Courtney Campell --the Clearwater-to-Tampa causeway was named after him -- sold in August for $3-million, making it Tampa Bay's priciest sale of the month. 
[Courtesy of Pinnacle Group]

Homes sales jump in Pinellas and Hillsborough in August after months of declines

Home sales in August hit their highest levels in a year in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties as prices throughout the Tampa Bay area continued to rise. In Pinellas, sales of single-family homes jumped nearly 7 percent from the same month a...
Published: 09/20/18
Home refinancings up dramatically in the Tampa Bay area

Home refinancings up dramatically in the Tampa Bay area

Counter to the national trend, refinancings in the Tampa Bay area increased in the second quarter of this year. According to ATTOM Data Solutions, lenders originated 41 percent more refinancing loans in April, May and June than they did in the...
Published: 09/19/18
Samuel Buck stands in front of the villa in Seminole  that he lost out on even though he submitted an offer that was higher than the one accepted.
[JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]

‘Something fishy’ about sale of a golf-course villa in Seminole

SEMINOLE — There were so many unusual aspects to the sale of a certain Seminole villa that it’s hard to know where to begin. Is it with the fact the villa sold for $100,000 despite a cash offer of $128,700? Is it that the buyer was a...
Published: 09/19/18
Suspended attorney Mark Stopa is shown leaving his St. Petersburg office last month after agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement raided his office. 
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

‘Imminent’ bankruptcy filing for law firm of suspended St . Pete lawyer Mark Stopa

The law firm of suspended St. Petersburg attorney Mark Stopa is in such chaos that much of its staff has quit — some after suffering stress-related breakdowns — and a liquidation bankruptcy filing is imminent.In an emergency motion filed this...
Published: 09/19/18
Mindy Grossman, former head of HSN and now CEO of Weight Watchers, has listed her Beach Drive condo in downtown St. Petersburg for $3.95 million. [Courtesy of Joe Sale]

St. Pete condo of Weight Watchers’ Mindy Grossman hits market at nearly $4-million

ST. PETERSBURG — Mindy Grossman, the former HSN chief who now heads Weight Watchers International, has put her Beach Drive condo on the market at the hefty price of $3.95 million.The three-bedroom, three-and 1/2 bath unit on the 24th floor of...
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/18/18
Photos courtesy of YourDigitalPro 
This mansion on 5 acres in the Jungle Shores area overlooking Boca Ciega Bay was once listed at $9.9 million.

This $4.25 million bank-owned estate is the biggest waterfront property for sale in Tampa Bay

ST, PETERSBURG — For years it was Tampa Bay’s classiest party house, a spectacular waterfront estate that hosted many an event for charity. Now, it is the bay area’s priciest foreclosure for sale. U.S. Bank recently took back the mansion...
Published: 09/14/18
New York, New Jersey and Florida remain the top three states for the risk of mortgage fraud as fraud on mortgage applications ticks up nationally, according to CoreLogic. Among the top 25 metro areas, the Tampa Bay area ranked eighth in the risk of application fraud. (iStock photo)

Florida, Tampa Bay rank high in risk of mortgage fraud

New York, New Jersey and Florida remain the top three states for the risk of mortgage fraud as fraud on mortgage applications ticks up nationally.One in 109 applications contained fraud in the second quarter of this year compared to one in 122...
Published: 09/13/18
The St. James Townhomes are planned for 758 3rd Ave. S in St. Petersburg. [Clear ph Design]

Townhomes are planned in St. Petersburg for the site of 1905 Victorian house

ST. PETERSBURG — Eight townhomes are planned for the site of a 1905 house thought to have been connected to early African-American leader Elder Jordan.A project of J2 Developers, the St. James Townhomes at 758 Third Ave. S each will have three...
Published: 09/13/18
New residential loans plunge in the Tampa Bay area

New residential loans plunge in the Tampa Bay area

Rising mortgage rates contributed to a sharp decline in residential loans originated in the Tampa Bay area in the second quarter of this year. According to the real estate database ATTOM Data Solutions, loans secured by residential property dropped 15...
Published: 09/12/18