Jade Isaacs - 5/10 - SaintPetersBlog

Jade Isaacs

Northeast High football player blames doctors after losing leg in on-field injury

Leshawn Williams (photo via Samantha Verdisco | Robinson High)

A high school football player claims negligent hospital staff is the reason doctors were forced to amputate his leg after an on-field injury in 2014.

The player, 20-year-old Leshawn Williams and his mother, Bonita Copeland, 47, are suing John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, along with seven doctors, a physician assistant, the Children’s Orthopedic and Scoliosis Surgery Associates, and Allegiant MD of Florida.

The parties face a combined total of 48 counts.

The suit claims Williams did not receive adequate, timely medical treatment at the two hospitals he was taken to.

Williams was a 17-year-old senior at the time of his injury. He played for the Northeast High School Vikings on the defensive line.

On Oct. 24, 2014, Northeast High School faced Clearwater High in Clearwater. During the first half, Williams overextended his right knee. After feeling a pop, he fell to the ground in pain.

At around 9 p.m., emergency services were called to Clearwater. They transported Williams and his mother to All Children’s Hospital. On the trip, personnel noted a pulse in Williams’ right foot.

At 10 p.m. he arrived at the hospital and was in stable condition.

Dr. Ernest Rehnke operated twice on Leshawn Williams

The first doctor didn’t see Williams until nearly 30 minutes later. The doctor ordered an X-ray and pain medication. It wasn’t until 11:50 p.m. that an orthopedic consult was ordered.

The initial doctor’s shift had ended; he left the hospital without completing necessary procedures to ensure Williams’ proper care.

Williams laid in the hospital bed until around 2:30 a.m., when a physician assistant came in response to the orthopedic consult ordered earlier that night. The new emergency room physician examined the back of his knee. However, a neurovascular assessment hadn’t yet been completed.

Just after 4 a.m., the supervising orthopedist decided to transport Williams across the street to Bayfront. Around 5 a.m. — seven hours after his arrival – Williams was transported via tunnel to the neighboring hospital.

By 8 a.m., Williams was in surgery. It did not go well.

Williams was unable to move his toes. Despite this, no steps were taken at that time to examine his leg further.

An hour later, doctors ordered a CT; medical staff failed to perform the scan until four hours after that.

To save his leg, Williams was returned to surgery at 7:30 p.m. After the completing the procedure, the surgeon did not re-evaluate Williams’ leg, even though nurses reported the absence of a pulse.

Two days after the accident, doctors determined his leg couldn’t be saved; amputation was the only option.

After $25K, disassembled vintage Disney golf cart now held hostage

After receiving $25,000 to fix a vintage Disney golf cart, the repair shop is holding the now disassembled the vehicle hostage.

Now the repair shop and its owner along with the company that facilitated the transaction and its owner are being sued on seven counts.

Anthony “Tony” Colangelo is listed as CEO and managing member of Villages Golf Cart Man, which repairs and creates custom golf carts. Villages hired Competition 101 Racing to repair and restore a golf cart for a customer.

The companies decided on a price of $25,000 for all repairs including a ‘Custom Designed Rust-Resistant Powdercoated Frame.”

It was agreed that three payments would be made, two for $8,400 and one for $8,200.

The time frame given was six weeks. This was because the golf carts owner planned to enter it into the Halloween parade at Disney World.

The owner of Competition 101 Racing, Stuart Lycett, allegedly mislead Villages Golf Cart Man by giving off the impression that he operated a licensed repair shop. He made it appear he would be handling the restoration, when, in reality, Lectric Limos would be doing the work.

According to sunbiz.org, Lectric Limos – which has been administratively dissolved – had listed Dennis Paul Abbey of Tampa as its president.

In February 2016, the golf cart was delivered; records show either Lectric Limos or Competition took the cart to the location it presently resides.

On Feb. 19, the first payment was made. The second payment was sent on March 25, after an invoice was sent at the beginning of the month. A final invoice was sent the Village Golf Cart Man for a payment of $8,400 plus a $2,500 adjustment charge.

Village Golf Cart Man was never informed of any additional fees, nor did he agree to them. Although no reasoning was given as to why the last charge was $8,400 rather than $8,200, it was found that the $2,500 was charged for powder-coating. Because the powder-coating was already charged in the original agreement, Village Golf Cart Man refused to pay the extra $2,500.

Shortly after, the suit claims the shop disassembled the cart without reason.

On June 1, the final agreed payment of $8,200 was made.

By Aug. 1, Villages Golf Cart Man had sent a letter to the companies demanding either the repair work be completed, or the cart be returned for a refund.

However, three days later, the companies responded by demanding an additional payment of $3,500.

Villages Golf Cart Man obtained a certificate for the release if the cart from the Pinellas County Clerk of Court. When presented with the certificate, the companies still refused to return the cart, according to the suit. The company verbally demanded a storage fee of $8,955.

The Pinellas Park Police Department was called to help Villages Golf Cart Man retain its property. However, they declined to assist due to the cart being in pieces. They could not tell which parts belonged to the cart and which belonged to other projects.

As of Nov. 17, the date of filing, the cart had yet to be returned.

The golf cart is a collectors’ item. It was used at Walt Disney World for the attraction Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

Villages Golf Cart Man is a vehicle dealer that specializes in custom and specialized golf carts.


Hillsborough Sheriff petitions for cash seized in raid of major meth dealer

Nesbit Andrew Willhite

Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee is petitioning for the nearly $45,000 found during a raid that led to the arrest of a local drug dealer to be kept by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

In the Application for Ex-Parte Order Finding Probable Cause for the Seizure of Property, Gee asks the court to find probable cause that the money was used in violation of the Florida Contraband Act.

In Florida, the application must be filed within 10 days of the seizure, and it must explain the probable cause for the property being seized.

Gee claims the money has become contraband as it is linked to illegal narcotics activity. The money can reportedly be related to trafficking amphetamines and controlled substances, possession of opiates and marijuana with the intent to sell, and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.

On March 5, 2016, an HCSO deputy encountered a citizen informant who provided intelligence on Nesbit Andrew Willhite, 43, a Plant City resident and owner of Appealing Curbs Landscape Services.

Willhite illegally procured pain pills, which he then distributed along with crystal meth, the informant said.

On Oct. 5, 2016, HCSO personnel met again with a confidential informant who told the sheriff’s office he had purchased ounces of crystal meth from a man later identified as Willhite.

Additional intel was gathered by the sheriff’s office throughout October. An address was obtained by HSCO that was reportedly the base of operations. The informant told officers he could purchase from Willhite again.

In early November, a controlled drug purchase was conducted by the informant and Detective Brent Mayes of the HCSO. The informant was electronically monitored. Ten minutes had passed before the informant returned with the drugs. He notified the department that Willhite had a black bag containing pounds of crystal meth. After using a field testing kit, it confirmed the drugs were methamphetamines.

The next day, Nov. 8, sheriffs headed to the Wilhite’s home in anticipation of a court authorized search warrant. However, when they got there, they met Willhite. At that time, a woman ran from the property carrying a black bag containing crystal meth. The woman was identified as Carol Swilley, 20, Willhite’s girlfriend.

As officers began securing the house, Detective Matthew Moyer noticed a silver box in the home with a $100 bill sticking out.

Moyer then saw an assault-style rifle and ammunition.

Officers read Willhite his Miranda Rights, after which he acknowledged his engagement in the sale of the drugs and admitted the money was from the buying and selling of drugs.

Another detective found a large sum of money inside a box in the oven. The box also contained meth and prescription drugs.

A final count of items seized during the raid included: 3.5 pounds of methamphetamines, 2 lbs. of marijuana, 63 grams of morphine, 7 grams of Oxycodone, 63 grams of Opana (an opioid pain medication), two pistols and an AK-47.

South Tampa properties in court over shared entry, parking at new ‘Sprouts’ site

Two neighboring south Tampa properties are battling it out over construction and proposed parking spaces at a shared entryway.

The property in dispute is a four-unit strip mall at 1515 S. Dale Mabry Hwy. in Tampa owned by JLR & CER Properties.

WPG-Estrella, an entity created by Tampa developer Wagner Property Group, owns four properties to the south of the strip mall. It plans to develop a shopping center called “The Plaza at Estrella.”

To the west of the properties is a 15-foot passage used as an access point for all properties. The development of the passage dates to 1953.

A Business Journal article from December 2015 said Wagner was “rumored to be working a deal” with Sprouts Farmers Market, an organic grocery chain, to open a location there.

The Tampa Bay Times reported last month that Sprouts is set to open its first Florida store Feb. 22, 2017, at 15110 N. Dale Mabry Hwy.

JLR says WPG illegally blocked JLR’s access to the easement by allowing the parking of construction trailers, vehicles and equipment. Estrella, reportedly, plans to turn the pathway into parking spaces. The site plan shows palm trees bordering the southern end of the path.

Blocking the path would have adverse effects for the strip mall as many patrons use it to access the property.

JLR & CER Properties seeks a court declaration that Estrella must keep the pathway clear.

As of July, the strip mall is home to Brightway Insurance, Tampa Vapor and Signature Tailor.

Estrella was created by developer Wagner Property Group. When the properties were purchased, the suit says the company knew of the passage. WPG-Estrella spent $5 million on the four properties located on the corner of Estrella Street and Dale Mabry Highway.

Top Florida insurer claims broker sent ‘slanderous’ letters to poach business

Bob Ritchie, founder, president, and CEO of Tampa-based American Integrity Insurance.

Two insurers are going head-to-head in a lawsuit where one claims the other sent slanderous letters to customers in an attempt to take away business.

Tampa-based American Integrity Insurance Company is suing Southern Insurance Group and Tom Johnson, owner of Southern Insurance, in a suit filed Nov. 8, 2016.

Plaintiff Robert “Bob” Ritchie is the CEO and founder of American, which has grown to be one of the largest homeowner insurers in Florida, with more than 200,000 policies outstanding.

Southern Insurance, based in Clermont, was a broker of American Integrity. In July 2016, American Integrity terminated its agreement with Southern Insurance. Court records do not say how many policyholders American Integrity had among Southern Insurance customers, nor why American decided to cease doing business with Southern.

What the suit does say is that Johnson sent letters to former American Integrity policyholders on behalf of his company. They were sent in regards to the termination of the agreement. The letters make defamatory statements about American Integrity. One such claim was that the company’s “losses have far exceeded the company’s ability to stay profitable.” The emails go on to explain that American Integrity had a large rate increase this year and will likely have another next year. The letters offer to start a new policy for the customer with a new company that is an “an Exceptional” carrier.

On June 22, 2016, American Integrity sent Southern Insurance a cease and desist of all defamatory statements. However, the company continued to send out the allegedly defamatory letters to policyholders.

The suit claims that Southern Insurance is still making slanderous statements in regards to American Integrity. American says Johnson’s statements were “false and defamatory,” damaging both American’s reputation and finances.

American Integrity further claims that Southern Insurance misused policyholders’ confidential information.

American Integrity is suing the two parties on five counts and seeks damages for libel and interference of its business relationships. The company is also requesting an injunction that would prohibit Southern Insurance from making any further false statements.

Tampa townhome builder slams contractor for cascade of collapsing walls

Contractor Jose Moreno

A Plant City contractor is on the hook for a faulty wall installation at a construction site in Tampa that resulted in a cascading domino effect, nearly ruining an entire townhome project.

On July 4, 2015, a third-floor masonry wall collapsed at the site of a pair townhomes being developed on a vacant lot at 206 Audubon Ave. in Tampa. The failure, due to improper bracing, caused surrounding walls to cascade, with estimated damage of nearly $100,000.

American Zurich Insurance Company was the insurer of 206 Audubon LLC, the St. Petersburg-based owner of the property. Audubon was incorporated in 2013 by Sand Key Management I LLC, which is managed by Jeffrey Troy “Jeff” Craft, a 42-year-old German native.

American Zurich made payments of nearly $100,000 to 206 Audubon to cover the cost of rebuilding.

Zurich is suing the subcontractor hired to build the wall that collapsed for compensatory damages, interest and costs.

Among the contractors on the project, Jessie’s Construction, owned by Jose Moreno of Plant City, was responsible for properly securing the wall. Jessie’s was subcontracted specifically to build masonry walls.

BayLawsuits reported that Jessie’s Construction dissolved in 2014 after failing to file an annual report. A week before the Audubon site accident, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the contractor $5,800 for four safety violations, three of them designated “serious.” Records show neither Jessie’s Construction or Moreno have an associated contractor’s license.

According to Baylawsuits, Moreno — a Mexico native — was arrested and charged with DUI in February 2016. He previously was arrested for DUI in 2008, and for criminal mischief in 2006.

Masonry walls are typically made of brick and cement, but the suit does not specify the construction materials used.

Clash between Station House, manager gets ugly over termination, theft

When Station House fired Alex Gilmour, it allegedly failed to hold up its end of a contract between the two parties.

Restaurateur Alexander Hutton “Alex” Gilmour IV, 42, is best known for The DrYnk Soho nightclub in Tampa. As the former manager of Station House, Gilmour is now suing the downtown St. Petersburg eatery for breach of contract and civil theft. In the suit, he demands payment for unpaid salary and management fees.

On July 11, 2014, Station House SP LLC entered a Management Agreement with Gilmour.

When the agreement was signed, Gilmour and Ro Patel were listed as co-owners of Hospitality Engineers LLC, which would provide services to Station House.

The terms of the agreement were from July 11, 2014, to July 11, 2016.

In June 2015, Patel left the company, leaving Gilmour to manage the restaurant alone. However, Station House and Gilmour agreed to follow through on the original agreement.

About three months later, Station House ceased paying management fees in September 2015, which were to be paid to Gilmour under the terms of the contract.

When Gilmour notified the company that fees were due, the suit claims no action was taken to repay.

On Dec. 21, 2015, Station House informed Gilmour he would no longer be retained as the restaurant’s general manager. Salary payments were then stopped.

After his termination, Station House held Gilmour’s personal property — a projector and toolbox filled with tools. According to email correspondence between the two parties, the items would be returned in exchange for the return of personal emails and intellectual property of the restaurant.

In March, Gilmour and his attorneys submitted a written demand for the return of assets along with threefold payment — referred in the suit to as treble damages — for the items.

The restaurant responded to the request by offering to return the property but refusing to pay treble damages.

In an email sent Jan. 6, 2016, by Steve “Flip” Gianfilippo, Station House’s developer, says Gilmour was terminated for alcohol consumption issues, failing to disclose information on his business relationship with employees, and creating businesses based on Station House’s brand while under contract with the restaurant. Gilmour’s lawyer calls these claims are defamatory.

Station House is at 260 1st Ave. S in St. Petersburg.

Mobile-home chain wrestles with ex-con tenant over rent payments sent in error

Kenneth Moore Jr.

When Tampa’s Livingston Family Communities came under new ownership at the end of 2015, problems arose for one long term resident of the mobile home park.

Kenneth Moore Jr., 54, originally filed suit January 2016 against the newly formed Livingston Family Communities LLC. Although Moore lost that case, he didn’t give up hope.

Moore filed an appeal on Nov. 14, 2016.

The community was purchased by a newly formed company, Livingston Family Communities. They company paid $1.465 million for the property Nov. 24, 2015. Residents were informed of the change of ownership Dec. 3, 2015, two days after December’s rent was due.

By then, many residents had either already paid rent or set it to be paid to the previous owners.

Moore arranged with his bank to automatically send out rent in the form of a cashier’s check on the fourth of every month.

When Moore received the notice, he informed the company’s representative that he received his disability payments on the third of every month and a cashier’s check was sent out on the fourth of each month. The representative told him not to worry because other tenants are in the same situation. He also informed the representative that he would have to contact his bank to have payment sent to the correct company.

To redirect the payment to the new company, Moore had to contact his bank. The bank had to process the request and the payment wasn’t sent until the following business day, Monday Dec. 7, 2016.

The company signed the check on Dec. 17 and cashed it five days later.

On Dec. 9, Moore received a notice taped to his mailbox demanding rent be paid along with late fees totaling nearly $30. Three days later, Moore received a second notice via mail.

Moore claims his rent was late only because he was given extremely short notice to contact his bank and make appropriate changes to the payment.

On Dec. 30, a notice came in the mail stating Moore would have to pay $345 in full to the company for January rent and new late fee charges. On Jan. 2, another letter was received informing him the company would not accept bank transfers or checks.

Moore made his January rent payment by money order to the park manager.

Moore claims to have lived at the mobile home park for the past 15 years. In those years, he was never late on paying rent.

In fact, Moore couldn’t have continuously lived at the property — he was incarcerated from 2005 to 2006 for a charge of battery on a law enforcement officer. Since 1997, Moore had been arrested for several crimes: DUI (multiple times), leaving the scene of a crash, loitering/prowling, domestic violence, aggravated battery/great bodily harm, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

According to Baylawsuits.com, Moore’s records show he has extensive experience filing legal briefs without the aid of an attorney.

Livingston Family Communities mobile home park is at 15812 Livingston Ave. in Tampa.



Man thrown off Tampa garage blames strip club, police for failing to prevent attack

A new lawsuit is opening old wounds for the victim of a 2013 gentlemen’s club brawl where a man was tossed off a parking garage.

Jordan Archuleta of Edgewood, New Mexico was in Tampa for work when he decided to visit The Penthouse Club, a gentlemen’s club on Westshore Boulevard.

After Archuleta got into an altercation with another patron — purportedly named Raymond Andrew Mondracon — the two were removed from the property. Once outside, the quarrel between them continued.

A bystander witnessed Archuleta get “violently assaulted” and called 911. The caller reported that Archuleta was followed into a neighboring parking garage by his attacker.

Tampa Police responded to the call immediately. A man named in the suit as “Sgt. Graham” arrived and spoke to the bystander before pursuing the suspect that was described to the sergeant as a “young, shirtless, Hispanic male,” according to the suit.

From inside the garage, Graham witnessed a man fitting the description of the attacker ascend a corner stairwell. Graham allegedly asked the man if he was OK, however he received no response. He cleared the call and left the area.

Once the coast was clear, Archuleta was beaten and thrown from an upper level of the garage. He was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital. Archuleta suffered head trauma and fractures in his arm and leg. Surgeries were required to fix the fractures.

In the suit, Archuleta says The Penthouse Club, the garage, the City of Tampa, Police Chief Eric Ward, and Tampa Police Department are all at fault for the attack. The Penthouse Club is owned by defendant Westshore Food & Beverage, whose members are Jada Brueggeman and Deanna Dunbar.

Archuleta claims his attacker Mondracon.

The club reportedly served excessive amounts of alcohol to Mondracon. This consumption of alcohol caused him to become “visibly intoxicated, loud, obnoxious, violent and aggressive toward other business invitees,” the suit says.

The Mondracon was never charged with a crime.

At the time of the attack, Archuleta worked in the moving industry.

Lutz woman dies after falling, son blames Lifeline

Rosemary Blair

Lifeline AutoAlert is a personal-safety device intended to save the lives of elderly folks who have fallen or slipped.

However, one allegedly defective device may have cost a Hillsborough County woman her life.

Rosemary Blair, 83, died Nov. 22, 2014 in her Lutz RV home. Her son, Land O’Lakes resident Steven Blair, found her on the floor about 24 hours after the fall. He immediately rushed her to St. Joseph’s Hospital North on 4211 Van Dyke Road in Lutz, where she died from pneumonia and other complications caused by the fall.

Blair is suing Dutch conglomerate Philips Electronics, Lifeline’s creator, on behalf of his mother.

Blair is claiming he is suffering from the loss of his mother’s support, companionship and protection, and he and the Estate of Rosemary Blair have incurred both medical and funeral expenses.

Philips markets its Lifeline products to the elderly and their families. Although the system is promoted as being able to detect more than 95 percent of falls, Lifeline may not detect gradual slides from a seated position.

According to the suit, Rosemary’s Lifeline Communicator failed to operate. After his mother’s passing, Blair says he tested the device. It failed to either detect any falls or notify Phillips.

Typically, a device is activated by detecting a fall or when the owner pushes its button. At that point, the communicator is supposed to connect the fallen person to Philips’ response center.

A team member contacts the person to assess the situation and determine if they should call family or emergency medical services.

In the suit, filed Nov. 17, 2016, Blair is accusing Philips of three counts: liability, negligence and violation of Florida law.

Blair claims Philips was negligent by misrepresenting the abilities of the communicator, failing to put safeguards in place to determine when a communicator stops working, and by failing to ensure devices can detect serious falls.

At the time the complaint was filed, Rosemary’s estate was opened and pending approval.

“Philips claims to be the No. 1 medical alert service in the United States,” the suit says. “The AutoAlert Help Button detects greater than 95 percent of many types of falls, based on the number of undetected falls reported to Philips Lifeline by U.S. AutoAlert subscribers from January 2012 through July 2012.”

But another page on the Philips website notes: “AutoAlert does not detect 100 percent of falls. If able, users should always push their button when they need help.”

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