Staff Reports - 3/49 - SaintPetersBlog

Staff Reports

Tampa Bay Rowdies finalize 2017 Opening Day roster

The Tampa Bay Rowdies round out their roster by signing three more players ahead of next weekend’s season opener, pending league and federation approval.

Forward Martin Paterson, goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald and defender Kyle Porter have all earned contracts after lengthy trials with the Rowdies. The trio arrived in February to train with Tampa Bay and play in preseason matches.

Paterson, 29, has appeared in four matches as a trialist and scored the Rowdies’ game-winning goal against the University of Tampa March 4. Paterson is a Northern Ireland international that brings Premier League experience to the Rowdies, having played for clubs including Stoke City and Burnley, among others.

Fitzgerald, also 29, arrives in Tampa Bay after spending the previous six seasons with the Carolina RailHawks, now known as North Carolina FC. He appeared in four matches as a trialist, including keeping a clean sheet against the University of Tampa Spartans March 4. In his 229 minutes of preseason action, Fitzgerald just conceded just two goals from open play, one each against the Philadelphia Union and Jacksonville Armada.

Porter, 27, appeared in four matches as a right back for the Rowdies this preseason. His playing career includes stints with FC Edmonton, the Atlanta Silverbacks and Ottawa Fury FC after turning pro with Energie Cottbus in the German 4th division as an 18-year old. Born in Toronto, Porter has earned seven caps with the Canadian National Team.

“These three players have been training with us for a several weeks now,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “They’ve fit in quickly with our group and played well in our preseason matches. With Martin, Akira and Kyle all signing, we’re happy with our roster as we head into next weekend’s USL season opener.”

The Rowdies head to Miami this weekend to take on Miami FC in their final preseason tuneup before opening the USL season at Al Lang Stadium Saturday, March 25, against Orlando City B.

For tickets, call (727) 222-2000 or click here.

Tampa Bay Rowdies 2017 roster

Goalkeepers (3): Nico Campbell, Akira Fitzgerald, Matt Pickens

Defenders (7): Luke Boden, Neill Collins, Darnell King, Damion Lowe, Tamika Mkandawire, Kyle Porter, Zac Portillos

Midfielders (9): Justin Chavez, Joe Cole, Leo Fernandes, Darwin Jones, Alex Morrell, Michael Nanchoff, Keith Savage, Marcel Schäfer, Martin Vingaard

Forwards (3): Deshorn Brown, Georgi Hristov, Martin Paterson

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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Report: Gwen Graham transfers $250K to state political committee

Former Rep. Gwen Graham appears to be laying the framework for a 2018 gubernatorial bid.

POLITICO Florida reported Tuesday that Graham moved $250,000 from her congressional account, Graham for Congress, to Our Florida, a state political committee created on Feb. 2. State records show the money was given to Our Florida on Feb. 3.

Records show the committee’s chairwoman is Stephanie Toothaker, an attorney with Tripp Scott. According to POLITICO Florida, she served as special counsel for former governor and Sen. Bob Graham, the former congresswoman’s father.

The Tallahassee Democrat announced she would not run for re-election after one-term in Congress after her seat was redrawn to favor Republicans. She’s long been listed as one of several likely Democratic gubernatorial candidates, along with Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and attorney John Morgan.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum has already announced his run. So has Chris King, an Orlando area housing investor.

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Richard Corcoran gets nod for dedication to term limits from U.S. Term Limits

House Speaker Richard Corcoran has been honored for his commitment to term limits.

U.S. Term Limits announced this week that it has presented Corcoran with the Champion of Term Limits Award. The Land O’Lakes Republican was honored for his commitment to term limits and citizen government.

“By supporting term limits, Speaker Corcoran has given a voice to Floridians who feel let down by corruption and careerism in government,” said Philip Blumel, the president of U.S. Term Limits. “People are tired of business as usual and term limits is the only way to change the status quo. We applaud Corcoran for his important work to get this done.”

Corcoran has pushed to impose term limits on Florida’s Supreme Court and appellate judges, which the organization supports. The organization also applauded Corcoran for his support of legislative term limits, which have been in place since 1992.

“Term limits have served as an effective check against unrestrained power in the Legislature,” said Blumel. “It will have a similar impact in bringing more discipline to our judicial system.”

The national organization is based out of Melbourne, Florida. The group aims to fight for term limits at all levels of government.

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Personnel note: Sterling Ivey joins FDLE comm’s team

Sterling Ivey, a veteran of state government communications, now has joined the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as a communications coordinator.

FDLE communications director Gretl Plessinger announced the move Tuesday.

Ivey

He’ll “serve as an FDLE spokesperson and will be responsible for coordinating news releases, interviews, press conferences and internal communications,” she said.

Ivey, most recently vice president of corporate communications for SunTrust Banks, has nearly two decades of experience with state agencies.

He was public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, then spent four years as communications director for the Department of Corrections.

Ivey later was communications director for the Department of State before becoming Gov. Charlie Crist’s press secretary in 2008-11.

After that, he was Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s press secretary, serving until 2011.

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House committee pushes through local bill abolishing Hillsborough PTC

A bill to shutter the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Committee continued its rapid pace through the House, quickly passing the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee Tuesday.

Transportation and Infrastructure, which oversees taxicabs and limousines, has clashed with municipalities lately over the regulation of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.

In past years, several members of the Hillsborough County legislative delegation have unsuccessfully sought the elimination of the agency, in support of transportation network companies (TNC).

However, the 2017 Session is the first time the entire county delegation voted to close the PTC.

Sponsored by Tampa Republican Jamie Grant, HB 647 was unanimously advanced in its first two committees.

Referred to as a “local bill,” HB 647 will move to the Senate floor as part of a consent agenda, bundled with several other local delegation bills.

According to Florida House rules, a local bill is “legislation relating to or designed to operate only in a specifically indicated part of the state or one that purports to operate within classified territory when classification is not permissible or the classification is illegal.”

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Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

With a tip of the hat to LobbyTools, here are the latest movements – both on and off – of the legislative merry-go-round.

On and off: Tyler Teresa is no longer district secretary for Sarasota Republican Rep. Joe Gruters. GeeDee Kerr has replaced Teresa.

On: Jeremy Stein is the new district secretary for Fort Walton Beach Republican Rep. Mel Ponder.

Off: Nicole Pontello Is no longer district secretary for Palm Coast Republican Rep. Paul Renner.

On and off: Elizabeth Casimir is no longer district secretary for Fort Lauderdale Democratic Rep. Patricia Williams. Robert Moore is Williams’ new district secretary.

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Rick Scott signs death penalty fix into law

Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation Monday requiring a unanimous jury recommendation before the death penalty can be imposed.

Lawmakers passed the bill out of the House and Senate last week, rushing the measure through the process in hopes of fixing the state’s death penalty law. The House voted 112-3 to approve the measure Friday, one day after the Senate voted unanimously to approve it.

The U.S. Supreme Court in January 2016 declared the state’s death penalty was unconstitutional because it gave too much power to judges to make the ultimate decision. The ruling was based on a case where a judge issued a death sentence after a 7-5 jury recommendation.

In 2016, the Legislature overhauled the state law to let the death penalty be imposed by a 10-2 jury vote. But in October, the state Supreme Court voted 5-2 to strike down the new law and require unanimous jury decisions.

The change goes into effect immediately.

_The Associated Press contributed to this report, reprinted with permission.

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Darden Rice campaign: We’ve raised $23K in 16 days

St. Petersburg City Council Chair Darden Rice announced today that over one hundred of her supporters had contributed $23,020 during the first 16 days of her re-election campaign.

Rice announced her campaign for re-election on February 13, leaving just two weeks to raise money before the first finance deadline.

“I’m thankful for the outpouring of support for my reelection campaign,” said Rice. “We’ve made great progress together in the past three years in St. Pete. Our city and our neighborhoods are stronger because we’ve worked together. I want to continue that progress.”

During her time on City Council, Rice has been an advocate for numerous causes and community issues including improving transportation, making local government more efficient and transparent, fighting for a cleaner environment, and promoting policies inclusive of all St. Petersburg residents.

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Tampa a ‘final four’ city to host National Gay & Lesbian Chamber Convention

Tampa is one of the final four cities in the running to host the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Convention this summer.

Last week, a team of NGLCC officials visited Tampa to evaluate the location for the gathering scheduled for Aug. 7-10, 2018.

Visit Tampa Bay and the Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce have joined forces to attract the conference to Tampa — competing against Austin, Texas; Philadelphia and New Orleans. The chosen city could see an economic impact of more than $2.1 million, with bookings for approximately 2,450 hotel rooms, including another 700 on the peak night.

If Tampa does make the final cut, local leaders say it would represent a significant nod toward Tampa’s thriving economy, inclusive policies, and regional support of LGBTQA issues. Both Tampa Mayor Bob Bckhorn and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, along with Visit Tampa Bay, have welcomed and supported the selection of the city as a host of the 2018 conference.

Nick Janovsky, a Board Member of the Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber — the local chapter of the NGLCC — says Tampa hosting the convention would cap off series of successful scholarship programs and a record year for the annual Diamonds in Diversity gala, which honors local political and business leaders.

 “We at the Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce are proud of our members and their companies for embracing diversity as a strength and the impact their small, medium and large companies are having to make our region a thriving economic hub — attracting a talented workforce,” Janovsky said in an email. “We applaud Mayor Buckhorn and Mayor Kriseman for their support and are confident Tampa is the best city in the country to host the 2018 NGLCC Convention.”

Visit Tampa Bay president and CEO Santiago Corrada says hosting this event will “elevate the entire Tampa Bay community in the eyes of the world as a major LGBTQ destination capable of putting on a significant, high-quality national event.”

Ashley Brundage, President of the Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber added that the national conference “will put Tampa Bay on the Map with LGBTQ Conventions and the more than 200 major corporate partners of the NGLCC.”

Ashley, along with her wife Whitney, will serve as co-chair for local efforts in the event should Tampa be selected.

For more than 30 years, the Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber has provided an environment for business owners and local organizations to “build an alternative community based on shared goals, friendship, and trust.”

More information about the Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber is at https://www.diversitytampabay.org.

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Former baseball player screwed out of millions now suing lawyer who botched claim against broker

Robert Person

After losing millions of dollars through bad investments, a struggling former major league baseball player is suing the lawyer who he says screwed up the claim against his broker.

Clearwater resident Robert Person is a 47-year-old former professional baseball player who pitched for four Major League teams from 1995-2003, with a career won-loss record of 51-42 and a 4.64 ERA.

During his career, Person earned nearly $12 million, including $6.25-million in 2002 from the Philadelphia Phillies.

Person’s agent introduced him to Ralph Jackson, a stockbroker and former basketball player.

Jackson, 54, is a former UCLA basketball player who played a single game in the NBA and two seasons in the Continental Basketball Association. He now works as a senior vice president with Morgan Stanley in Los Angeles and had been a licensed broker for roughly 30 years.

After several years, Person had become unhappy with his investment returns, and hired attorney Patrick Davis in 2008 to sue Jackson for making “false and misleading” statements which led Person  into making “inappropriate investments.”

Attorney Patrick Davis

Davis is a sole practitioner attorney based in Palm Harbor. State licensing records show he has not been disciplined by the Florida Bar in the past decade.

According to court records, Person claims to have lost more than $1-million in principal and interest.

in 2014, Person hired attorney Mark Zussman to pursue a claim against Jackson and the brokerage firm UBS. In that action, Person ultimately settled for an undisclosed “greatly reduced amount.” A June 2016 letter shows Person hired Illinois attorney Howard Prossnitz to institute a malpractice claim against Davis, with apparently unsuccessful results.

In a lawsuit filed Feb. 28 in Pinellas County Circuit Court without benefit of an attorney, Person accuses attorney Davis of negligence and professional malpractice.

Failing to either settle with Jackson, file a lawsuit or Financial Industry Regulatory Authority claim in a timely fashion, Davis IS accused of allowing the statute of limitations to expire.

Living in Pinellas County for many years, Person has had a few minor run-ins with police. In 2001, he was arrested for giving a false name to police and obstructing an officer without violence; in 2004 for disorderly conduct; in 2005 for DUI and obstructing an officer without violence; and in 2010 for failing to appear in court on a charge of driving with a suspended or revoked license.

Talking with Sports Illustrated in 2011, Person said he was: “struggling to get by, a victim, he says, of terrible investments and manipulative handlers. He is divorced, mostly apart from his five daughters, renting a small home in Largo … trying to score little bits of carpentry work here and there. His days, he said, are long and sometimes depressing — made bearable by the three rec league softball teams who feature him on the roster, as well as a part-time coaching gig at a local high school … ’When you’re playing, you assume — by investing your money — you’ll be set for life. Well, I trusted the wrong people. Bad people who took advantage.’”

Jackson has faced legal action from customers in the past. In his Finra report, his brokerage houses have settled a number of customer claims, including a $6-million settlement in 2013.

Fitapelli Kurtz, a New York law firm specializing in stock fraud, is currently attempting to assemble a group of investors who believe Jackson may have defrauded them.

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