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Tampa subdivision accuses former leadership of lying, falsifying records over recall vote

A Tampa subdivision is accusing its former leadership of lying and falsifying evidence to overturn a recall vote and stay in power, after an expensive arbitration process.

Camden Woods is a subdivision in southeast Tampa with 115 voting homeowners. Records suggest it is managed by Avid Management of Tampa.

Camden Woods’ current Homeowner’s Association president is 58-year-old Julie Patricia McDaniel.

Former HOA staff includes Terry Jolly Henry, 44, who previously served as president and is also a licensed real estate agent; John Clay Jenkins, 65, was vice president. Lanette Nicole Stevens, 43, was former secretary.

In 2016, homeowners at the Camden Woods subdivision narrowly approved a petition to recall the subdivision’s three-member board — led by then-president Henry.

A few days later, the board asked the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation to intercede, saying 10 of the homeowners had rescinded their votes to recall.

Arbitrator Terri Leigh Jones later ruled against Henry, Jenkins and Stevens, but not before the Homeowner’s Association spent over $18,000 on legal fees. Jones upheld the recall vote after concluding that the three had lied about discussing each of the 10 allegedly rescinded votes during a public meeting Sept. 6, 2016.

In a 104-page filing in Hillsborough County Circuit Court dated April 5, the HOA is claiming breach of fiduciary duty, accusing the ousted board members of fabricating evidence of rescinded votes to attempt to stay in power.

According to the complaint: “Defendants … fabricated events, fabricated motions, fabricated votes, fabricated revocations, fabricated signatures, and drafted four pages of falsified minutes, creating sham motions that did not occur.”

In addition, the three are accused of “intentionally and knowingly misled the Association’s attorney, provided the Association’s attorney with the fabricated evidence and fictitious minutes of the meeting, and through a series of motions and pleadings continue to improperly waste Association funds on events and evidence defendants knew were completely falsified.”

Current President McDaniel is the person allegedly leading the effort to oust the three former leaders.

Interestingly, Henry’s Facebook page has the introduction: “No Weapons formed against me shall prosper!”

 

Bubba the Love Sponge legal update: IRS files tax lien, ex-girlfriend drops injunction

Bubba the Love Sponge can now add a federal tax lien to his recent legal troubles.

But as one issue pops up, another appears to have worked itself out for the embattled Tampa Bay shock jock.

Formerly known as Todd Alan Clem, Bubba the Love Sponge Clem is the owner of the Bubba Radio Network Inc., headquartered at 5021 W. Nassau St. in Tampa.

Over the years, the infamous radio host, who now lives in South St. Petersburg, has either directly or indirectly been involved in multiple legal cases, both in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

In the latest of his legal difficulties, the Internal Revenue Service filed a tax lien last month against the Bubba Radio Network, saying the company owes $23,295 in unpaid ‘941’ taxes for the tax period that ended Sept. 30, 2016.

This latest problem comes on top of former girlfriend Nicole Maria “Nikki” L’Ange seeking an injunction February against Bubba for domestic violence. The same week, Bank of America sued him over a defaulted $75,000 line of credit.

In December, Beasley Media Group, part of the Beasley Broadcast Group, removed Bubba’s show from WBRN-FM 98.7 in the Tampa area, leaving his show on a single Beasley station: WRXK-FM 98-Rock in Fort Myers.

Tampa’s WWBA-AM 820 later picked up the show.

But at least one of the actions seemed to have been settled. On March 13, L’Ange voluntarily dismissed her petition for a restraining order against Clem. She did not list a reason.

As for Bank of America’s $75,000 lawsuit, neither Clem nor the Bubba Radio Network has responded as of mid-April.

 

St. Vincent de Paul accused of racial discrimination after firing African-American employee

Michael Raposa of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul South Pinellas

A well-known Tampa Bay-area charity and thrift store operator is facing accusations of racial discrimination after firing an African-American veteran program officer.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a Catholic charity founded in France in the 1830s.

St. Vincent’s South Pinellas chapter operates a thrift store at 384 15th St. N, S in St. Petersburg, which is used for support services in Tampa for veteran families. Michael Raposa serves as St. Vincent’s executive director. Edi Erb, a former executive director of the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative, serves as director of supportive services for veteran families.

St. Vincent de Paul hired Bryan Sullivan in 2015 as a program officer for supportive services in 3010 N. Boulevard in Tampa to help homeless veterans. Erb was his supervisor.

Less than three months later, executive director Raposa fired Sullivan.

According to a suit filed April 3 in Pinellas County Circuit Court, Sullivan cites two reasons for his dismissal: he is an African-American at a charity Sullivan says prefers a white staff, and, as a U.S. Army combat veteran, was considered “too military.”

The termination came on the same day Sullivan told Raposa and others he had filed a discrimination claim with the federal government.

Court records suggest Sullivan could be 47-year-old Valrico resident Bryan Oneil Sullivan, who had been arrested in 2010 for sexual battery, for violating probation in 2011, and faced a complaint in 2005 for dating violence by Amanda Voigt. The dating violence petition was denied.

Also named in the suit is Modern Business, a St. Petersburg firm providing outsourced human resources. Sullivan’s complaint lists the company and St. Vincent de Paul as co-employers.

Notably, Sullivan filed his discrimination complaint not with the EEOC but with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which provides St. Vincent de Paul federal funds to assistant veterans.

In the past, St. Vincent de Paul has faced other legal actions, including a racial discrimination suit. A chef claimed in 2014 he was fired for being African-American, as well as a store manager suing for overtime, and a cashier accused a supervisor of sexual harassment.

 

Pinellas nurses may have allowed spoiled vaccines to go to low-income kids

Board-certified pediatrician Stephen George Nelson

Two nurses at a Pinellas County pediatric clinic serving low-income children are accused of allowing distribution of damaged vaccines. A court filing suggests they may have also deceived state regulators of the spoiled medication.

Board-certified pediatrician Stephen George Nelson founded a pediatric medical practice in 1981. As of April 2017, Dr. Nelson, 67, has five pediatricians working for his practice with three locations in St. Petersburg and Seminole.

Pinellas Park resident Shannon Rochelle Best, 37, is a licensed practical nurse who works (or had worked) for Nelson. She now is at Peninsula Pediatrics. Mary Muhlstadt Bottieri, 53, is a licensed practical nurse from St. Petersburg who also employed by Nelson at one time. Now, she serves as a nurse manager at Peninsula Pediatrics.

Nelson issued free vaccines to low-income child patients through the federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.

Nurses Bottieri and Best were instructed to collect daily temperature data from the vaccines’ storage units, and notify a state monitoring agency if temperatures “exceeded or fell below the accepted temperature variation range,” and mark all damaged dosages ‘Do Not Use.’

According to an April 11 complaint filed in Pinellas County Circuit Court, Nelson claims in 2016 the two nurses intentionally did not alert state regulators of the VFC program of unacceptable temperature variations, as well as failing to mark the spoiled dosages “Do Not Use.”

Court records do not show the number, if any, of VFC patients who actually received the damaged vaccines, whether they suffered any adverse effects, and if (or when) patients’ parents were informed of the situation. Nelson is seeking damages for alleged wrongdoing.

Although the lawsuit does not indicate how the plaintiff suffered as a result of the allegedly wrongful actions, possible consequences include removal from the VFC program, lawsuits from VFC patients, federal fines and other complications.

 

Sam Rashid once again getting grief over social media, sues ex-employee for Facebook post

Sam Rashid

Tampa’s Sam Rashid is once again facing grief over social media. This time, a Facebook post by a former employee is causing trouble for the Republican firebrand.

Samad Sultan Rashid, better known locally as Sam Rashid, is a 55-year-old businessperson, conservative activist and former member of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority.

A native of Pakistan who converted to Catholicism from Islam, Rashid now serves as CEO and co-owner of Brandon-based Divine Designs Salon & Spa, as well as president of Plant City-based Holtec, which sells commercial-grade saws. He is married to Geri Rashid.

Rashid is suing Jacqueline Lilley, 21, a former employee of Divine Designs.

In a series of Facebook posts last month, Lilley criticized Divine Designs, her old employer, calling the owners “thieves,” and urging current staff to “GET OUT NOW.” She said the company’s owner sent a “damn email” warning staff to stop social-media contact with employees who had left the salon on “bad terms.”

Jacqueline Lilley, former employee of Divine Designs Salon

The now-deleted post received at least 39 comments and 14 reactions.

Rashid, as the owner of the salon, is complaining that Lilley’s post falsely “accused [him] of committing a crime.” In an April 11 filing in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, Rashid is seeking damages for defamation.

Rashid is far from a stranger to incendiary Facebook posts.

In June 2014, Gov. Rick Scott appointed Rashid, a high-profile GOP supporter, to the Hillsborough County Aviation Board. In September 2015, Rashid, an avid anti-tax activist, attacked Tampa businessperson Beth Leytham for her involvement in the “Go Hillsborough” transportation initiative, funded by the county government. Hillsborough had been considering increasing sales taxes to build new roads, improve bridges and expand mass transit.

In a Facebook post from Sept. 2, 2015, Rashid called Leytham a “taxpayer-subsidized slut,” suggesting she had “intimately close relationships” with two county and one city officials.

After a wave of outrage and mounting pressure on Scott to remove him, Rashid voluntarily resigned Oct. 9, 2015. In his resignation letter, he did not apologize for making the slur.

“Really, you guys will simply not let the past rest,” Rashid later told the Tampa Bay Times. “Every time there’s an article or statement or my name comes up, it’s always going to refer back to this ridiculous situation.”

Rashid added that he intended “slut” to be a political slur — not a sexual one.

Donald Trump’s election helped put sale of Clearwater flight school up in the air

Delays in approval from the Department of Homeland Security after the election of Donald Trump has stymied the sale of a Clearwater flight school when the prospective new owner backed out of the deal and now faces breach of contract.

Feng Jian Xin, a California resident, agreed to buy Clearwater Aviation Academy in 2016, along with its seven planes for $275,000.

Part of the deal hinged on Academy, at 4303-11 General Howard Dr., receiving certification from Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program, which oversees “nonimmigrants whose primary reason for coming to the United States is to be students.”

After the 9/11 terror attacks, the U.S. has put increased scrutiny, screening and tracking foreign students at flight schools, particularly after it was discovered some of the hijackers had attended flight schools in the U.S.

In March 2017, Feng told plaintiffs Clearwater Aviation and Global Aircraft Acquisitions LLC he did not plan to close the deal, possibly because Homeland Security had not yet ruled on Clearwater Aviation’s application.

According to a breach-of-contract lawsuit filed April 3 in Pinellas County Circuit Court, the flight school says Feng had no reason to abandon the deal because Clearwater was actively working to obtain the SEVIS authority through a third party.

Court documents show Clearwater Aviation had told Feng Jian Xin that “immigration upheaval” in Washington was the reason for delays in approval from Homeland Security,

“The election of President Trump has created a chaotic and unpredictable environment within DHS and upheaval regarding all immigration-related issues … Clearwater Aviation is involved in discussions with another holder of SEVIS authority that may be willing to allow that authority to be used for Clearwater Aviation Academy.”

On March 27, 2017, Steven Fox, representing Clearwater Aviation, wrote: “This transaction is not like buying a new car. You can’t just walk into the dealership, pick the model and options, pay the price and drive away. This is a living, breathing business that changes and grows from day to day. You don’t have the staff you need or even a place to do business. Going back to the new car analogy, you can’t drive and don’t have a driver.”

“I now have SEVIS authority available,” Fox added. “I think SEVIS is a non-issue.”

According to public records, Feng paid $1.75-million in 2015 for a 10-acre, 8,748-square-foot home in San Diego County. Records also show Tampa attorney Xuesong Alex Yu represented Feng in negotiations with Clearwater Aviation.

Clearwater man claims injury during heroic runaway golf cart rescue

A Clearwater man who saved a group of residents from a runaway golf cart in his apartment complex is suing for injuries sustained during the rescue.

Robert Pierce, 67, is a resident of Arbors at Belleair, an apartment complex that leases one-bedroom and two-bedroom units at 2230 Nursery Road in Clearwater. He has lived at the Arbors since at least 1988.

In a suit filed March 31 in Pinellas County Circuit Court, Pierce says he was walking through the Arbors complex around Oct. 1, 2016, while an unidentified caretaker began loading doors onto a golf cart.

After one of the “improperly loaded” doors accidentally hit the accelerator, Pierce alleges the driverless cart began moving forward toward residents sitting in complex’s courtyard.

To save the residents, Pierce claims to have reached inside and moved the steering wheel, successfully diverting the golf cart into some bushes.

In doing so, however, Pierce says he suffered “severe and permanent injuries.”

Pierce is now asking the court to award damages for mental and physical pain, lost earnings, past and future medical care, and for suffering “the inability to lead a normal life.”

He is suing Tapout Group, which had done business as Arbors at Belleair. Yet Tapout Group LLC voluntarily dissolved in 2013. RIFAI Properties, which is not named in the suit, purchased the complex in 2012 for $6.6-million. Rifai’s managers are Hany and Giliane Rifai. Court records do not show why Pierce believes Tapout Group still owns the complex.

Short-term rentals spark battle between Clearwater Beach condo owners, homeowner’s association

Clearwater Beach condominium owners are facing off with their homeowner’s association over short-term rentals, with accusations against five owners of using deception to dodge a 14-day minimum-lease rule.

Crescent Beach Club is a waterfront condominium complex Clearwater Beach managed by Associa Gulf Coast. According to recent records, Joseph N. Joyce Jr. serves as the homeowner’s association president. A Massachusetts resident, Joseph and Nancy Joyce are listed as nonresident co-owners of a unit.

Owners of five condos at the Club — Jeffrey and Regina Paglialonga of Winter Park; Joyce Enterprises Inc. (Jacob and Alice Joseph); McCullough Properties LLC; Jeffrey Lemajeur, as trustee of the Jeffrey W. Lemajeur Revocable Trust and Deborah Lemajeur, as trustee of the Deborah M. Lemajeur Revocable Trust — have filed suit against the complex and Association.

Each of the five units has been offered as short-term vacation rentals.

None of the plaintiffs have filed for homestead exemptions, signifying all are also non-resident owners.

Bylaws of Crescent Beach Club state that any lease issued by condo owners must be for a minimum of 14 days. In 2015, the homeowner’s association initiated an arbitration action against each of the plaintiffs — alleging they have violated that rule.

The five owners argue that if renters didn’t stay the full 14 days under their lease, the units are not available for re-rent until that lease period ends.

While each of the plaintiffs submitted short-term 14-day leases for approval, the Association, pointing to a number of online advertisements, says the units were openly being offered for as little as a few days at a time.

Co-plaintiffs Jeffrey Adam “Jeff” Paglialonga and wife Regina Anne “Gina” Paglialonga own a 2,125-square-foot condo they purchased in 2013 for $575,000. The couple run a booking service called Teeming Vacation Rentals.

After the arbitration process stalemated, the owners filed a 140-page suit March 30 in Pinellas County Circuit Court, seeking the court to rule that the leases are legal under the Association’s bylaws.

As evidence of rule-breaking, however, the Association cites a HomeAway.com ad from Jeff and Gina Paglialonga, which says:

“At Teeming Vacation Rentals, we take the hassle out of travel. Our friendly and knowledgeable ‘teem’ offer the personalized service you need to find the perfect fit for your vacation. We actually want to talk to you! Nightly rates listed are based on a 14-night stay. Shorter stays are welcomed when we have availability so please ‘send a message’ or ‘send email’ to us for an exact quote. ‘Teem’ up with Teeming Vacation Rentals and book your dream vacation today!”

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Models accuse Tampa strip club of using photos without permission, payment

Six models are accusing Skin Tampa strip club of using photos in various online promotions without permission or payment.

The women are Kimberly Cozzens of San Jose, California; Cielo Jean Gibson of Santa Monica, California; Irina Voronina of Los Angeles; Sara Underwood of Columbia County, Oregon; Kara Monaco of Orange County, California and Alison Waite Jordan of Los Angeles County, California.

SKN Trading LLC, doing business as Skin Tampa, is at 1620 E. Adamo Drive, is owned by Maytham Zahedi.

Gibson, also known as C.J. Gibson, is a 33-year-old Clearwater native and model who has lived in Tampa.

In a complaint filed March 27 in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, the women accuse Skin Tampa of copying their photos and using them without permission or payment, on the club’s Facebook page, Twitter feed and other social media sites.

Among the charges in the suit: “The image of Cozzens which featured her in a pirate costume was used out of context … to advertise the strip club and free admission. Specifically, the image of Cozzens was posted along with the lewd and salacious phrase, ‘COME PLUNDER SOME BOOTY.’”

The lawsuit argues Skin’s unauthorized actions harmed the women’s reputations by associating them with stripping and sex acts, by failing to compensate, and by not giving an option to not allow the use of their images.

The women are asking the court for damages.

In 2015, two of the six women who are now suing Skin Tampa had filed a similar lawsuit against Clearwater’s Diamond Dolls strip club. The case is ongoing. Court records show Diamond Dolls’ denying any wrongdoing.

Similarly, in January 2016, three models filed a lawsuit against the Thee Dollhouse strip club in Tampa, which is also ongoing.

Two attorneys at Casas Law Firm – Sarah M. Cabarcas and Ludmila Khomiak – have filed all three lawsuits.

 

Tampa health care tech firm starts cracking down on delinquent providers

Dr. Ricky Poole Lockett

Tampa-based CareSync is cracking down on delinquent medical providers, asking a Hillsborough County court to help collect money owed from an orthopedic practice in default.

CareSync is a fast-growing health care technology company headquartered at 14055 Riveredge Dr., Suite 600 in Tampa.

According to the CareSync website, the company builds “easy-to-use technology, and combine it with exceptional services to help people better coordinate care.”

Dr. Ricky Poole Lockett is medical director and owner of Orthopedic Injury Management in St. Petersburg. According to his bio, Lockett “practices pain management, neuromusculoskeletal medicine and physical medicine & rehabilitation.”

In August 2015, Orthopedic Injury Management, at 1501 Fifth Ave. N in St. Petersburg, entered a “chronic care management services agreement” with CareSync, which billed Orthopedic by the month, with amounts ranging from $5,460 to $7,476.

In a March 27 filing with the Hillsborough County Circuit Court, CareSync is hoping to collect more than $53,000 in back payments.

This filing is the latest effort by CareSync to crack down on delinquent practitioners. Court records show CareSync brought an action against eight medical clients in Hillsborough over a five-day period March 24-28. These were the first filings in Hillsborough County.

In December 2016, the firm announced plans to hire 350 more employees in 2017, increasing its current workforce to 500. Margie Manning of the Tampa Bay Business Journal reported the expansion was Tampa Bay area’s second-largest job announcement for the year. Jobs will include clinical care coordinators, product developers, human resources, information technology and administration.

Manning writes: “CareSync, previously headquartered in Wesley Chapel, has received several rounds of venture capital funding, including $18 million in the last three months of 2015.”

Travis Bond is the company’s founder and CEO.

 

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