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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.

 

Polk County civil rights activists sue USF over public records

A Winter Garden civil-rights activist group is suing the University of South Florida over access to public records.

Among the requests made by the Poor and Minority Justice Association Inc. (PMJA) to the USF board of trustees include University President Judy Genshaft‘s travel expenses, police use of derogatory words and others.

According to its website, PMJA, is a nonprofit civil-rights group founded in 2012 to protect minority communities in Polk County from “profiling, harassment and abuse by police” and to “attack inequality and injustice with the use of nonviolent direct action.”

Clayton Allen Cowart, the 45-year-old pastor of Church of God the Bibleway, is PMJA’s founder and president.

PMJA claims to have collaborated with, Joel Chandler, an infamous Lakeland public records advocate who has filed dozens of lawsuits against Florida government agencies for open-records law violations.

The number of ‘nuisance’ lawsuits filed by Chandler (and others) has prompted Florida lawmakers to propose legislation. A bill (SB 80) filed in 2017 by Sarasota Republican Sen. Greg Steube, sought to crack down on “serial records abusers” who attempt to lure public officials into public record violations to extort a settlement.

In 2013, the Lakeland Ledger reported on an undercover operation of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office that spied on a 2012 PMJA meeting At the Church of God the Bibleway.

The Ledger wrote that PMJA was started by pastor Clayton Cowart after he pleaded to a misdemeanor stalking charge May 31, 2012, in what was then described as an “affair with a parishioner gone wrong … He is still fighting to overturn his conviction. The group, about 90 percent black, meets weekly.”

On Feb. 10, PMJA emailed eight separate public-records requests to the University of South Florida, seeking records on:

– Judy Genshaft’s travel expenses.

– Procurement of graduation gowns.

– Contracts with food service giant Aramark or subsidiaries.

– Information collected regarding the infamous Dozier School for Boys.

– Use by USF Police Department employees of any of more than 200 pejorative terms, including:  “butt pirate … jungle bunny … Hebrew … sand nigger … slut … wetback … tranny … wheelchair jockey … terrorist.”

– Payment of membership contributions, dues and cellular phone service.

– Procurement of products or services offered by Safe Restraints Inc.

Since the requests, PMJA had received no more than an acknowledgment of the records request.

In a complaint filed March 26 in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, PMJA is suing for unconstitutionally withholding public records. It seeks a court order requiring USF to make the requested records available.

However, five days after filing this lawsuit, PMJA abruptly dismissed the case with prejudice, and now cannot file another suit based on the same claims.

After Clearwater Beach arts patrons divorce, court asked for forced eviction

Ludmilla Ribakova, ex-wife of Bruce Dandrew

After completing their divorce, a Clearwater couple — well-known as local art patrons — are waging a legal battle over eviction from the former marital home.

Clearwater Beach resident Bruce Leo Dandrew, 76, is a former president of a company called Dedicated Transportation. In 2006, Dandrew married Ludmilla Ribakova, 58, a native of Latvia and also a current resident of Clearwater Beach. Each had a child from a prior marriage.

Since 2009, the Dandrews donated thousands of photographs to the Museum of Fine Arts of St. Petersburg. A 2011 article from The Photographic Art Society called the Dandrew-Drapkin Collection “one of the most expansive photography collections in American private hands.”

The MFA continues to feature the collection in exhibitions.

In addition to owning a $2.1 million Odessa property, Bruce and Ludmilla Dandrew lived in a three-story, 6,586-square-foot waterfront mansion in Clearwater Beach appraised at nearly $2.3-million. Purchased in 2005, Bruce demolished the existing structure, building the current home.

Bruce Dandrew filed for divorce twice, in 2016 and 2017, with a final judgment issued February 17.

Court records of the divorce filings show a prenuptial agreement struck in 2006, which would have Bruce retain sole ownership of the Clearwater Beach home in the case of divorce. At that time, Bruce claimed his net worth was $24 million with an annual income of $5 million.

In a settlement dated May 2016, Bruce agreed to pay Ludmilla $1.1-million, allowing her to keep the couple’s 2012 Mercedes GL 550. However, he kept sole ownership of his real estate holdings and several other assets.

Nevertheless, a month after finalizing the divorce, Bruce Dandrew claims ex-wife Ludmilla is refusing leave the Clearwater Beach marital home, even though the agreement states he is the sole owner and she is no longer welcome.

Bruce is asking the court to help evict his ex-wife, as well as give compensation for any damage Ludmilla might have inflicted on the property and his possessions.

Tampa health care firm accuses consultant of giving bad advice, costing millions of dollars

A local health care firm claims it received bad advice from a Canadian consulting firm, resulting in losses in the tens of millions of dollars, with millions more to correct its mistakes.

Tampa-based Health Integrated helps health care plans manage their “most vulnerable” members by addressing “physical, psychological and social drivers impacting member health and satisfaction.” Zachary Fritz is now the company’s CEO.

Health Integrated uses big data to identify and engage health plan members with the greatest impact, those people otherwise overlooked. The company applies what they call a “unique therapeutic intervention model” to find risk factors in all areas of health – “medical, behavioral and social.”

In 2013, Tampa Bay Business Journal ranked Health Integrated as the Tampa Bay area’s 94th-biggest privately-held company, with 2012 revenues of $32.1-million. However, by 2016, the company did not appear on the list of the 100 largest private companies, based on 2015 revenues.

In 2015, Health Integrated hired consultant Carpedia International, a Canadian consulting firm that helps clients improve financial and management performance and management and to save money.

Carpedia promised it could trim as much $2.7-million per year from Integrated’s expenses, and was paid more than $1-million over several months. At the time, Integrated’s chair and CEO was Shan Padda, a major shareholder. Fritz had succeeded him.

In a suit filed March 22 in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, poor advice from Carpedia’s “unqualified” staff cost Integrated tens of millions of dollars. Integrated alleges that clients, who had contributed $13.7-million per year, were discouraged by Carpedia’s recommended changes, leading them to drop the health care firm. Integrated says Carpedia “staffed the engagement with professionals that had no clinical health care background … and lacked general experience in U.S. managed care and specific experience with Medicare and Medicaid,” causing “substantial harm” to Integrated’s business.

According to the suit: “Carpedia had advertised and represented its position as an experienced health care consultant. In accepting the engagement, Carpedia should have known that U.S. health care is a complex and technically-demanding business, and providing professional consulting services to a U.S. managed care services business requires in-depth technical knowledge and when dealing with clinical operations, clinical knowledge. Carpedia should have known that managed care is an intensely regulated industry, and compliance with state and federal regulations is essential to the success of Health Integrated.”

Carpedia’s recommendations also polluted Integrated’s software forcing the company to spend $5.6-million in corrections.

Integrated is seeking damages for breach of contract and professional negligence.

 

HART, trucking company face off over public records for evidence in 2015 crash

A 2015 accident between a tractor-trailer and a Hillsborough County bus has set off a legal dispute over the right to access public records.

As part of the disagreement, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority Agency is claiming footage shot inside the bus during the crash, necessary to help exonerate the owner of the tractor-trailer, is confidential and cannot be released.

ArcBest is an Arkansas-based publicly traded transportation logistics company, with revenues of $2.7-billion in fiscal year 2016.

On Sept. 2, 2015, a tractor-trailer owned by ArcBest was involved in an accident with a HART bus near the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and N. 40th Street in Tampa.

Two claims arose from the accident, faulting ArcBest.

As part of its defense, the company asked HART to provide several pieces of evidence – including video footage shot inside the bus. In response, HART had produced “minimal” records January 30, 2017, with other documents issued March 16. However, no video evidence was provided.

In a suit filed March 21 in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, ArcBest alleges HART admitted such video exists, but rejected ArcBest’s request three times, saying the footage is confidential and exempt from Florida’s Sunshine Laws pertaining to public records.

According to the suit: “The video footage from the inside of the bus on the date of the accident is critical to determine the facts related to the alleged injuries sustained by the claimants against Plaintiff and represent the only and best evidence of how such alleged injuries were sustained.”

Court records obtained from HART by Baylawsuits.com include detailed descriptions of the accident, names of both drivers and those of several passengers claiming injury and/or sought compensation, as well as photos of the bus’s exterior damage, correspondence between attorneys and ArcBest, and other info.

In addition, records suggest police blamed the accident on the tractor-trailer driver.

Nevertheless, ArcBest is asking for the court to force HART to release the video, saying it “could prevent unnecessary litigation and the costs associated with same for both Plaintiff and the two claimants.”

Hillsborough sheriffs look to keep drugs, money siezed after tasing suicidal man

Andres Eduardo Javage

After telling friends on Facebook he was suicidal, a Tampa man was tased by sheriff’s deputies, who found marijuana and money in the home. Now the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is going to court to keep the cash.

Andres Eduardo Javage, 30, is a self-employed mechanic and the founder of Auto Nutrition in Tampa, which offers vehicle maintenance service at customer’s homes.

On Feb. 15, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call at 11422 Wheeling Dr. in Tampa, a home owned by Carlos Javage, for “possible domestic violence or a mentally ill person.”

At the scene, deputies say they noticed broken glass scattered around the southernmost window, and learned Andres Javage was inside the home, where he was warning friends through Facebook that he “planned to shoot himself.” A police report says that he also sent a message to a family member outside the home that he was “going to kill anyone that attempted to enter his residence.”

After Javage allegedly threatened the deputies, they decided to detain him “for his own protection” under Florida’s Baker Act.

When Javage didn’t fully comply, Deputy Dana Graham tasered him, and officers arrested him on charges of battery and assault on a police officer, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and intent to sell marijuana. A criminal report says Javage threw books out the door at police, suggesting it may be a reason for the ‘assault on a police officer’ charge.

Even though he was arrested, court records are not clear whether Javage ever was involuntarily committed under the Act. An online arrest report lists his address as 11217 Wheeling Dr., a home owned by Carlos and Carmen Javage.

“Given the nature of Javage’s threats,” deputies searched the residence, and found two large zip-lock bags containing nearly 1 pound of marijuana — which Javage explained was medical marijuana legally acquired in California — as well as $2,066, stacked and bound with rubber bands.

In a March 22 filing with the Hillsborough County Circuit Court, the HCSO is asking to keep the marijuana and cash under the state’s Contraband Forfeiture Act. As of March 28, Javage is still in jail awaiting trial.

Rumberger Kirk shareholder Jared Smith named to Hillsborough County Court

Jared Smith is the new judge on the Hillsborough County Court.

He was one of six new judges appointed Friday by Gov. Rick Scott.

Smith, 41, of Lutz, is a shareholder with Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell and a former Air Force JAG officer. His specialty is defense in areas including banking and finance, construction, auto negligence, and products injury.

His law degree is from Washburn University School of Law.

Smith fills the vacancy created by the resignation of Walter Heinrich.

Man wounded in controversial 2013 shooting by St. Pete Police claims negligence

Danardrick Rashad Chance

A man shot in 2013 by police executing a search warrant in St. Petersburg is suing both the department and the officer who shot him, claiming negligence.

Danardrick Rashad Chance is a 23-year-old St. Petersburg resident. According to police records, he has an arrest record dating back to 2007. In 2013, Chance was involved in a controversial shooting incident with police that was widely reported in local news.

Shannon Michele Halstead, 40, serves as a law-enforcement officer with the St. Petersburg Police department. On the day of the shooting, Halstead’s rank was sergeant. She is a 2012 graduate of Leadership St. Pete.

In 2015, Halstead married George Dunsworth Lofton in 2015, and goes by the name Shannon Halstead Lofton.

Halstead, 36-years-old at the time, was a member of the team attempting to execute a drug-and-weapons search warrant at a home in St. Petersburg’s Child’s Park neighborhood. Three men were observed getting into a white Toyota Camry, and attempted to run over Halstead and other officers.

Shannon Michele Halstead

Halstead and two undercover detectives fired at the car.

Chance, a passenger in the Camry, was wounded in the leg and arrested.

Marques Lewis Rowe, 25, was charged with a series of offenses, including a minimum of six counts of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault on a police officer, fleeing and eluding, driving with a suspended or revoked license, obstructing or resisting an officer without violence, and possession of cocaine and marijuana. Rowe pleaded guilty to lesser charges, and served two-and-a-half years in prison.

The shooting drew criticism from both neighbors and the local NAACP, which claimed SPPD used overkill – more officers and firepower than was appropriate for the situation.

After an internal investigation, Halstead received a relatively minor reprimand – an “Employee Notice” in her personnel file citing a “Group II” department rule violation.

Four years after the shooting, Chance is seeking compensation. In a complaint filed March 3 in Pinellas County Circuit Court, he claims he is a victim of a “negligent and careless” police raid.

As for Halstead’s subsequent career, she was promoted to lieutenant in late 2016, according to the SPPD Facebook page.

Chance was arrested in the 2013 incident for misdemeanor failure to appear on a marijuana-possession case. Months later, prosecutors dropped the charge. Court records also show he was charged with felony trespass in 2013 and high-speed fleeing and eluding in 2016.

Local ‘Dancing with the Stars’ winner says Powerhouse Gym owes her $311K

Sarah Jon Porreca

A local winner of the reality ‘Dancing with the Stars’ competition is claiming the now-shuttered Powerhouse Gym in downtown Tampa owes her more than $300,000.

Sarah Jon Porreca, 34, is an owner of Lending Luxury, a Tampa boutique that specializes in renting out women’s formalwear.

A former fitness competitor, Porreca was also a 2011 winner of Tampa Bay’s Dancing with the Stars.

In 2014, Porreca paid $1.15-million for a 5-bedroom, 5.5-bath home in Tampa.

Matthew Midyett opened a Powerhouse Gym franchise in 2009 at the 392-unit Grand Central at Kennedy condominium complex in the Channelside District of downtown Tampa. In February 2017, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reported that “dramatic rent increases” was causing Midyett and his brothers Matt Midyett and John Sanguinetti to close the gym.

As of March 20, the gym’s website made the announcement that: “it no longer makes sense for Powerhouse Gym Downtown to continue business at this location.” The site also said memberships would be valid at another Powerhouse Gym location at 3251 W. Hillsborough Ave. in Tampa.

Westside Fitness – named a co-defendant in action filed in Hillsborough County March 14 – owned Powerhouse Gym Downtown. Midyett and his two brothers are listed as managers.

According to court records, in 2013, Porreca issued a 7-year, $600,000 loan to Westside Fitness. Terms of the loan included Westside paying her $8,480 a month through mid-2020.

However, Porreca claims Westside has not made a payment since December 2016 and has defaulted. She says Westside owes her $311,000 plus interest and is seeking to foreclose on collateral remaining at Grand Central, 1120 E. Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa.

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