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WFLA Channel 8 reporter sacrificed truth to advance career, lawsuit says

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A Hillsborough woman says she was defamed by two “completely false” television reports and has filed suit against Media General, owner of WFLA Channel 8, and one of its reporters. Erisan Seibert is also claiming that TV reporter Shannon Behnken invaded her privacy by, among other things, “intentionally and without authorization” intruding upon and invading her private living space. The defamation and privacy violations, Seibert says in the suit, shocked, traumatized and humiliated her. Seibert is seeking monetary damages for…

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Title company’s mistake killed downtown St. Pete YMCA deal, music promoter says

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Music promoter Thomas Nestor had big dreams: He’d buy the historic YMCA building in St. Petersburg, save it from destruction and convert it to a concert venue, music museum and hotel. He and VPC 3, II, LLP, the owner of the property, struck a deal. Nestor would buy the building at 116 Fifth St. S, for $1.4 million. He proceeded to make installment payments but the deal fell through in July 2014 when he did not come up with the…

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Florida reaches settlement agreement in kids’ Medicaid case

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Florida health officials have reached a settlement ending a decades-long class-action lawsuit that alleged the state is violating federal mandates by failing to deliver critical health services to millions of children on Medicaid. The settlement comes after a 2005 lawsuit against three state agencies alleging 390,000 children did not get a medical checkup in 2007 and more than 750,000 received no dental care. Judge Adalberto Jordan sided with the plaintiffs in 2014 and sent both parties to meditation. An agreement…

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Mike Deeson, Safety Harbor Mayor named in slander suit

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Business owner Jim Barge is suing several individuals and companies alleging he was falsely accused of stealing a campaign sign in 2014 from a Safety Harbor yard. Barge was caught on tape removing a sign for former Safety Harbor Mayor Joe Ayoub. The lawsuit names both Ayoub’s then challenger, Andy Steingold, as well as WTSP investigative reporter Mike Deeson and accuses the two of scheming with Ray Duke, the man who took the video in question, to create a “false…

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Rev. Manuel Sykes sues elderly widow over traffic accident

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Rev. Manuel Sykes, former president of the St. Petersburg NAACP, filed a lawsuit against an 86-year old widow based on a traffic accident that occurred on November 10, 2015. Sykes sites “serious bodily injury and resulting pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, mental anguish, loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life, expenses of hospitalization, of medical and nursing care and treatment, loss of earnings and ability to earn a living.” The accident occurred on 54th Avenue South. Sykes was driving…

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Gus Bilirakis’ teen niece linked to golf cart crash lawsuit

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The powerful Bilirakis family is tied to a recent lawsuit filed in Pinellas County court. Evelyn Bilirakis, niece of U.S. Rep Gus Bilirakis, was said to have hit someone at Cypress Run Golf Club in Tarpon Springs while driving a golf cart. In the lawsuit naming the club, not the Bilirakis family, Jarunee Saengfah says the incident caused “serious and permanent injury.” He argues the club was negligent for allowing a minor child use of the Golf Cart. Evelyn Bilirakis’ age…

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Old St. Pete Spirits sues over faulty equipment

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The newly launched Old St. Pete distillery is suing Keller Mechanical and Engineering for selling a worthless piece of machinery used to distill spirits. According to a lawsuit filed in Pinellas County court Feb. 10, the company was hired to build a steam- and chilled water-cooling system. According to Beverage Master, a craft spirits and brew magazine, “distillers will spend lots of time and money to add heat, steam, and energy to cook their mash and to run their still…

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