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Gus Bilirakis’ teen niece linked to golf cart crash lawsuit

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

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 is not specifically known, but according to her Facebook page, she graduated from high school in 2015. Assuming she was at or near age 18 at that time, she would have likely been at least 16 at the date of the incident, which occurred August 2014.

Bilirakis also participated in the January 2013 Epiphany event in Tarpon Springs. A local news report listed her at that time as 15, further corroborating she would have been at least 16 at the time.

That age is relevant in the lawsuit because Cypress Run requires its golf cart users to be at least 16 to operate the vehicles.

The lawsuit seeks damages from Cypress Run of more than $15,000. It’s not clear whether Saengfah sought relief from the Bilirakis family for damages incurred in the accident.

The Bilirakis family has a long and prominent history in the area. Evelyn Bilirakis’ grandfather is former U.S. Rep. Mike Bilirakis.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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