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Rumberger Kirk shareholder Jared Smith named to Hillsborough County Court

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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.

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

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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.…

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

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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…

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Nielsen is demanding $800K property-tax refund from Pinellas County due to accounting error

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Global marketing research company Nielsen is demanding a refund of thousands in Pinellas County property taxes after the company discovered an accounting error. On March 10, the New York-based firm filed suit against Pinellas County Property Appraiser Mike Twitty, Tax Collector Charles Thomas and Leon Biegalski, who serves as executive director of the Florida Department of Revenue. Nielsen is asking for $800,000 returned from the $2-million paid in Pinellas County property taxes for the years 2013 and 2014 for its…

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Florida Health Department whistleblowers sue agency claiming retaliation

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Two former Florida Department of Health employees are seeking damages against the agency for being fired after reporting violations, which a different state agency decided was likely retaliation. Part of the FDOH, the Bureau of Public Health Laboratories provides “diagnostic screening, monitoring, reference, research and emergency public health laboratory services to county health departments and other official agencies, physicians, hospitals and private laboratories,” according to its website. Based in Jacksonville, with locations in Tampa and Miami, the labs can “diagnose…

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In an unusual case, Tampa police use civil forfeiture to seize dump truck used in hit-and-run death

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In an unusual case regarding the state’s civil forfeiture act, a court allowed Tampa police to seize a dump truck used in a February hit-and-run accident that caused the death of a pedestrian. David Yribar Hernandez, 46, is the owner of Yribar Jr. Trucking Corp. At 4534 W. Clifton St. in Tampa. In the early morning hours of Feb. 20, 2017, Hernandez was driving a 2004 Peterbilt dump truck when he allegedly struck and killed pedestrian Stephen J. Waters in…

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State claims Tampa tire recycling firm operating illegally

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Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection is going after a Tampa company for illegally running a tire recycling business. Incorporated in 2012, Green Wizard Tire Recyclers LLC — at 3515 E. Columbus Dr. in Tampa — is led by operating manager/secretary Warren Donald Friton and vice-operating manager/treasurer Edward “Ed” Beauchaine. Green Wizard’s 2016 annual report lists Tampa resident Beachaine as president. According to the DEP, Green Wizard Tire Recyclers never operated fully within the law, despite the agency saying it gave…

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