The most troubling aspect about the latest story about the notorious Mosley Motel

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The notorious Mosley Motel is one step closer to being shut down.

That’s the good news in the latest article in the Tampa Bay Times about the 34th Street slum.

“Altis Cardinal Storage acquired the property, which had been in foreclosure, on July 20. Eviction papers were served to the Mosley’s old ownership group on Thursday. On Monday, an appellate court ordered a stay of the eviction. Altis Cardinal was given 10 days to respond.

“Officials from the city of St. Petersburg said they went to the motel at 401 34th St. N on Monday with agencies such as Catholic Charities, Directions for Living and Pinellas County Human Services to start speaking to residents about finding new homes.”

The city has been threatening temporary and permanent closures as well as imposing fines on the property dating back to 2011. The nuisance abatement board claimed the more than 100 properties owned by Mosley’s owner, Michael Shimshoni, were responsible for one-fifth of the fines issued for nuisance abatement.

The property has caused so much trouble in areas surrounding it including the Historic Kenwood neighborhood, City Council member Amy Foster, a Kenwood resident herself, made it a top priority when she was elected.

Foster was on hand for Monday’s incident, although Mosley manager Al Kadury quickly asked her to leave the property.

“She came over here to do her victory dance,” Kadury told the Times.

On Tuesday, I spoke with Foster about the situation at Mosley. She spoke at length about what has really gone on at Mosley, where residents are charged, she says, more than $1,100 a month in rent.

That’s right, more than eleven hundred dollars for a room inside a modern-day ghetto.

Like many familiar with the plight of those who live at Mosley, Foster knows that there are better housing options for most of the residents — especially if they are paying that amount in rent.

The reason why I called Foster was because a section of the Times story stood out to me, but for the wrong reasons.

“There are about 400 people — about 100 of them children — living at the motel. Ashley Stahl, 33, her husband, Vern, and their six children — ages 16, 9, 8, 3, 1 and 1 month — have lived at the Mosley for almost two years. They pay $269 a week. She was one of the residents talking to social workers on Monday until she was told that she could stay.”

Anyone who has read this blog for the past seven years knows of my genuine sympathy for children in need. And I know in my heart of hearts, I’ve put my money where my mouth is on this issue (although I wish there was more that I could do).

That said, say what?

Ms. Stahl has been living at the Mosley Motel for almost two years and in that time, she gave birth to one child and CONCEIVED AND GAVE BIRTH to a second child.

So, Ashley and Vern were hanging out in their one room motel-home and thought to themselves, “Hey, we have five kids now and we are living in bone-crushing poverty, but you know what would be great? Another kid!”

Mind you, when Ashley and Vern decided to have their sixth child, their fifth child was only a few months old.

So Ashley and Vern were hanging out in their one-room motel-home and thought to themselves, “Hey, we’re taking care of our fifth child with food stamps and WIC, so you know what we should do? Have another kid!”

I don’t know the Stahls and I recognize it’s very easy to make fun of their plight, but the math here does not tell the story of a middle-class family of six which was put out on the street during the Great Recession. At best, it is a story of two down-on-their-luck parents who did not consider the reprucussions of their actions.

At worst, the Stahls represent the ugly stereotypes of those on government assistance. You can just just hear those attending a rally for Donald Trump yelling that Ashley is a ‘welfare queen’ or that Vern Stahl should be sterilized.

I won’t do that. After all, there are two babies at the center of this tragedy. Just as there are dozens of families at the center of the Mosley Motel story.

In both cases, with the Stahls and with many of the families at the Mosley, sometimes its hard to sympathize.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.